An overview of our two-day program can be accessed below. This year our focus on permanency and thriving for children and young people is woven around last year’s National Recommendations, developed from the outcomes of the conference. This is a two-way conversation – take your seat at the table!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
9:20 AM - 10:25 AM (AEDT)

Unifying national child welfare & permanency

Launching the 2021 THRIVE National Permanency Conference, Lanai Scarr hosts Professor Paul Chandler (Acknowldegement of Country)Renée CarterThe Hon Michelle Landry MPTim Crosier (Department of Social Services); and welcomes international guests Deborra-lee Furness and Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD in a vital discussion about trauma, resilience and healing.


Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD The Hon Michelle Landry MP Deborra-lee Furness Renee Carter Prof Paul Chandler Tim Crosier Lanai Scarr
10:25 AM - 11:00 AM (AEDT)

Following the Deborra-lee Furness conversation with Dr Perry, Renee Carter facilitates a live Q&A with delegates and Dr Perry.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.


Bruce D. Perry, MD, PhD Renee Carter
11:00 AM - 11:10 AM (AEDT)
11:10 AM - 12:15 PM (AEDT)

Integrating the voice of children and young people in decisions

Join Helen McCabe as she hosts our segment exploring the importance of the voice of children and young people. Speakers include Australian National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds; NSW Advocate for Children & Young People Zoe RobinsonColin Pettit The Commissioner for Children & Young People WA; Emily BackhouseDanielle Schmid; and international guest April Dinwoodie is interviewed by Ambassador Zufi Emerson.


Helen McCabe Anne Hollonds Zoe Robinson Colin Pettit (WA) Emily Backhouse Danielle Schmid April Dinwoodie Zufi Emerson
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM (AEDT)

The Department of Communities and Justice (Kelly-Anne Stewart and Kelly Walker) discussing initiatives in response to Family Is Culture Report and contributing to the Premier’s Priorities to Reducing Reoffending and Increasing Permanency for Children in Out-of-Home-Care: The ‘Caring through Contact Protocol’ and ‘The Co-located Child Protection Caseworker Project’.

Both these initiatives are to improve outcomes for incarcerated women and their children.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.

Kelly-Anne Stewart Kelly Walker (NSW)

Infant placement in out-of-home care

Dr Stacy Blythe
Adopt Change and Western Sydney University Research

Infants and young children (<4 years) represent the highest proportion of admissions into out-of-home care (OOHC) in Australia. Indeed, infants under one year of age are more likely, than other aged children, to be the subject of allegations and substantiations of child abuse and/or neglect and thus more likely to require placement into OOHC. The majority of infants receiving OOHC services are placed into home-based care with foster and/or kinship carers. Generally, carers are provided ongoing training as part of their care-giver role. Foster/kinship carers have a significant responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of infants in OOHC. However, whether or not these carers are receiving specific training and/or support to care for infants (many of whom have increased health care needs) has been largely unknown. This study used a mixed methods design employing an online survey and individual interviews with foster/kinship carers to gain understanding of their experiences providing care to infants under one year of age.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.

Dr Stacy Blythe

The Journey to Accreditation as an OOHC Adoption Agency 

Jacinda Wing and James Isles

Key Assets NSW share their experience on the journey to accreditation, including the approach, consultation with Subject Matter Experts, Implementation, building relationships within the sector, building knowledge and experience within our team. The accreditation process built on Key Assets international knowledge and experience, the introduction of the Key to Care Framework which is a ‘coaching and support’ model for carers and our Key Care Team approach.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.

James Isles Jacinda Wing
1:00 PM - 1:30 PM (AEDT)
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM (AEDT)

Accessibility and timeliness of permanency for children in care

Angela Bishop takes us on a journey through permanency including guests The Hon Alister Henskens (NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services); Simone Walker (Deputy Secretary, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning at Department of Communities and Justice NSW); and Pam Barker (Yfoundations); PCA Families president Meredith Carter; and hear from parent through adoption, Michelle Roberts about her experiences. 


Angela Bishop The Hon Alister Henskens Simone Walker (NSW) Pam Barker Meredith Carter BA LLB LLM GAICD Michelle Roberts
2:30 PM - 3:15 PM (AEDT)

Take your seat at the national table to put forward ideas, hear insights from a range of delegates and contribute to this year’s National Recommendations.

Session 1 will cover:

  • Unified, national approach to child welfare and permanency;
  • Integrating the voice of children and young people in decisions;
  • Accessibility and timeliness of permanency for children in care;
  • Trauma-informed, therapeutic services for all children in care.

Facilitated by Michelle Stacpoole

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.

3:15 PM - 4:10 PM (AEDT)

Trauma-informed, therapeutic services to be made available for all children in care, and ensuring all schools are trauma informed

Join Joe Hildebrand as we explore the importance of supports to thrive, welcoming guests including The Hon Rachel Sanderson (SA Minister for Child Protection); Helen Barrett (Play Therapy Hub); Jarrod Wheatley (Professional Individualised Care), Jonah Bobongie (Led by a Heartstring), Stacy Blythe (Western Sydney University) and Kaisey Hayes (Adoptive Mother, Pharmacist and Volunteer)


Joe Hildebrand The Hon Rachel Sanderson (SA) Helen Barrett Jarrod Wheatley Jonah Bobongie Dr Stacy Blythe Kaisey Hayes
Thursday, October 14, 2021
9:05 AM - 10:20 AM (AEDT)

Community led child welfare

Shellie Morris launches day 2 of the conference, hosting the important topic of increasing community led decision making in child welfare. Hear from The Hon Linda Burney MP; Catherine Liddle (SNAICC) along with Claire Robbs (Life Without Barriers); Richard Weston (Deputy Children’s Guardian for Aboriginal Children and Young People in NSW); and Jeff Amatto from More Cultural Rehab Less Jails.


Shellie Morris The Hon Linda Burney MP Catherine Liddle Claire Robbs Richard Weston (NSW) Jeffery Amatto
10:20 AM - 11:15 AM (AEDT)

Addiction, trauma and childhood development expert Dr Gabor Maté joins Deborra-lee Furness, Renee Carter and delegates in a live, interactive video-conference session to discuss The Biology of Loss: What Happens When Attachments Are Impaired and How To Foster Resilience.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.


Dr Gabor Maté Deborra-lee Furness Renee Carter
11:20 AM - 11:30 AM (AEDT)
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM (AEDT)

Nationally supporting carers of children

Lisa Sthalekar hosts  this valuable session on the need to support carers, introducing The Hon Simone McGurk (WA); Mark Burgess (WA); a brief presentation on My Forever Family NSW by Michelle Stacpoole; and Chris Skinner from Life Without Barriers discusses The Mockingbird Family. Sue Brierley, mother of Saroo and author of ‘Lioness’ will also speak with Lisa about her experiences.


Lisa Sthalekar The Hon Simone McGurk (WA) MLA Mark Burgess (WA) Chris Skinner Sue Brierley
12:30 PM - 1:15 PM (AEDT)

OurSPACE Program

Sue Buratti
Australian Childhood Foundation

The OurSPACE Program, funded by DCJ, directly addresses placement instability. It builds relationship permanency for children and young people in out-of-home care by resourcing the network of adults around them to understand the unmet trauma needs from their past. OurSPACE integrates a culturally strong framework supported by specialist practitioners who are from Aboriginal and Torres Strait backgrounds.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.

Sue Buratti

Driving Better Placement Matches

Dr Melissa Kaltner (EY), Mark Galvin (EY), Claire Robbs(LWB)

When children enter out-of-home care (OOHC), placement decision making often occurs in the midst of time pressure. In many jurisdictional contexts, placement decisions are made by agencies with minimal information on children and available carer households to support these decisions. In this presentation, EY and Life Without Barriers (LWB) will overview an applied research project they led to support the development of data supported placement decision making in the New South Wales (NSW) context. This interactive workshop describes the process and outcomes of the work undertaken, and works with workshop participants to explore the key barriers they face in placement matching in their practice experience, placement matching processes that the attendees have seen work well in practice, and indicators of success. 

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.



Melissa Kaltner Mark Galvin Claire Robbs

Telepractice in family work study

Julie Hourigan Ruse

With the onset of the coronavirus outbreak in early 2020, the Government implemented its social distancing policy to limit the spread of the virus throughout the community. While necessary to protect the health of Australians, this policy has substantially changed the way workers have engaged with clients. In response, Fams has partnered with Southern Cross University in a Telepractice in family work study. Our report, The pixelated experiences of workers and managers, reflects what we learned through in-depth focus group interviews with the Targeted Earlier Intervention Program workforce. A key finding was that participants thought a hybrid model of face-to-face and online service delivery was here to stay.

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.


Jodie Abbey
1:15 PM - 1:45 PM (AEDT)
1:45 PM - 2:25 PM (AEDT)

Take your seat at the national table to put forward ideas, hear insights from a range of delegates and contribute to this year’s National Recommendations.

Session 2 will cover:

  • Nationally supporting carers of children;
  • communities leading child welfare;
  • preparing for thriving care leavers;
  • data and information sharing between services and departments.

Facilitated by Michelle Stacpoole

*Reminder the live sessions require access to Zoom technology.

2:25 PM - 3:35 PM (AEDT)

Data and information sharing between services and departments

Join Louise Ransome as she hosts The Hon Kate Worden (NT); The Hon Sarah Courtney (TAS); Mark Nixon and Kym Peake (EY); Julieanne Davis (NT)Noel Fittock from Communities Tasmania; and International Guest Speaker Dr Jane Aronson.


Louise Ransome The Hon Kate Worden (NT) The Hon Sarah Courtney (TAS) Mark Nixon Kym Peake Julieanne Davis Noel Fittock Dr Jane Aronson (New York, Usa)
3:35 PM - 4:35 PM (AEDT)

Preparing for thriving care leavers

Emily Hikaiti closes out our two day event with this critical session and hears from The Hon Rachel Stephen-Smith (ACT); Paul McDonald (Home Stretch); Simon Benn (Thriving Adoptees); Shane Wilson (VIC); and Bernie Shakeshaft (Backtrack).


Emily Hikaiti The Hon Rachel Stephen-Smith (ACT) Paul McDonald Simon Benn Shane D Wilson Bernie Shakeshaft

*** Please note***

  • Times, speakers and order are subject to variation as we finalise this jam-packed event!
  • Plenary sessions and the National Roundtables are automatically added to your agenda. Please select one option for each of the breakout sessions, which will be added to your agenda. National Roundtables and breakout sessions will require you to have access to Zoom