Since QATSICPP’s founding in 2009, we have had many strong board members who have guided and supported our team. Today, our Board includes resilient cultural leaders, practice experts, innovators and experts focused on helping us realise our vision.

Ms Rachel Atkinson

As an Aboriginal, Yorta Yorta woman, Rachel Atkinson has dedicated her whole working life to improving the lives of her people. She has extensive lived experience working in rural, remote and urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is determined to support the empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people nationally.

Rachel has over 20 years’ experience as a CEO of non-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, including her current position as CEO of the Palm Island Community Company. She has presented at numerous local, interstate and international conferences and forums on topics including the over-representation of Indigenous Australian children in the child protection system. As a current member of the SNAICC National Executive, Rachel has also been pivotal in highlighting issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families through media and parliamentary representation.

In addition to her role as Chair of QATSICPP, Rachel is also the Co-Chair of Family Matters Queensland and was previously a representative of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Reform Committee. She has also been a past President of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council and former chair of the Partnership for Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak.

Elizabeth Adams
Director, South West Queensland

Elizabeth Adams better known as Lizzie is proud and passionate Aboriginal woman from South West Queensland. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Goolburri Aboriginal Health Advancement Co Ltd.

Lizzie’s professional journey began with a nursing career ignited by a passion for improving healthcare outcomes for her people. This passion to help others expanded into an amazing career that sees Lizzie now running a large Aboriginal Community Controlled Health and Social Care Organisation delivering a wide range of health, dental, aged care, disability care and child safety services across the Darling Downs and Western Queensland regions.

Lizzie continues to innovate and plan strategic service sector improvements which in recent years has seen her advancing the development of place based integrated approaches to health and social care service delivery.

Lizzie is also the Executive Director of the Jaydon Adams Memorial Foundation, established in memory of her son. The Foundation seeks to address the social determinants that impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families through participation and encouragement of individual and family decision making as well as supporting and addressing young people in education and sporting excellence.

Recently Lizzie has been appointed as a Director to the Board of the Ipswich Jets Rugby Leagues Club this is a significant appointment as the first ever women appointed and the first Aboriginal Director. Lizzie has also been an active participant of the Australian Caucus of Indigenous NGO’s at the annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Throughout her personal and professional journey, Lizzie has raised a beautiful family and embraced her grandchildren. Through this juggling act, Lizzie has and will always continue to work for the betterment of her peers, people and her community.

Renee Blackman
Director, South East Queensland

Renee is a proud Gubbi Gubbi (Kabi Kabi)/Kangalou/Barrungum woman.  Renee has dedicated her professional life to working with and within community, the goal – better wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Her career in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing spans over 30 years with the majority in service delivery. It is only over the last 10 years that Renee has leaned into her role as a leader and been fortunate enough to work in the community-controlled sector as a CEO in both an urban space and rural and remote settings.

Renee is a qualified Aboriginal health Practitioner and Registered Nurse and is a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, Adj Associate Professor, Murtupuni CRRH/JCU and, a Clinical Fellow in the Faculty of Health, School of Nursing at Queensland University of Technology.

My vision is simple…to see our people achieving every goal and dream imaginable and everyone leading full and happy lives.

Darcy Cavanagh
Director, Moreton Region

Darcy is the Chief Executive Officer and founding member of REFOCUS (Redirecting and Empowering Families through Culturally Unique Services ) since inception in 2010.   A proud Bundjalung man, Darcy first began working within the youth and child protection sector in 1998, inspired by his brief experience of being placed in the foster care system as a child.

 “A lot of my experience, or so-called expertise, has come from my lived experience and learning from every person that I have come into contact with through my childhood and working career. “

Darcy’s lived and professional experiences lead him to create a service “that is not just about ticking boxes and reaching targets, but reaches the heart of a person and creates meaningful change and a sense of belonging.” Beginning Refocus with six staff, now with a team of 62, the charity supports thousands of individuals through a variety of programs across its catchment area, with a specific focus on children under 18. Programs include family wellbeing services, family participation programs, NDIS support services, foster and kinship care as well as Aboriginal medical service Gunyah of Wellness.

Under Darcy’s leadership REFOCUS has delivered much-needed services to a substancial portion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in the Gympie, Sunshine Coast, and Moreton Bay regions including:

  • The provision of Family Wellbeing Services to over 1,600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Families comprising of nearly 4,000 individuals
  • Support for over 350 Parents/Carers through the Family Participation Program
  • Placement of over 120 children in Community Kinship Care.
  • Current providing Delegation of Authority services for 18 individual children in scope for reunification.
  • Provision of primary healthcare services to nearly 5,000 patients, including 1,800 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members through the Gunyah of Wellness Medical Centre.
  • Over 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander 715 Health Assessments conducted by Gunyah of Wellness in less than three (3) years of operation.
  • Promotion of the First Nations approach to healthcare as well as reconciliation through opening our medical clinic to Non-Indigenous patients.
  • Provision of NDIS package support for 35 clients, with the capacity for substantial growth.
  • Provision of a responsive, frontline service delivery throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Darcy is driven by the goal of seeing the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community achieve the fullest expression of their true authentic selves and to leave a heart print of Aboriginal in every interaction leaving people touched moved inspired and informed.

Jason Field
Director, Central Queensland

Jason Field is the Chief Executive Officer of Central Queensland Indigenous Development (CQID) and has worked in CQID for the past 17 years.  As a proud descendant of the Wiradjuri people, Jason is an accomplished Indigenous Affairs professional with over 26 years’ experience in the private, public and community sectors.

Jason’s passion is to improve services to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in Central Queensland. He has spearheaded major strategic shifts that have transformed CQID from an employment agency to an enabler of innovation in the Child Protection space.  This has enabled CQID to support families and children and empowers Indigenous families in local decision-making.

He was the Chairperson of the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak Limited (QATSICPP) for 6 years, and also sat on the Community Legal Centre Board in Rockhampton.  Prior to Jason’s appointment as CEO of CQID, he held the position of State Manager of the Indigenous Home Care and Disability Services in NSW and after three years in this position relocated to Rockhampton in 2005.

Marcella Ketchell
Director, Cape and Torres Strait

Marcella is from the Kaanju clan in Cape York, with connections to Waanyi on her mother’s side.  On her father’s side she is from the Wakaid tribe from Badu, and Zagareb tribe from Mer in the Torres Strait Islands. Marcella lived and attended primary and secondary school most of her life in Cairns.  However, her early years of living and schooling were on Thursday Island.

Marcella is currently the Vice President of RAATSICC and has been involved with the RAATSICC Management Committee since February 2019.  Prior to that, she worked in collaboration with RAATSICC in the Cape York communities.

Marcella currently works for Gur A Baradharaw Kod Torres Strait Sea and Land Council (GBK) in the Meriba Ged Ngalpun Mab (MGNM) program area as a Community Partnerships and Capacity Building Manager.  She is dedicated to working in the remote communities in Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands.

Marcella has also spent time living and working in the Townsville region as a project officer facilitating state government funded employment and training projects with mainstream and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations  She has  also worked in government and non government positions in the Cairns area and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Far North Queensland in health, employment and training; and government coordination.

She is grateful to be able to work with organisations such as RAATSICC and GBK where she  can help to advise and inform service delivery at grass roots level to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Cape York and the Torres Strait Island communities. Marcella is a strong advocate for the remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York and Torres Strait Island regions, and believes in, and understands the importance of empowering people in these communities to inform and drive the agenda to improve service delivery and accessibility to improve outcomes.

With her extensive community non-government and government experience, and her BA in Adult Education and Community Management (UTS), Marcella brings a well informed and experienced skill set and knowledge to the Cape York and Torres Strait Director role on the QATSICCP Board and she looks forward to working with the other Directors on the QATSICCP Board.

Ms Trudy Tronc
Director, North Queensland Region

Trudy is an experienced program manager dedicated to building and strengthening partnerships in communities. She is committed to bringing her extensive experience to QATSICPP, as well as her commitment to continuity of care, which she believes best meets the needs of children and families.

Trudy currently works at the Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Service. She aims to use her local experience to add value to the North Queensland region and the State.