SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT – 2020 Award Winners
The Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP) is delighted to share with you this exciting communique to acknowledge the winners and nominees of the 2020 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection Awards.
The Awards represent our collective commitment, characterised by strength, resilience and ingenuity – qualities which cemented our Sector’s resolve to ensure continuity of much needed services to children, young people and families during this challenging year.
Due to changing advice around COVID-19 safety planning, this years Awards were delivered virtually via an online stream at 12.00pm on Friday 11 December 2020.
The Awards recognised outstanding achievement in five (5) categories: Cultural Leadership, Practice Excellence, Innovation and Youth Advocacy. The fifth category acknowledged Families for promoting and advocating the rights, safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
QATSICPP commends all of the nominees on such well deserved recognition of your contribution to our children, families and communities, and congratulates the Award winners on their achievements. Thank you to all the workers, volunteers, and executive management of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Child Protection organisations across the state for their perseverance during these unprecedented times.
Cultural Leadership Award: Presented by Rachel Atkinson, QATSICPP Chair and CEO of Palm Islander Community Company
The Cultural Leadership Award recognises an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community controlled child protection worker who has demonstrated outstanding cultural leadership and advocacy within their workplace and the wider community.
We recognise that leadership exists across all levels of organisations, across communities and within our families and it is often because of the stewardship of individuals that we can, together, reimagine the future of our children.
This year’s nominees are leaders who hold the safety and wellbeing of our children at the forefront and through their advocacy, ensure that those around them are aiming for this goal as well. Nominees highlighted the importance of collaborative working relationships, both within and external to their organisations. The panel acknowledged that all of the nominees for the Cultural Leadership Award demonstrated cultural leadership on a daily basis.
The winner of the Cultural Leadership Award is:
Rochelle Byrne: Kambu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation for Health
Rochelle’s cultural leadership is at the front and centre of her work within the community. Rochelle proactively advocates for the rights and needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, as a priority in practice and as a value of Kambu and her team. Rochelle’s nomination highlighted the importance of promoting self-determination in everything that we do when working alongside children, families and communities. It is evident that she is a leader who ensures that she passes on her traits, skills, and trades to her team, and consistently works to upskill her staff. Rochelle demonstrates a shared vision and values to that of her team and Kambu. Please join us in congratulating Rochelle on receiving this award.
Practice Excellence Award: Presented by Commissioner Natalie Lewis, Queensland Family and Child Commission
The Practice Excellence Award recognises an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled child protection worker, who has demonstrated best practice in their direct service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, young people and families. Nominees within this category showcased the importance of building strong relationships with children and their families, to work towards establishing a new storyline. Furthermore, all of the nominees showed a commitment to supporting families to identify their own solutions, and the importance of working within a team.
The winner of the Practice Excellence Award is:
Anita Dorante: Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Family and Community Services
Anita is grounded in culture, strongly embedded within her own community, and always works from a strong cultural practice and traditional framework, helping children and families find their own voice and solutions. She connects boys from single female headed households with her Uncles and Grandfathers to provide cultural experiences, such as hunting, dancing and other cultural practices which normally occur between fathers and sons. Anita has a firm focus on her practice, which is strength based while engaging holistic assessments to understand the context of peoples lives. She helps families get the support they need to raise their families well and to change their story from one of hopelessness, loss, trauma, and grief to that of hope, connection, strength and resilience. Congratulations Anita…
Innovation within the Sector Award: Presented by Michael Currie, Co-chair Queensland Family Matters Leadership Group
The Innovation within the Sector award recognises an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community-controlled child protection worker who has demonstrated innovation to achieve best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are diverse and therefore we cannot have a one-size fits all approach for the work that we do – the nominees in this category demonstrated the strength and capacity of our sector to understand and respond to the needs of our families, in what can often be less that optimal situations particularly with COVID-19. We think outside the box and work in ways that are responsive and engage our people.
The winner of the Innovation within the Sector Award is:
Palm Islander Community Company Team: Palm Islander Community Company
Palm Island Community Company showcased innovative practices, and used Active Efforts to listen to, and respond to, the needs of the community during COVID restrictions. The Team’s focus was on keeping the most vulnerable members of the community safe, and ensuring the COVID lock down did not prevent families from getting the support that they needed.
In response to travel restrictions, the Palm Team were able to adapt service support while receiving supervision, support and guidance from non-essential staff working from the mainland. Because of these successes, some new ways of working have now become permanent adaptations to PICC’s service delivery. Palm Island children can now access far more allied health services compared to just a few years ago. In addition, during this difficult time the PICC team delivered an Elders Conference, and negotiated the development of a Foster and Kincare service on Palm Island that will commence on 1 December to support 35 to 40 placements. This shows a great way of working towards healing as a people.
Congratulations Palm Islander Community Company Team.
Youth Advocacy Award: Presented by Naraja Clay, Secretary of the QATSICPP Youth Advisory Council
The Youth Advocacy Award recognises an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community controlled child protection worker who has demonstrated best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people through strong advocacy skills. All nominees in this category identified that our children being with family, being raised by family and having a strong connection to culture is at the heart of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child’s perception of permanence, belonging and identity.
The winner of the Youth Advocacy Award is:
Cornwell (Connie) Pearson: Darumbal Community Youth Service Inc.
Connie demonstrates a high focus for working alongside young people, and actively advocates for children and young people in his work at Darumbal. Connie is an active part of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council’s 2019 Youth Health Network, and also chairs the Rockhampton Youth Justice sub working group. It is evident from Connie’s nomination and actions, that he works strongly in the Youth Justice space, and works collaboratively with other stakeholders, to advocate for best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. Congratulations Connie.
Family Award acknowledgements, in recognition of growing up safe, strong and connected children: Presented by Dion Tatow, Master of Ceremonies
QATSICPP would like to acknowledge the following three (5) families for promoting and advocating for the rights, safety and wellbeing of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.
Cindy Phelan nominated by REFOCUS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation
Cindy is a well-respected member of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Cindy and her husband are general carers and have looked after children from new-born to 17 years of age. Cindy has a heart of gold, and opens her family home, to provide a safety, stability and support to the children in their care. The Phelans connect the kids in their care to kin, culture, and community, as well as a good education that they know is paramount to the development of the children’s social, emotional, spiritual, and academic wellbeing.
Joy Callope nominated by Mura Kosker Sorority House on Thursday Island in the Torres Straits
Joy is a single mother who has overcome her fair share of difficulties to grow up her children in a stable environment. Mura Kosker supported Joy to make the changes that she wanted and work through her own trauma. Despite some setbacks, Joy showed resilience, to make the positive changes she needed to, for her and her children.
With the support of the Mura Buai Wellbeing Service Team, I am pleased to share that Joy’s children have been reconciled with their mother. Joy and her family are no longer part of the Child Safety system and she aims to keep it that way.
Maxine Warrell nominated by Townsville Aboriginal and Islander Health Services
Maxine Warrell is an incredibly resilient woman and proud mother of three beautiful children. The TAIHS Team say “To know and be part of Maxine’s journey is our honour as she has actively taken the lead in ensuring her children have a very different storyline to her own”. Maxine was previously engaged in the TAIHS Family Wellbeing Service and exited with significant achievements in changing her storyline personifying the 2019 NAIDOC Theme “because of her we can”.
Despite the intensity of her own childhood journey, Maxine has always made time for others both staff and families, and used the programs and activities at YAMANI Meta House as opportunities to develop her confidence and sense of identity. She has made important social and cultural connections with other parents, and continues to connect to friends and YAMANI activities despite no longer requiring Wellbeing worker support. Her resilience and determination to recognize her self-worth and promote her children’s well-being has always been Maxine’s priority… and this has also extended to creating connection and support for others.
Maxine’s lived experience has given her determination to focus unconditional love and commitment to supporting her children’s learning, development and overarching safety & wellbeing. The TAIHS Team believe she is a worthy recipient of the 2020 Family Award, and we agree.
Leona Yunkaporta and Miles Keridun nominated by Aurukun Shire Council
Leona and her partner Miles are general carers who provide a safe and nurturing environment for the children in their community of Aurukun. Leona and Miles are strong advocates for ensuring the children in their community are strengthened by their connection to culture. They take the children out on country at every opportunity, teaching them about their family and their culture. Leona works with the Wik Mungkan language program at Aurukun State School, teaching the community children to read and write their traditional language. She brings her children to Playgroup and assists in collecting other families, so their children can also benefit from the program. She not only engages with her own children, but also provides a safe haven and support to her nephews and nieces. Leona reads to the children often, and does everything she can to provide learning opportunities so they have the best chance of reaching their potential.
Marcia Wolmby and Anthony Yunkaporta nominated by Aurukun Shire Council
Anthony and Marcia are positive role models for not only their children but also extended family in Aurukun. Anthony and Marcia supported their son throughout his journey to complete boarding school, after which he was accepted into university. Their home is a safe haven for the children of the Aurukun community. Anthony and Marcia are also kinship carers, who advocate and support the child in their care to achieve well at school and aspire to succeed in the future.
To view the Sector Award category Nominees, please go here.