Virtual National Permanency Conference 2020  |  9.45am 12th to 3:45pm 13th October 2020

Join us for two days for an online national conversation hosted by our Media Ambassadors, to take us on a journey across Australia to better understand the experience of living away from family of origin, trauma, permanency developments in each jurisdiction and insights into research and new practices from across the globe.

This is your opportunity to meet with carers and young people, government, agency and child welfare practitioners, academics and others from the front line around a virtual table. This event for change will also provide an avenue for your input to help shape the experience for children and young people in care across Australia for a better childhood and future.

This conference will be like no other – ensuring that this critical conversation proceeds, despite the challenges of 2020 – through an interactive and engaging virtual experience. An unprecedented number of voices will be presenting and participating in the conference, in a new format.

The safety and wellbeing of children is the focus of the event, exploring how children can #THRIVE in their childhoods and into their futures.

Optional Pre-event: Test your technology & registration login 
Thursday 8 October anytime between 2-4pm

Spend 5 to 10 minutes in advance of the conference to ensure you are all ready to go. Our team will be online to help if you need assistance. You won’t want to miss any of the two day program, so feel free to sign in to check you’re all set to go. 

9:45 AM - 10:40 AM

THRIVE | Plenary Session 1

Join Lanai Scarr, respected journalist who spent part of her childhood in the care system, as she takes us through the launch of the THRIVE session of the National Permanency Conference.

Start the THRIVE journey with an official address from The Hon Michelle Landry MP; acknowledgment of country with Professor Paul Chandler; and official welcome from Adopt Change CEO Renee Carter.

To better understand the experiences of living in care, we will head to Beulah Ranch on the Central Coast of NSW, where we start our journey by hearing from Joel de Carteret, Emily Paul, Daniel 'D Minor' Harvey and Greg Floyd, President of Cowboys 4 Kids.

Lanai Scarr The Hon Michelle Landry MP Renee Carter Professor Paul Chandler Joel de Carteret Emily Hikaiti Daniel ‘D Minor’ Harvey Greg Floyd
10:45 AM - 11:40 AM

NATIONAL | Plenary Session 2

Join Media Host Angela Bishop as we hear from Queensland Minister Di Farmer and Shadow Minister Stephen Bennett.  
Angela will then introduce us to Ambassadors Jack Thompson and Brad Murphy as they share some lived experience insights into foster care and adoption.  
Then join Helen Baker (Director, Mum and Adoptee), as she facilitates a national Q&A session with government representatives to hear about the state of nation regarding our commitment to prioritising permanency for kids in care. Participants include DSS and NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA and NT governments.   

Angela Bishop The Hon. Di Farmer MP (QLD) Simone Walker Mr Brenton Philp Brad Murphy Helen Baker Jack Thompson Sue Barr Stephen Bennett Julieanne Davis Rachael Green (WA) Claire Robbs Shane D Wilson
11:40 AM - 12:15 PM

Option 1

Therapeutic parenting for parents, carers and practitioners

Danielle Draper


Danielle Draper

Option 2

Implementing innovative system reform to increase permanency for NSW children and young people; a work in progress. 

NSW Department of Communities and Justice 

12:15 PM - 12:50 PM

Option 1

Fostering Lifelong Connection 

Amy Conley Wright 


Amy Wright

Option 2

Creating change with Neuro Therapy, positive impacts for attachment, learning and behaviour 

Yvette Knights


Yvette Unknown
12:55 PM - 2:00 PM

LEARN | Plenary Session 3

Melissa Doyle takes us from home to the front line, locally and abroad, in a session that explores ideas and insights, data and evidence for approaches to improving the child welfare sector and outcomes for kids. Melissa interviews:  

  • Kerry Chikarovski on the impact of domestic & family violence on children;  
  • Tamena Yarak on child protection practitioner learnings within a culturally and linguistically diverse framework; and 
  • Kelly-Anne Stewart and Kelly Walker from Department of Communities & Justice NSW talk about the importance of nurturing relationships between children and mothers during time in custody.  

We hear from International keynote speaker Dr Jessica Pryce as she speaks about strengthening families by ensuring racial equity;

Mark Galvin and Melissa Kaltner from EY and Claire Robbs from Life Without Barriers discuss their project to support data-informed placement decision making that better meets children’s needs;  

and we cross to South Australia to hear from Minister Rachel Sanderson on permanency updates. 

Melissa Doyle Kerry Chikarovski The Hon Rachel Sanderson (SA) Dr Jessica Pryce Tamena Yarak Claire Robbs Mark Galvin
2:15 PM - 2:45 PM


Join this facilitated video conference session, where you will meet with delegates and presenters from across Australia to discuss key concepts arising from the conference and put forward insights to be considered for the conference final recommendations to government regarding permanency and supporting children to thrive.  

2:50 PM - 3:45 PM

GROW | Plenary Session 4

Joe Hildebrand, host for the GROW session of our conference, focuses on how to best provide supports for children who have experienced challenging starts to life. Children need support for their education in school; and learning about their background and identity.  
Joe Hildebrand introduces us to a panel of experts to speak about these topics, including special presentations on:  

  • understanding anxiety in children by Michael Hawton;  
  • International Keynote Speaker Professor Richard Rose on Life Story Work; 
  • Jess Grace and Angela Bontea from CASPA speak about their education program for kids in care; and  
  • Robyn Smith from No FASD presents on understanding Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.  
Joe Hildebrand Richard Rose (U.K.) Michael Hawton Robyn Smith Angela Bontea Jess Grace
4:00 PM - 4:45 PM


Supporting children visiting mothers in custody

Join State and Territory colleagues from government departments and foster care agencies to discuss how best to support children visiting mothers in custody. Raise ideas; discuss what has worked well in your jurisdiction and discuss challenges. 

Kelly-Anne Stewart and Kelly Walker  
NSW Department of Communities and Justice


Kelly-Anne Stewart Kelly Walker

Option 2 | Sensory play

Kaisey Hayes


Kaisey Hayes
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM


Understanding FASD

Robyn Smith
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Understanding FASD

Robyn Smith
9:00 AM - 9:40 AM


Live Q&A with Dr Jessica Pryce from Florida. Now you've heard Dr Pryce speak about strengthening families, join her for a follow up discussion.  


Dr Jessica Pryce


The need for a FRECSH approach in supporting families

Dr Stacy Blythe


Stacy Blythe
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

PLAY | Plenary Session 5

Join Host Daniella Boutros as we explore the importance of PLAY for children, which is also one of their rights. 
After hearing an address from Minister McGurk from Western Australia, we cross to worldwide renowned child welfare expert Dr Jane Aronson in New York; from a kitchen in Sydney with special guests including Dr Stacy Blythe and Kaisey Hayes zooming in from lockdown in Victoria. 
We also hear from Ambassador, Actor & Adoptee Zufi Emerson as she interviews Executive Producer and adoptive father Jason Herbison on the recent foster and permanent care storyline in Neighbours. We wrap things up with energetic Eric Bailey with his views on play and life experiences.

Daniella Park The Hon Simone McGurk BA(Arts) BA(Comms) MLA (WA) Jane Aronson (New York, USA) Zufi Emerson Jason Herbison Stacy Blythe Eric Bailey Kaisey Hayes
10:50 AM - 11:55 AM

CULTURE | Plenary Session 6

Luke Carroll hosts the CULTURE session and explores the importance of connections with community and kin while speaking with guests including International keynote speaker Terry Cross and special appearance from singer/songwriter Shellie Morris. We hear from Damon Martin on considering International Kinship Care and from Emily Backhouse on her experiences with the care system.  

Luke Carroll Terry Cross Shellie Morris Damon Martin
11:55 AM - 12:40 PM

Option 1

No Scaredy Cats – reducing anxiety and building resilience in children 2-12 years

Michael Hawton


Michael Hawton

Option 2

Exploring Placement decision making 

Melissa Kaltner & Mark Galvin (EY) & Claire Robbs
Life Without Barriers


Mark Galvin Claire Robbs
12:40 PM - 1:15 PM

Live Q&A

Intercountry Kinship Care Q&A  

Damon Martin


Damon Martin

Live Q&A

You've heard Terry Cross speak about the importance of engaging the community and community leaders in child welfare.  Now join him for a live round table and Q&A session "Courageous conversations about child welfare"

Terry Cross


Terry Cross
1:15 PM - 2:00 PM

PERMANENCY | Plenary Session 7

Louise Ransome guides us through this session exploring stability and nurture in permanency – from speaking with Julie Hourigan-Ruse about early family support, through to considerations in permanency with Dr Amy Conley-Wright, integrated birth certificates with Fariba Gharakhani and a message from Minister Ward in NSW.

Louise Ransome Julie Hourigan Ruse Amy Wright Fariba Gharahkani
2:00 PM - 2:25 PM

BREAK | Live Q&A

Take a break or join us for live Q&A with International Guest Expert

Richard Rose


Richard Rose (U.K.)
2:25 PM - 2:55 PM


Join the facilitated video conference session, where you will meet with delegates and presenters from across Australia to discuss further concepts, insights and feedback arising from the conference to summarise and provide to government regarding permanency and supporting children to thrive. 

2:55 PM - 3:45 PM

HOME | Plenary Session 8

Helen McCabe brings our national conversation HOME discussing what home and caring for children and young people means with Adopt Change Founder Deborra-lee Furness; hearing an address from Minister Jaensch in Tasmania; from Karleen Gribble on the important bond between infants and mothers and living in two families; along with the a chat between Sallianne Deckert and Phoebe Garland about lived experience, as we close out this very special event.

Helen McCabe The Hon. Roger Jaensch MP (TAS) Deborra-lee Furness Sallianne Deckert Karleene Gribble Phoebe Garland

* Program times and content subject to change as we update and release details