The Australian Centre for Child Protection has a committed and highly esteemed team of staff and PhD students. Our researchers come from a wide range of professional backgrounds including social work, psychology, education, Indigenous studies and communications.
This disciplinary diversity and our extensive collective experience in research, policy development and direct service delivery give us the breadth and depth required to fulfil our mission and achieve our goals.
Staff members are actively engaged with peak bodies and State and Commonwealth advisory bodies, and we are regularly invited to participate in major inquiries and reviews of child protection policy and practice across Australia. This gives us the opportunity to help close the gap between research and action.
Professor Fiona Arney, Chair and Director
Dr Arney is a leading expert in child protection research, resilience and models of parenting and childhood vulnerability. She has a particular interest in the prevention of child abuse and neglect, and in working with families from a range of cultural backgrounds. Prof Arney was the Deputy Director of the Centre until 2010, when she left to become Head of the Child Protection Research Program at the Menzies School of Health Research. She has 16 years research experience in research with children, parents, families and practitioners.
Associate Professor Leah Bromfield, Deputy Director
One of Australia's foremost child protection researchers, Dr Leah Bromfield joined the Centre in 2010 after six years as a senior research fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies' Child Protection Clearinghouse. She is a well regarded research expert in issues affecting child protection systems, chronic maltreatment and cumulative harm, and has worked closely with government on establishing and implementing child welfare reforms, including the National Framework for Protecting Australia's Children.
Kate Greenfield, Executive Officer
As Executive Officer and Centre Coordinator, Kate Greenfield provides high level assistance to Centre staff and coordinates the Centre's research and academic activities. In 2010 she was part of a team awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award for Professional Staff Excellence: Research and Innovation Services Capacity Section for "Providing Quality Service".
Kerry Lewig, Research Project Manager
Kerry Lewig has a background in organisational psychology which is put to good use in her work overseeing and contributing to the Centre's research projects and activities. One of her key research interests includes examining how child protection research is actually used by practitioners and policymakers to optimise its efficacy. She is now working part-time having recently undertaken her PhD.
Dr Sara McLean, Research Project Manager
A registered psychologist, Sara McLean has been working in child and adolescent mental health since 1997. With particular research expertise in psychological issues associated with children living in out-of-home care and interagency collaboration, she is also the SA President of the Australian College for Child and Family Protection Practitioners.
Christine Gibson, Community Research Liaison
Christine Gibson has extensive experience as a social worker, social work researcher and socio-legal educator, including many years managing research and quality assurance for UnitingCare Burnside in NSW. Since joining the Centre in 2007, she has contributed to a wide range of activities including a series of projects aimed at helping to improve services for homeless children and families.
Marie Iannos, Research Assistant
Marie is a registered psychologist with extensive clinical experience in the field of child and adolescent mental health. Marie provides research support across the many ongoing projects in the Centre. She is currently working on a project to develop a practice framework for home-based intensive family support programs at the Benevolent Society.
Mary Salveron, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Dr Mary Salveron has recently returned to the Centre to investigate the 'Signs of Safety' approach to child protection case work in WA. This position is funded by the Department for Child Protection and is part of an innovative collaboration with the Centre. Mary's research and practice experience spans various fields from reviewing the literature on the diffusion of innovations; engaging parents and families navigating the child protection process and system; working with refugee families; and Aboriginal health and family support.
Professor Sharon Dawe
Professor Dawe is a Professor in Clinical Psychology at Griffith University. Her current work focuses on reducing child maltreatment in high-risk families with parental substance abuse and mental illness. She has developed the Parents Under Pressure program in collaboration with Paul H Harnett (University of Queensland). This has been trialled extensively in Australia and is currently undergoing evaluation in the UK in collaboration with Warwick University, funded by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
Helen Francis, Project Manager Building Capacity Building Bridges
Helen has been seconded to undertake the project management of the Building Capacity Building Bridges project. She brings her extensive experience from working in the non-government sector, significant project and contract management knowledge as well as her grounded and practical involvement in Community Development and Community Capacity Building initiatives.
Will Venn, Media & Communications Coordinator
With a strong background in marketing, print and digital journalism within Europe and South Australia, Will works to highlight how the Centre is making an impact in improving vulnerable children's lives. By explaining how our research and partnerships are addressing challenges and guiding practice in areas of child proteciton, Will ensures that the values, aims and work of the Centre is communicated clearly to the wider world.
Trudy Muggridge, Administrative Officer
Trudy is a highly skilled administrator with many years of experience working in the University and local government sectors. She provides key administrative support to the Director, Deputy Director and Centre staff; and the Nurturing Children: Building Capacity, Building Bridges initiative.
Stewart McDougall, Research Assistant
Stewart first joined the Centre in 2011 as a successful recipient of a Summer Scholarship to undertake a systematic literature review on anxiety and social phobia in children who are in out-of-home care. In 2012, Stewart undertook his Honours project with the Centre and investigated hope, optimism, self-efficacy and resilience as potential buffers between the demands of university study and poor psychological well-being and study engagement. As part of the research team, Stewart provides support to the Centre’s senior research staff and for a number of Centre initiatives.
Olivia Octoman, Research Assistant
Olivia first joined the Centre in 2011 as a successful recipient of a Summer Scholarship to complete a systematic literature review on evidence-based interventions for sexually problematic behaviour. In 2012, Olivia undertook her Honours project with the Centre and explored what behaviours foster carers find challenging and what types of support foster carers believed would be helpful in assisting them to manage children’s behaviour. As part of the research team, Olivia provides support to the Centre’s senior research staff and for a number of Centre initiatives.
Rachael Grauwelman-Smith, Administrative Assistant
Rachael is currently designing and creating the Centre's new website and also provides administrative assistance. She has also very recently graduated from double-degree Bachelor of Laws and International Studies.
Catia Malvaso, Research Assistant
Catia has recently completed her Honours year in Psychology at the University of Adelaide, exploring child injury in different family structures using the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children for her thesis. She is currently a research assistant working on some of the Centre's initiatives, including a project investigating children who are at risk for cumulative harm.
Jenna Meiksans, Research Assistant
Jenna undertook her Honours project in 2013 with the Centre, developing and pilot testing a measure of the factors influencing practitioners' placement decisions about children in out-of-home care. She is currently continuing work on this project as a research assistant.
Samantha Finan, Research Assistant
Samantha undertook her Honours project with the Centre in 2013 investigating and developing the tool which enables children to rate how well their case workers engage them and how included they feel in conversations about their welfare. She is currently a research assistant working on a project surrounding children's views of the 'Signs of Safety' approach to child protection case work in WA.
Tahlia Winsor, Research Assistant
Tahlia undertook her Honours project in 2013 with the Centre and explored the mental health needs of children in statutory residential care and whether carers could recognise the presence of mental health problems amongst children in care. She is currently working as a research assistant, continuing her research into carers' recognition of mental health problems as well as their views of the significance of mental health problems amongst children in statutory residential care.
Adjunct members include:
Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott OAM, Foundation Chair
Foundation Chair and Director of the Australian Centre for Child Protection from 2005-2010 and 2011-2012 (July). Professor Scott is a well-known Australian authority in child welfare and protection. She has conducted numerous reviews and inquiries in Australia in the field of child protection and has served on Ministerial advisory bodies in several States and Territories. In 2011 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to the Australian National Council on Drugs and in early 2012 completed her work on the Protecting Victoria's Vulnerable Children Inquiry.
Our National Advisory Council
The Australian Centre for Child Protection is honoured to have a National Advisory Council of eminent Australians representing a range of disciplines and bringing a wealth of experience.
Chaired by the Honourable Justice Robyn Layton AO, QC members of the Advisory Council include:
- Professor Pal Ahluwalia (Pro Vice Chancellor, Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences, University of South Australia),
- Ms Gillian Calvert AO (Former NSW Commission for Children and Young People),
- Professor Mick Dodson AM (Director of the Institute for Indigenous Australia, Australian National University),
- Professor Sue Richardson AM (Director of the National Institute of Labour Studies, Flinders University),
- Ms Muriel Bamblett, AM (Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency Co-op Ltd) and
- Professor Graham Vimpani, AM (Clinical Chair, Kaleidoscope in Greater Newcastle, Hunter Children's Health Network, Head of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Newcastle).