Early Childhood Leadership Symposium 2020

Theme: Building Healing Communities

A trauma-responsive approach

Action Plan and Toolkit

Symposium Program

Symposium Zoom videos

Session 1: Building trauma-informed healing communities

Session 2: Developing trauma-responsive practice

Session 3: Leadership, governance and evaluation

Speaker bios

Emeritus Professor Judy Atkinson is a Jiman (central west Queensland) and Bundjalung (northern New South Wales) woman, with Anglo-Celtic and German heritage. Her academic contributions to the understanding of trauma related issues stemming from the violence of colonisation and the healing/recovery of Indigenous peoples from such trauma has won her the Carrick Neville Bonner Award in 2006 and the Fritz Redlick Memorial Award for Human Rights and Mental Health from the Harvard University program for refugee trauma. Her book ‘Trauma Trails – Recreating Songlines: The transgenerational effects of trauma in Indigenous Australia’, provides context to the life stories of people who have been moved from their country in a process that has created trauma trails, and the changes that can occur in the lives of people as they make connection with each other and share their stories of healing. On the 26 January, 2019 Judy received a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for her services to the Indigenous community, to education and to mental health.

Geraldine Harris Geraldine Harris is a consultant at 'Equitable Childhoods' place-based leadership & social innovation and PhD candidate at Griffith University. She consults in leadership and change management; collective action and social pedagogy; complex systems management; and early childhood and family support. She has previously worked in the UK Sure Start initiative and has managed the Logan Communities for Children site in Brisbane. She is currently completing a doctoral thesis on developing place-based leadership and social innovation.

Associate Professor Elspeth McInnes AM of UniSA Education Futures has expertise in child protection education and trauma informed responses to children and families, and is currently researching the effectiveness of integrated early childhood services. Her other research interests include social policy and social inequality; families and separation; gender and violence; child abuse and child protection; and women in small business. She is a past president of the National Council of Single Mothers and Their Children and convenor of Solomums Australia for family equity.

Associate Professor Victoria Whitington (PhD 2000) is Dean of Programs in Education Futures at the University of South Australia. Her teaching and research areas include critical perspectives on children's development, children’s wellbeing in the early years, early brain development, and contextually based, dialogic, democratic and rights based approaches to early childhood education. Victoria also worked for thirteen years as a classroom teacher with children from 5-12 years. She has been Chair of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre since 2000, and is a deputy member of the Teachers Registration Board.

Lesley-Anne Ey Dr Lesley-Anne Ey lectures in Child Development, Educational Psychology and Child Protection in the Bachelor and Master of Teaching program at the University of South Australia. Before undertaking her PhD, she taught in pre-schools and primary schools across a variety of government and independent sectors. Her PhD research focused on young children's engagement with contemporary music media and their gender role and self-identity development. Her research revolves around the impacts of media on children's healthy development, bullying, children's problematic sexual behaviours, and child protection issues with the aim to support teachers and inform curriculum.

Robert Taylor Robert is a Ngarrindjeri man who has had extensive community involvement including work as an Aboriginal Education Worker, a Personal Helpers and Mentors Program Officer and an Aboriginal Dads Family Support Worker. He currently links with a range of organisations supporting Aboriginal families and enjoys connecting with people through a diverse range of musical genres.

Ted Evans Dr Ted Evans is Coordinator of North-West Adelaide Communities for Children. He has previously worked as a Senior Policy Officer and Regional Coordinator with the SA Government Department for Communities and Social Inclusion and is a casual academic at Flinders University College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Craig Bradbrook Craig Bradbrook MPA has previously worked with Save the Children and has had more than 15 years’ experience working in multidisciplinary collaborations and establishing evaluation frameworks recently managing the North-West Adelaide Communities for Children site. He authored a chapter on Theoretical Foundations for CI Applications in Using Collective Impact to Bring Community Change and is currently Chief Executive at Playgroups South Australia.

Karl Brettig is Manager of Salisbury Communities for Children. Together with a collaboration of child and family support stakeholders he convenes the Children Communities Connections Learning Network which brings together practitioners, policy makers and researchers to resource integrated and holistic support for children and their families at risk of vulnerability. In 2011 with he co-edited Building Integrated Connections for Children their Families and Communities. He edited/authored the first edition of Building Stronger Communities with Children and Families in 2015. The updated second edition recently published in 2020 includes new chapters on leadership, collaborative governance and evaluation.

Gunay Aghayeva is a PhD candidate at the University of South Australia who explores Afghan refugee children's literacy experiences. Currently, she is working at a primary school providing literacy and numeracy support to the newly-arrived children.

James Lenigas is the General Manager of Education and Wellbeing at Schools Ministry Group in South Australia. Previously a wellbeing practitioner and he now develops and coordinates the Wellbeing Classroom approach in schools together with the SMG team.

Alexandra Segura is passionate about community development. As Community Hubs Support Coordinator for South Australia over the last year, she engaged with nine schools in Northern Adelaide LGAs to develop welcoming places for migrant and refugee families to connect, share, and learn. For seven years she worked for the Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance in sustainable development, humanitarian response and advocacy around inclusive communities. As a senior diplomat for Costa Rica, Alexandra spent several years in Geneva making representations on human rights, refugees, migration, sustainable development, and international environment issues.

Jane Swansson works with the Salisbury Communities for Children team engaging Community Partners developing workplans and managing data collection and evaluation. She is the lead author of 'Family Centre Evaluation - Past. Present & Future Learnings in the book 'Building Stronger Communities with Children and Families (2nd Edition)

Elise Parker works with the Logan Communities For Children team. Their work includes developing a family place approach to working with 'hard to reach' families and developmental evaluation. She has co-presented on'The benefits associated with soft entry appraoches in clinical work'.

Others 2018

Theme: Power & Compassion

The roles of faith-based organisations and government in social welfare


Friday 20th July

9:00am - 4pm

Symposium flyer

Symposium Program

What can non-government faith-based organisations add to government services? Can faith communities contribute to turning the curve on family disintegration and unsustainable welfare dependency? Has dependence on government funding subdued important conversations about the foundations of relationships, compassion and flourishing? This symposium will consider a faith-based NGO approach to working with marginalised families, the homeless, refugees, indigenous peoples, domestic violence, mental health issues, substance misuse and diverse faith communities. It will offer good practice examples of how governments and NGO’s can work together in delivering services, balancing their core values with changing and sometimes conflicting government policies. How well are we responding to the international refugee crisis? How are we responding to the findings of the Royal Commission into institutional abuse of children? What have we learned? How do we move forward in our mission to protect children, support and advocate for families, build supportive communities and deliver services in the context of fluctuating of government policies? What are some promising developments in place-based approaches to early intervention and prevention? Participants will be engaged in a conversation about how these issues relate to their practice and how we can work towards improving outcomes for those engaged with our services and contribute to building thriving communities.

Speaker bios

Russell Rook Russ Rook holds a PhD focussed on how culture affects human behaviour. For the last 20 years, Russ has worked in a wide array of different organisations. He brings this breadth of experience to a range of clients and coaches: senior executives to high-potential leaders in their first major role. Russ is the CEO and founder of Chapel St, a fourth-sector organisation working in healthcare, education, employment and housing and also more recently the Good Faith Partnership. The partnership supports leaders in developing strategic partnerships between faith-based organisations and government. It also provides training on reshaping policy and engaging in the public square.

About the Good Faith Partnership

Helen Lockwood Helen Lockwood is the Director of Lutheran Community Care an NGO that has effectively engaged with humanitarian entrant resettlement programs for many years and manages the innovative FamilyZone Hub at Ingle Farm. This initiative, developed as a Communities for Children activity engaging with young families at risk of vulnerability, has worked extensively with refugees from many countries, including a large number from Afghan and African communities. The hub provides a space for children and parents to interact and play together, take part in the many learning activities on offer and experience face to face interaction with people from other cultures. Lutheran Community Care has recently been awarded a contract to roll out 7 schools as community hubs in the north western suburbs of Adelaide. It's vision of building strong caring communities that underpins the work of welcoming and supporting new arrivals. Helen believes we are all responsible for creating a welcoming community working together to encourage a vibrant culture which is respectful of all cultures. Helen is also a member of the Australian Churches Refugee Task Force.

David Eldridge David Eldridge is a retired Salvation Army officer who has worked for over 30 years in a variety of senior social policy and programme development roles in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has been an adviser to State and Commonwealth Governments on social policy issues, particularly in relation to young people and homelessness. He chaired the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness for a number of years and headed two significant Prime Ministerial Task Forces which delivered ground breaking reports and recommendations. In 2007 David was Chair of the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness whose report impacted the Rudd Governments White Paper on Homelessness. Upon concluding his service with The Salvation Army, David was approached by Minister Tanya Plibersek to act as a consultant to the newly formed Commonwealth Homelessness Advisory Committee. In 2009 David was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for his contribution to developing policy and programs for young people and people who are homeless. He has recently been appointed chair of Concern Australia.

Cost $75-00 (includes lunch) Early Bird (By June 29th) $55-00


Online registration here

Payment may be made by credit card or cheque to 'The Salvation Army Ingle Farm'

Enquiries (including dietry requirements) Phone (08) 8397 9333

Others 2017


Faith Justice and Community Service

We live in a tension between faith, justice and service. Many discard the faith dimension or at least relegate it from the discourse of evidence based activity. Yet more are recognising that practice is underpinned by beliefs, values and attitudes as well as an evidence base. These elements lie at the heart of relationships between individuals, organisations and communities. They can also be a potent source of misunderstanding and conflict. We all believe in something even it if it is that something comes out of nothing! A secular society says all views are welcome in public debate and the shaping of public policy. Faith based organisations have a significant role in delivering community services and advocating for justice. This conference will facilitate a conversation about that role and in particular how it can be usefully carried out in refugee and homelessness services. Presenters include World vision Chief Advocate Tim Costello, Welcome to Australia Founder Brad Chilcott and Salvation Army Major Campbell Roberts.

Conference Videos here (YouTube link)

Conference flyer with program

Speaker bios

Tim Costello is one of Australia’s best known community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. For 13 years until October 2016, Tim was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia, placing the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda. In his current role as Chief Advocate, Tim continues to use his public profile to affect change.In addition Tim is Chair of the Community Council of Australia, and is a member of the following: the Multi-Stakeholder Steering Committee of the EU-Australia Leadership Forum; Australian National Development Index; Concern Australia Advisory Group and the Campaign for Australian Aid.Tim is a founding board member and spokesperson for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which campaigns for law reform to prevent harm from poker machine gambling.In earlier roles Tim was National President of the Baptist Union of Australia and Mayor of St Kilda. He has been Baptist Minister at St Kilda Baptist and Collins Street Baptist in Melbourne, as well as Executive Director of Urban Seed. In these roles he spearheaded public debate on problem gambling, urban poverty, homelessness, reconciliation and substance abuse.

2017 ARA Oration

Brad Chilcott is the founder of Welcome to Australia a movement committed to cultivating a culture of welcome in Australia. He's also lead pastor of Activate Church in Adelaide and sits on the boards of RESULTS (Australia), Common Grace, Reconciliation SA and Food for Education (Kenya). Brad will share about his faith journey, how that led him to founding Welcome to Australia and some of his thoughts on improving support for refugee families.

Brad speaks about Welcome to Australia

Khadija Gbla is Director of NoFGM Australia working to abolish female genital mutilation in Australia. She is an ambassador and specialist advisor for AIDS Global Fund for Women and Director of Reacher’s Philanthropy committed to women’s girl’s self empowerment. She was a 2011 State Finalist Young Australian of the Year and included in the 2009 South Australian Women’s Honour Roll.

Khadija speaking on genital mutilation

Major Campbell Roberts OF has been a pioneering social advocate in the Salvation Army in New Zealand for many years and brings a wide breadth of experience in working with government and faith based community services. He is the National Director of Social Policy for The Salvation Army in New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga. In this role Campbell is responsible for all government and parliamentary relationships for The Salvation Army in New Zealand. Campbell is the founder director of The Salvation Army Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit. The SPPU has a mandate from The Salvation Army to work towards the elimination of poverty in New Zealand by influencing, and engaging nationally, political, corporate, government, education and media leaders. The unit focuses on providing quality social research and policy advice.

New Zealander of the year nomination

Ian Cox is the CEO of the Hutt St Centre regarded as one of the leaders in the inner city welfare sector and the organization has a strong and progressive vision to both continue offering quality services to its client group, whilst ending people’s homelessness. Last year the Centre provided just over 50,000 meals to approximately 2,000 different individuals and has a wide array of services including the Eastern Adelaide Homelessness Service, a new Street Crew Program (outreach into the inner city streets and parklands), an aged care service, a Pathways to Education and Employment Program and approximately 14 visiting services (RDNS, GP’s Psychologists etc.). Hutt St Centre received a commendation from the Australian Government in conjunction with the St Vincent de Paul Society and Australian Red Cross for its innovation in partnerships in delivering services in 2012, recently won a third national fundraising award for the Walk a Mile in my boots event and in 2015 won the award for the most outstanding SA community service organisation in the homeless sector.Ian is currently the co-chair of the SA Anti-Poverty Week facilitating group which aims to highlight issues and is actively involved in efforts to reduce poverty and hardship here in Australia. He is a fellow of the Governors Leadership Program (known as the Leaders Institute of South Australia).

Technology Children & Families 2016


Technology Children and Families - The Good the Bad and the Ugly

New technologies are delivering capabilities that are changing the way children and families learn, interact and develop. Some suggest they are even changing the way our brains are being wired. Some incredible educational applications have been developed that can add much to conventional learning methods.From an early age some children are also being groomed into gambling, early sexualisation and substance abuse etc. We had a conversation about what we can do to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families growing up in a digital world.

Symposium Videos here (YouTube link)

Speaker bios

Dr Kate Highfield (biographical details) Broadly Kate researches the impact of technology as a tool in learning and play, with young children, undergraduate students, parents and educators. Under this broad umbrella Kate has worked with teachers in rural and remote settings, parents and children. Kate's current research explores young children's learning and play with technology, with a focus on touch technologies, including mobile devices, tablets, iPads and smartphones. This work examines digital play, in both home and educational settings, and focuses on the impact of interactive multi-media on learning and play.

Senator Nick Xenophon (website) Nick first became involved in politics in the 1997 South Australian election, where he campaigned on a ‘No Pokies’ platform. Over the next eight years, Nick worked to fight the spread of poker machines. He also campaigned on issues where individuals and communities weren’t getting a fair go. He was re-elected to the State’s Upper House in 2006 with just over 20.5 percent of the state’s vote. Nick made the decision to leave state politics and run in the November 2007 Federal Election because he believes that he can do more for South Australians in the Senate on key issues such as gambling regulation and water. He is the first Independent to be elected to the Senate in a generation. Since assuming his role in the Senate in July 2008, Nick has continued to push for changes in the key areas including gambling reform and consumer law.

Dr Lesley-Anne Ey (biographical details) I teach in Child Development, Educational Psychology and Child Protection in the Bachelor and Master of Teaching program. Before undertaking my PhD I taught in Preschool and Primary across a variety of government and independent schools. My PhD study focused on young children’s engagement with music media and their gender role and self-identity development. My research revolves around the impacts of media on children’s healthy development, bullying, children's problematic sexual behaviours, and child protection issues with the aim to support teachers and inform curriculum.

Michael White (biographical details) Michael White is the Executive Officer of the South Australian Alcohol and Other Drug Services Network (SANDAS). Previously he was Senior Project Manager Workforce Development at the National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction and has had more than 20 years of experience in the community services sector. Michael's roles have included: Workforce Development Leader, Australian Centre for Child Protection; Executive Director of Victoria’s Community Services and Health Industry Training Board; and, Learning and Development Director at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare in Victoria.

Ben Riley (biographical details) Ben is a senior cognitive behavioural therapist with the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service. His research interests include the impact of gambling related digital media on young children.

Children Communities Connections Previous Conferences

Quality Play & Media 2104

In the early years children learn mostly by exploring their world through play. Quality Play and Media 2014 partnered with the Australian Council on Children and the Media to bring together experts involved in researching using technology in quality play. We looked at what we need to know about electronic media influences on children's development, how we can use it to enhance learning and how we can avoid pitfalls associated with it's use. An eBook with helpful tips for educators,parents and caregivers was developed from this conference is available on Kindle, Google Play and iTunes.

Children Communities Connections 2008

The Children Communities Connections 2008 Conference brought together practitioners, researchers, policy makers and consumers to engage with issues around the establishment of place-based integrated early childhood services including ´one stop shop´ parent and child centres.

It featured a team from Pen Green Centre for Children and their Families who have become well known internationally for their pioneering work in Corby Northhamptonshire under the leadership of Dr Margy Whalley.

Policy makers included senior representatives from the Departments of Family Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Education and Children´s Services, Child Youth & Women´s Health Services, the University of South Australia, Families SA, the City of Salisbury and the Salvation Army. The conference was convened by Salisbury Communities for Children and planned by key early childhood stakeholder representatives.

Children Communities Connections 2010

This conference built on developments from the 2008 conference with a strong focus on prevention, early intervention and child protection. Key sectors and agencies engaged in supporting vulnerable children and their families participated in the conference including state education, health, families and communities departments and NGO's as well as the Australian Centre for Child Protection.

One of the guiding principles of the Family Support Program that was a focus of this conference was "place based, community development approaches:local provision, driven by local needs, with flexible and responsive services working together to provide the complete range of services needed – thereby building more connected, resilient communities." This can take the form of co-location of a number of services in a local accessible position as is being developed in a number of Communities for Children sites and Department of Education and Children's Services Children's Centres in SA or it can take the form of more integrated non co-located services in a defined area such as is happening in other Communities for Children sites.

Children Communities Connections 2012

Children Communities Connections 2012 continued to develop aspects of place based integrated service delivery, the evidence base for it and some of the challenges involved in it's implementation. It's focus included work on using whole of government, family and community approaches to supporting famlies, breaking down barriers to proportionate universality in integrated service delivery, bridging the gap between research and practice, how neuroscience is changing approaches to working with children and families and integrating pracice across substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health.

Conference Powerpoint Presentation Downloads

Copies of some presentations/papers can be downloaded and may be made for the purposes of personal, non-commercial use or for research and study in educational institutions, provided the presentation/paper is used in full, with proper attribution to the author(s). Copyright remains with the author(s) or government agency.


Australian Refugee Association Relationship Australia Save the Children Australia Lutheran Community Care Salvation Army Schools Ministry Group