Recognising Leaders In Protecting Children

04 September 2018

A youth justice departmental worker and police officer who teamed up to implement a strategy encouraging young people to acknowledge and address their feelings have been awarded the top gong at the annual Victorian Protecting Children Awards.

Victoria Police Division Commander Richard Watkins and Department of Justice and Regulation youth justice manager Soula Kontomichalos last night received the Robin Clark Leadership Award for their work building the resilience of young people in residential care.

Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos said the annual awards highlight the valuable and vital work being done in the community to protect the state’s most vulnerable children.

Thirteen awards were handed out, including the Robin Clark Making a Difference Award, which went to Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC) for their work on the Section 18 “As If” pilot.

The pilot saw up to 15 children on Children’s Court protection orders successfully managed by BDAC.

Section 18 – an Australian-first initiative which gives Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations greater responsibility for the case management of children subject to protection orders – is now being implemented in other parts of Victoria.

These two award categories – Leadership and Making a Difference – honour the memory of Robin Clark, a respected and inspirational leader in child, youth and family welfare.

Other award winners include:

  • Carer Award: Geelong foster carers Leonie and Doug
  • Minister’s Award for Innovation in Protecting Children: Gatehouse Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital
  • Education Initiative Award: Raising Expectations, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Federation University Australia and La Trobe University
  • Modelling a Generous Community Award: Emma Leunig, MacKillop Family Services
  • Walda Blow Award: Karen Heap, Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative
  • CREATE Award: Rebecca (Bek) Nash–Webster, Primary Health Networks.

The Andrews Labor Government invested an unprecedented $858.6 million through the Victorian Budget 2018/2019 to continue the transformation of Victoria’s children and family services system through Roadmap for Reform and the move from crisis response to prevention and early intervention.

For the full list of winners, visit Link .

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

“I congratulate all the winners and everyone who has been recognised – you are playing such a vital role in the lives of these young people and their families.”

“There is no greater calling than protecting vulnerable children and while it can be challenging, it is our collective responsibility to keep children safe.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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