Strengthening Workforce Capability and Capacity

A summary report on the Strengthening Workforce Capability and Capacity forum is being drafted and will be made available from this website once completed – available here

A key focus area of Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-2031, is strengthening the child and family sector, including by improving the capability and capacity of the workforce. In the upcoming policy forum, we will explore ways of addressing the challenges of the increased demand for child welfare services through a resilient and appropriately skilled workforce, which is inclusive of workers from diverse backgrounds, including First Nations peoples and those with lived experience.

Register for the Strengthening Workforce Capability and Capacity policy forum through eventbrite.

Event held | Thursday 12 May 2022.

Keynote speakers:

Steve Kinmond OAM

Prior to his appointment as the CEO of Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies in February 2019, Steve was the NSW Community & Disability Services Commissioner and Deputy Ombudsman (Human Services) for 15 years. Before that, he was the Assistant Ombudsman (Police) for eight years.

At the NSW Ombudsman, Steve had legislative responsibility for reviewing and promoting improvements in community and disability services; reviewing the deaths of people with disability and children; handling complaints about government and non-government community and disability services; and ensuring relevant agencies appropriately respond to reportable incidents involving people with disability in supported accommodation and allegations of child abuse made against ‘employees’. He has also had extensive involvement in reviewing service delivery and justice issues affecting Aboriginal communities.

Steve has close to 30 years of investigative experience, and has also worked as a solicitor and run his own consultancy practice.

Steve believes that our community must demonstrate a very strong commitment to promoting and safeguarding the rights of people with disability.

 Dr Erica Russ, Senior Lecturer, Social Work Faculty of Health, Southern Cross University

Dr Russ’ interests focus on social work workforce, child welfare, voices of children and young people, social work education (including field education) and rural practice. She is currently working with three international collaborations in the areas of child welfare workforce, workforce wellbeing and social work education. Her research is primarily qualitative, including Cooperative Inquiry methods.

Dr Russ is an experienced lecturer with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. She is skilled in Analytical Skills, Government, Management, Policy and Program Development, and Community Engagement with extensive industry experience. Her Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), from The University of Queensland, which focused on Social Work.

Case Study Speakers:

Annette Michaux, Director Policy and Practice, Parenting Research Centre

Annette leads significant, evidence-informed practice and policy initiatives that help Parenting Research Centre (PRC) clients achieve their intended outcomes. She directs a number of government-funded, national and multi-year initiatives – including MyTime and PRC’s contribution to emerging minds – and is responsible for leading a talented team of researchers and specialists in practice design, implementation, communication and knowledge translation and exchange.

Annette oversees a number of PRC projects in NSW, including trials of PSP Best Practice Framework, Guardianship and Open Adoption and SafeCare implementation.

She has previously served as General Manager, Social Policy and Research, and General Manager, Operations (East and Central) at The Benevolent Society; and as CEO of the NSW Child Protection Council. Annette was also a senior staff member at the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and has experience as a social worker in child welfare and community development in the United Kingdom and Australia.

Dianne Potter, Manager, Learning and Development Centre, AbSec

(Speaker details to be provided)


Professor Daryl Higgins, Professor and Director, Institute of Child Protection Studies

Professor Daryl Higgins is Director of the Institute of Child Protection Studies. His research focuses on public health approaches to protecting children and child-safe organisational strategies. He is a registered psychologist. For almost 30 years, Prof Higgins has been researching child abuse prevalence and impacts, public health approaches to prevention, child protection and out-of-home care systems, family law, family violence, family wellbeing, and past adoption practices. Throughout his career he has published numerous articles, papers and reports that have made a significant impact on policy related to child maltreatment, both in Australia and internationally.

Before joining ACU, Prof Higgins was the Deputy Director (Research) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, where he had responsibility for the research program, knowledge translation and exchange functions focusing on issues affecting families in Australia.

Prof Higgins has contributed to over 250 publications (including 80+ peer-review journal articles) and more than 520 presentations and media engagements. His work has a citation rate of 90% with a significantly high impact on policy development in child maltreatment.

He is one of the Chief Investigators in a National Health and Medical Research Council, Project Grant (APP1158750), 2019-2023 (funded amount: $2,311,217.00) to conduct the first national study of child abuse and neglect in Australia: prevalence, health outcomes, and burden of disease. The team of international investigators is led by Queensland University of Technology.

Jamie Crosby, CEO Families Australia

Jamie brings an extensive network of community sector, government and business relationships and community advocacy experience to his role as CEO Families Australia. Jamie has worked in youth and family accommodation services, juvenile justice, housing and homelessness support programs, and organisations delivering community services management and member-based advocacy. He also has deep experience in the Federal public service having spent the past decade working in Indigenous Affairs within the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He also convenes the National Coalition on Child Safety and Wellbeing.