A SAPOL detective, Catholic Education SA and a group of young people with lived experience in the child protection system providing advice to the State Government are among 13 winners being celebrated at the first annual SA Child Protection Awards.

The awards recognise South Australians who contribute to child protection across a range of areas including education, health, research, foster and kinship carers, the not-for-profit sector and government agencies.

During National Child Protection Week, winners were announced at the SA Child Protection Awards breakfast on Wednesday, September 8.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson praised the outstanding efforts of the winners, finalists and nominees in going above and beyond to ensure South Australian children and young people are safe and thrive.

“Congratulations to all our worthy winners for shining a light on our most vulnerable children and young people, supporting them to achieve their goals and dreams and keeping them safe,” said Minister Sanderson.

“The Awards have also strongly recognised the important work and commitment from across the sector in addressing the over representation of Aboriginal children and young people in the child protection system and this remains the Government’s continued aim.

“We received almost 200 nominations, which is a testament to the passion and drive of our partners in improving the lives of children and young people throughout South Australia.”

The winners for 2021 are:

  • Foster Carer of the Year: Katina Karam
  • Kinship Carer of the Year: Leslie Wanganeen
  • Supporting families to stay together: Ann-Marie Hayes, Department of Human Services
  • Improving education and learning outcomes for children and young people in care: Catholic Education SA
  • Innovation in child protection – Metropolitan: Detective Senior Sergeant Ashley Grant, SAPOL
  • Innovation in care (regional): Flinders Medical Centre – Child Protection Service outreach
  • Transition to independence: Anglicare SA Post Care Pathways
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle: Winangay Resources Incorporated
  • The voice of children and young people: No Capes for Change
  • Media: Eric Cruz, Centacare Catholic Family Services
  • Excellence in child protection research: Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia
  • 2021 Volunteer of the Year: Department of Human Services – Lived Experience Network
  • Improving health and development outcomes for children and young people in care: Dr Deepa Jeyaseelan, Dr Jane Rosser and Ms Franca Foti, Women’s and Children’s Health Network

Department for Child Protection Chief Executive Cathy Taylor congratulated the winners and said the awards build on the Department’s annual staff recognition awards.

“It’s important we recognise the tremendous efforts individuals and organisations make each and every day to help children and young people fulfil their potential,” said Ms Taylor.

“The wellbeing and safety of children is a shared responsibility and the diversity of winners, finalists and nominees really showcases this and shows how important it is we all work together.”

National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) CEO Richard Cooke commends the work of the South Australian award recipients in creating a safer, fairer, and healthier community for our children.

“Sharing these stories is an important part of preventing child abuse and neglect; it raises awareness, shares knowledge, and inspires others to play their part,” said Mr Cooke.

“Importantly, the awards highlight that protecting children is not the job of a single department or agency, but the responsibility of all of us right across the community.”

For more information about the SA Child Protection Awards, visit: http://www.childprotection.sa.gov.au/awards