Deirdre Cheers is an experienced CEO and respected leader in Australian and International social care. CEO of Barnardos Australia since 2015, and with specific expertise in families and child protection policy, she is a leading charity advocate for the rights of vulnerable children and young people. Having worked across the full spectrum of statutory and non-statutory family intervention and child protection over an extensive professional career, Deirdre is passionate about children’s rights and the role of charities in ensuring equality of opportunity for each and every Australian child. She is deeply committed to ensuring that disadvantaged children have the opportunity to grow safely in secure family based environments, with stability and continuity of relationships for the whole of childhood.
With qualifications including Masters Degrees in Social Work and Public Administration, Deirdre has an extensive publication and presentation record across a range of areas concerning outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families, including policy, practice and research. As a current Board Director of the Community Council for Australia (CCA), and Board Director and former Chair and Vice Chair of the NSW child welfare peak body Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA), Deirdre participates in a variety of Advisory Committees and Ministerial Councils at both State and Australian government levels. She is also a Graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and a long-standing member of the Australian Association of Social Workers.