Where we start matters: Continuing the conversation

Families Australia, in partnership with NAPCAN, are hosting an online policy forum:

Continuing the conversation
Wednesday 15 November 2023 14:00 – 15:30 (AEDT)
This online policy forum hosted by Families Australia, in partnership with NAPCAN, aims to foster dialogue by continuing discussions highlighted through NAPCANs 2023 National Child Protection Week series titled Where we start matters.

As NAPCAN and sector leaders suggest, while great work supporting children and families is already occurring across the sector, it vital not only to respond to harm but to actually stop harm before it occurs.

This policy forum discusses the role of the broader social determinants of the wellbeing affecting Families, Children and Young People. It further considers the importance of prevention in increasing positive outcomes for children and families.

Click here to register

Keynote speaker: Professor Sharon Bessell, Policy and Governance; Director, Children’s Policy Centre; Director, Poverty and Inequality Research Centre (ANU)

Sharon heads the Children’s Policy Centre and the

Poverty and Inequality Research Centre (PIRC). She also leads the Individual Measure of Multidimensional Program program, which has developed a groundbreaking approach to assessing poverty that is sensitive to gender, age and disability, and is policy relevant. Sharon teaches on social and development policy, with a focus on the global context.

In 2019 she was named as one of the Australian Financial Review’s Women of Influence. Sharon’s research interests focus on issues of social justice and human rights, particularly the gendered and generational dimensions of poverty. She has a keen interest in research ethics and methodology and has published widely on undertaking research with children.

She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and in 2016 received the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Award for Teaching Excellence.

Followed by a panel discussion featuring

Panelist: Rani Kumar, Deputy CEO NAPCAN

Rani Kumar is Deputy CEO of the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN). She has an extensive background in social policy and project management in the children’s welfare field both in Australia and overseas, including in the UK for the National Care Advisory Service with Catch 22

Rani was also an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) in Bangladesh with UNICEF in 2011. In 2023 Rani has been awarded a Scholarship from the Australian Scholarship Foundation to undertake a Social Impact Fellowship with the Social Impact Hub. She currently a board director of SDN Children’s Services. Rani holds a Masters in Cultural Studies (Syd); Graduate Certificate in International Development (Syd); Bachelor of Social Science (Economics and Social Policy) (UNSW).  A skilled policy analyst and advocate for children’s rights, Rani is also a volunteer mentor with the Women’s Justice Network, which supports women who have been incarcerated transition back into community life.   As a mother of two young boys and a first-generation migrant who grew up in Western Sydney, Rani brings a strong personal commitment to social justice to her work. 

Panelist: Toni Wren, Executive Director Anti-Poverty Week

Toni Wren joined Anti-Poverty Week in the new role of Executive Director in early 2019. She was Project and Policy Lead at the Australian Network on Disability from 2015-2018. Prior to that, Toni spent a decade advising leading non-profit agencies across Australia on employment and social policy research, development, and advocacy, as well as non-profit management and strategic thinking.

Between 1995 and 2005, Toni worked in employment and social policy in Japan, the USA, and the UK. During her earlier career in Australia, she was a consultant to a Ministers and Shadow Ministers across the political spectrum and worked for ACOSS and the NSW Welfare Rights Centre. Toni was a member of the National Facilitating Group for Anti-Poverty Week from 2009 to 2018 and has been a member of the Advisory Committee for the Life Course Centre since early 2022.  She has a Masters in Non-profit Management from the New School for Social Research in New York, and undergraduate degrees in economics and business communication from Australian universities.

The panel will be chaired by Mr 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.