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Honoring achievements to keep children safe


The Andrews Labor Government celebrates the exceptional efforts and dedication of Victorians who keep children safe and families strong.

As part of Child Protection Week, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services, Colin Brooks, has announced the winners of this year’s Victorian Protecting Children Awards.

The annual awards recognize child protection workers, foster parents, permanent carers and parents and the community sector, as well as government and academic organizations who demonstrate excellence in working with children , young people and families.

The winners come from all parts of Melbourne and regional Victoria and include dedicated foster families, community-controlled Indigenous organisations, a COVID-19 response team and a youth advisory group.

Now in its 19th year, the awards in 11 categories are dedicated to respected and inspirational child welfare leader Robin Dennis Clark (1936-2001).

The awards also recognize excellence in child protection practice through individual and team awards and the Chief Practitioner Award.

The winners of the Victorian Protecting Children Awards 2022 are:

  • Robin Clark – Deb Tsorbaris Leadership Award, Center of Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
  • Robin Clark Making A Difference Award – COVID-19 Emergency Response for Child and Young People (CERCY), MacKillop Family Services and Ability Assist
  • Minister’s Award for Innovation in Child Protection – Emma Toone, Berry Street
  • Chief Practitioner Award – Natasha Sergeant, Eastern Division, Department of Families, Equity and Housing
  • Career Award – Toni and Paul Gauntlet, MacKillop Family Services
  • Engaging Kids in School Award – VACCA Education Team, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency
  • Keeping At Risk Young People Safe Award – Emily Nester, Berry Street
  • CREATE Award for Positive Impacts – Kellie Addicoat, MacKillop Family Services
  • Child and Youth Empowerment Award – Commission for Children and Youth – Ministerial Youth Advisory Group (MYAG)
  • Leaving a Legacy Award – Gerard Jones
  • Walda Blow Award for Indigenous Children and Young People – Melbourne North East Region Indigenous Family Decision Makers, Department of Families, Equity and Housing

As Minister of Child Protection and Family Services, Colin Brooks said

“These awards recognize Victorian organizations, workers, carers and community members across the state’s child and family service system – all of whom make Victoria a better and more safe place to live.”

“I am proud to celebrate these outstanding Victorians who keep children safe and families strong every day and would like to thank all of this year’s winners, finalists and entrants for the crucial work they do.”

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