ACWA launches ‘Strategy to Action’ event series

On 8 November 2023, ACWA held its first ‘Strategy to Action day,’ which brought together over 100 practitioners and executives from our member organisations, as well as academics and invited guests, for a jam-packed day of knowledge-sharing across two topic streams—Family Preservation and Out-of-Home Care (OOHC).

The Family Preservation stream explored ‘what’s working in our services’, with our expert panel from Mission Australia, Wandiyali, OzChild, Uniting and Social Futures. Later in the day, we were pleased to have DCJ Senior Practitioner, Kate Alexander, deliver insights into the interface between Domestic and Family Violence and Child Protection.

In the OOHC stream, a focused session on working together better with the Children’s Court, with an opportunity to hear from, and ask questions of, Jane Smith of Care Legal and Magistrate Tracy Sheedy, provided some terrific clarification about the Court’s expectations in relation to documentation and the need for clear communication between NGOs and DCJ. This was followed by an examination of what demographic data is telling us about the future availability of foster carers, presented by Dr Lisa Griffiths, CEO of OzChild, and insights from Key Assets on the findings of their Carer Journey project.

All participants assembled for a powerful session on the over representation of Aboriginal children in the child protection system, featuring a presentation of sobering data by Dr BJ Newton (UNSW), alongside Narang Bir-rong CEO, Heidi Bradshaw and AbSec’s Director of Sector Operations, Alira Tufui, who reflected on truth-telling following the Referendum, as well as how the system can be changed for the better.

The day culminated in ACWA’s 2023 Annual General Meeting, with members treated to a wonderful address entitled ‘Looking Back, Looking Forward’ by Gillian Calvert AO and an opportunity to catch up and reflect on the year over drinks and canapés.

ACWA is hosting three Strategy to Action days over 2024, with the first scheduled for Thursday 7th March, 10-2.30pm, Sydney Masonic Centre. Please view the program below.


Presentations from the November 2023 Strategy to Action Day:

Children’s Court Practice Note 17 | Designated Agencies in Children’s Court Practice  Jane Smith, Principal Solicitor, Care Legal

Functional Family Therapy | Child Welfare  Jared Gillard, OzChild

Domestic and Family Violence and Child Protection  Kate Alexander, Senior Practitioner, Department of Communities and Justice

Preserving a Vital System | Foster Care Reimagined  Dr Lisa Griffiths, CEO, OzChild

The Carer Journey  Jane Cohen-Cramp & Annabella Dean, Key Assets

Please note that Dr BJ Newton’s slides are not available publicly and cannot be shared.