Celebrating Victorians Who Protect Children

Excellence in helping children by workers across the children, youth and families sector was recognised at the Victorian Protecting Children Awards, last night.

The awards highlight the work being done to protect and ensure the wellbeing of some of the state’s most vulnerable.

They provide an opportunity to acknowledge dedicated child protection staff, carers and community sector staff from across the state, along with family support and innovative educational programs, and contributions to child protection policy and practice.

Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald received the Robin Clark Leadership Award, for his work supporting vulnerable children and families for almost 40 years. Mr McDonald has advised numerous state governments on youth policy and pioneered programs that target the unique needs of vulnerable young people.

The Robin Clark Making a Difference Award went to Berry Street home-based care senior advisor Anita Pell for her efforts to promote foster caring and to strengthen the services available to them.

These awards honour the memory of Robin Clark, a respected and inspirational leader in child, youth and family welfare.

Other award winners include:

  • Carer Award – Ms Kerryn and Mr Stephen Longmuir, Foster carers
  • Minister’s Award for Innovative Care – Fiorina Castellan, Foster carer
  • Education Initiative Award – Whitney Yip, Body Safety Australia co-founder
  • Modelling a Generous Community Award – Natasha Anderson, Y-Change program and John Lorenzini, Youth Justice Centres independent visitor program volunteer
  • Walda Blow Award – Emma Thomas, City of Casey Council; and
  • CREATE Award – Lisa Cappola, Anglicare Victoria.

A $3.1 million investment will strengthen the out-of-home care sector by recruiting and retaining more carers in Victoria, while the Andrews Labor Government’s $168 million Roadmap for Reform is shifting the children and family services system from crisis response to prevention and early intervention.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“I congratulate the winners and everyone who has been recognised – I know their stories will inspire others to continue on the journey in caring for Victoria’s vulnerable children.”

“These awards show just some of the innovative ways people in the community are protecting children, which is everyone’s responsibility.”

“There is no greater calling than protecting vulnerable children, this work is difficult but emotionally rewarding. Tonight we offer recognition for this commitment.”