News articles

New practice leaders appointed Posted: Thursday 12 February 2015

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services recently finalised the recruitment process for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Practice Leader positions.

Working across the department’s seven regions, these newly created positions will allow senior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to drive and lead culturally responsive practice through all levels of the organisation.

The department received an outstanding response to the position, both in the volume and quality of applicants, and appointed the following candidates to the positions:

Joanne Borg
Far North Queensland region
Joanne recently relocated to Cairns and has been working with the Cape York Remote Area Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Care Advisory Association. She has worked extensively in the child protection system in Victoria in the Department of Human Services, the Office of the Child Safety Commissioner, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency and in various health roles. In recent years Joanne has worked with SNAICC (Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care) developing resources and brings a national perspective to the work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

Helen Callaghan
North Queensland region
Helen is based in Townsville and brings to the department extensive experience in primary, secondary and tertiary health care services as an accomplished midwife, and as a practitioner with a passion and dedication focused on improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families at all levels. Helen has a deep commitment towards generating an environment that creates and improves organisational cultural practices and has a strong record of successfully working with people, frameworks, systems and organisations to achieve positive outcomes for clients.

Maureen Ervine
Central Queensland region
Maureen has worked in the New South Wales child protection system for over 30 years in practice, training and leadership roles. Her experience includes developing an innovative model to respond to child sexual abuse issues within a regional community. More recently Maureen has trained as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and has been mentoring and coaching practitioners. Maureen has guest lectured to social work students and presented papers to major conference within Australia and overseas. Maureen is relocating to Rockhampton to take up this role with Central Queensland.

Sharon Smith
North Coast region
Sharon has a long history of working in the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in both regional and central office roles in child protection and youth justice, and most recently as a Principal Training Officer. Prior to that Sharon worked within the NSW child protection system. Sharon is a social worker and has additional qualifications in training. She brings a wealth of learning and development experience in building the competency and understanding of staff through training. As a member of the department’s Cultural Enablers Network Sharon has had the opportunity to explore ways to embed cultural capability at a strategic and operational level.

Charlene Berndt
Brisbane region
Charlene has worked extensively within the Queensland public service in Emergency Services, Child Safety, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs and most recently in the Public Service Commission. Charlene has worked primarily in Human Resources and on initiatives focused on building cultural capability, mentoring programs and career pathways for indigenous staff, and indigenous staff attraction and retention. In her recent work Charlene has been exploring how to embed cultural capability as a core leadership skill within organisations.

Caroline Slade
South West region
Caroline has an extensive background in social work and has most recently been working with Child Safety services at the Ipswich South Child Safety Service Centre. In her work within the region Caroline has led initiatives and programs that have strengthened cultural practice understanding in child protection work. She is strongly committed to improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people and has forged partnerships across the local area to help achieve that. Caroline is a regional representative on the department’s Cultural Enablers Network and the chair of the South West Regional Cultural Enablers Network.

Elaine Tanaka
South East region
Elaine has worked within the child protection system in Brisbane for many years within the Recognised Entity in Brisbane, IFACSS (Indigenous Family and Child Support Service). Elaine’s commitment and passion for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people is evident in the strong partnerships she has built with the CSSCs in her area and the innovative approaches and strategies she puts into place. Elaine’s experiences and perspective from her role with IFACSS will be invaluable in strengthening practice in our work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

The successful appointees bring a wide range of experiences, perspectives and knowledge to the department and will commence in their roles over the coming month.

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