Susan Close was first elected as the State Member for Port Adelaide in February 2012. She was appointed Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation and Minister for the Public Sector after the 2014 election and appointed Minister for Education & Child Development on 3 February 2015.
Before entering parliament, Dr Close was an executive in the public service and previously worked at Adelaide University.
Dr. Helen Buckley is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin, where she teaches child protection practice and policy to undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has led a number of commissioned research projects on child protection, from which she has published papers and peer reviewed articles.
Most recently, she co-authored a chapter entitled ‘Child Welfare and Protection in Ireland: Déjà Vu all over again?’ in Social Work in Ireland, published by Palgrave in 2015. She is the chair of the National Review Panel that investigates deaths of children known to child protection services, and has been appointed to the board of the Adoption Authority of Ireland.
Prof Arney was awarded her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2005 and began her research career at the Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Since then she has become one of Australia's leading child protection researchers, leading major child protection research concentrations as Head of the Child Protection Research Program in Menzies School of Health Research at Charles Darwin University, as Deputy Director and Head of Research at the Australian Centre for Child Protection at the University of South Australia, and now in her current position as Director and Chair of the Australian Centre for Child Protection.
Professor Arney has nineteen years’ research experience in the fields of parenting support, child and adolescent mental health and wellbeing, and child protection research. She has significantly contributed to the theoretical and evidence base around program evaluation in the field of child protection, the diffusion of innovations and the use of research in practice and programs for vulnerable children and their families. In particular, she has coordinated and contributed to projects examining the spread of innovations in child and family services and the use of research in the prevention of and response to child abuse and neglect. This has included identifying research priorities for Australian research regarding child maltreatment which is being used to inform research agendas at state and federal government levels.
Professor Leonie Segal holds the Foundation Chair in Health Economics & Social Policy, University of South Australia. Her research program is about improving the life chances of the most vulnerable members of society; Children of Prisoners, Aboriginal Families in Central Australia, parents and their children caught in highly distressing and aversive relationships to understand the cause of child maltreatment, to describe the consequences and cost-effective options for intervening to reduce child maltreatment and associated harms. A current research focus is the options for preventing mental illness and service system and workforce requirements, reflecting the understanding of mental illness as a predominantly developmental condition.
Segal’s research is pursued in partnership with clinicians, service providers, government (health departments, child protection, justice, central agencies) and the not for profit and community-controlled sector to create a policy-driven research agenda. The work is trans-disciplinary drawing on public policy economics, population health, psychology, evolutionary theory, epidemiology, econometrics, social work. Professor Segal sits on a number of government policy committees and was a member of the Ministers Preventive Health Taskforce. She has over 200 publications and 20 research grants since 2000, with 4 current ARC/NHMRC grants.
Megan Mitchell is Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission, appointed on 25 February 2013.
Megan has extensive experience in issues facing children and young people, having worked with children from all types of backgrounds, including undertaking significant work with vulnerable children. She has practical expertise in child protection, foster and kinship care, juvenile justice, children’s services, child care, disabilities, and early intervention and prevention services.
In her role as Commissioner, Megan focuses solely on the rights and interests of children, and the laws, policies and programs that impact on them. In 2014, Megan presented her statutory report on children’s rights to the Federal Parliament, in which she examined intentional self-harm, with or without suicidal intent, in children and young people under 18 years old. This year, the 2015 statutory report will examine the impact of family and domestic violence on children.
Pam Simmons was appointed to the newly created position of Guardian for Children and Young People in South Australia in August 2004. The Guardian is a statutory position to advocate for and promote the best interests of children and young people under the guardianship, or in the custody of, the Minister. The Guardian provides advice to the Minister, monitors the quality of care provided to children, investigates serious matters and advocates for required change.
Immediately prior to this position, Pam was Executive Director of the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), a position that she held for more than five years.
Pam’s work history has been with non-government organisations in Thailand, England and Australia, working in the areas of youth homelessness, housing, women’s services, environment and development, and primary health care. She is Deputy Chair of the Welfare Rights Centre (SA).
Pam’s qualifications are in social work and her Master’s degree is in public policy and administration.
Tamara Barrow is a Young Consultant who has been with the CREATE Foundation since 2009. She represents the voices of children and young people in out of-home-care.
She is involved in CREATE's Youth Advisory Groups, (YAG) CREATE's National Conference's, and in meetings with the Minister for Education and Child Development.
She is currently Studying Nursing at the University of Adelaide and is a Superintendent of the cadet division with Saint Johns.
Professor Marie Connolly is the Chair and Head of Social Work at the University of Melbourne. She moved to Melbourne following a five year appointment as Chief Social Worker with the New Zealand Government, and prior to this she was an academic at the University of Canterbury.
She has an extensive background in working with children in care, and developing child welfare systems that harness the strengths of extended family and community networks in the care of vulnerable children.
She has published extensively in her area of scholarship and has been a consultant to governments across international jurisdictions. She is particularly interested in the research into practice interface, and finding ways in which we can mobilise formal and informal support systems in the care of vulnerable children.
Rosemary is a proud Aboriginal South Australian and her traditional heritage is the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains, Koogatha and Wirrangu both of the west coast of South Australia. She is also proud founding CEO of the Sacred Site Within Healing Centre which she founded in 1993 and as it went from strength to strength she registered the Australian Institute for Loss and Grief in 2005.
In 1986 she became the national research officer in the Sydney office of the Committee to Defend Black Rights which campaigned to call for the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. In 1987 her ‘rock-bottom’ came in a women’s shelter, where she was ready to question: ‘where did my anger, rage and violent tendencies come from? So, from 1987-1992 she was compelled to process her own personal losses and unresolved grief from the sudden death of her mother in 1964 which she became a Stolen Generation child and endured all forms of abuses. Then in 1987 the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was announced in which she became a research officer in the Adelaide Aboriginal Issues Unit in 1988.
She strongly believes her non-academic beliefs, concepts, understandings and practices un-complicated what is commonly referred to as ‘Aboriginal disadvantage’. Within 22 years she’s become self-employed, a holistic entrepreneur, clinical loss and grief counsellor, educator and assessor, presenter and author of her unique and innovative model the ‘Seven Phases to Integrating Loss and Grief’ (c). The philosophy of the Seven Phases is ‘there’s nothing wrong with us we’re only grieving’. Some of her proudest moments were receiving accolades including The Gladys Elphick Centenary Medal, Business Woman of the Year Nomination, South Australian of the Year Winner – Community, Australian Ethnic Award Nomination, and being a State Finalist, Zonta Club of Adelaide – Women of Achievement Award (SA).
Lisa is a Social Worker with over 20 years’ experience working with vulnerable communities in program design and delivery. She has been the Chair of the Child and Family Welfare Association of Australia; Chair of the Child Protection Committee in Queensland. In 2006 Lisa completed a Churchill fellowship to study effective models of residential care.
For over 10 years, Lisa worked in Queensland and the Northern Territory in partnership with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to build their children and families sector. Since 2010 Lisa has been Programs Director at the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation. Lisa is responsible for supporting the development of healing and training initiatives with a culturally strong program design creating positive change to the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Frank Hytten is the CEO of the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) – the national non-government peak body in Australia representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Frank started his working life as a Youth Worker in community development and has continued in the social and community services sector as a manager, policy bureaucrat, sector-based trainer, committee sitter and consultant – always with a focus on social justice and human rights. His work has been primarily in the youth and psychiatric disability support sectors, with people confronted by the issues that arise from poverty and exclusion, including homelessness, alcohol and other drugs, mental illness and the law.
Over the last decade Frank has been the Coordinator of ANTaR Victoria, the CEO of Reconciliation Victoria and is currently the CEO of SNAICC. Over the past 30 years SNAICC’s efforts have resulted in many key milestones and achievements both in policy developments at state, territory and federal levels and in developing innovative and useful resources for the sector.