Program

Practice Conference 2019

We’re privileged to be joined by some amazing speakers, whose personal and professional experiences get to the very heart of what it means to belong.

Read more about our stellar lineup of keynotes and breakout sessions. View the full program below:

Program

Download a copy of the program PDF copy of the program or view the accessible program

Breakout Sessions

Doing

Skills Fair

Experience the Practice Framework come alive. Roll up to the Skills Fair and explore the ‘doing’ of belonging practice across an interactive range of skill-building activities, displays and quizzes. Seek advice and experiment with practice tools. Grab your passport, refresh your energy and travel across our five practice capabilities — and win prizes for your efforts!

Key learning goal:
Develop practice skills founded in the Practice Framework to assess, build and support belonging for children and families.   

Capacity: 180 people

Culture Hub

Culture is belonging. Explore this vibrant hub of cultural experiences to deepen your appreciation about how culture shapes belonging for individuals, families and communities — within and between each. Dance, dress, art, rituals, objects and other practices across cultures will be on offer. Connect with the strength and healing of culture.

Key learning goal:
Deepen your cultural capability. Strengthen your understanding about the critical importance of children’s and family’s everyday experiences of culture and how this can inform your approach to conversations, assessments, case planning and goals for children.   

Capacity: 180 people

Feeling

Story and Truth

Bear witness to courageous stories and truths from people who have a lived experience of our system and practice — the most important teachers we have as practitioners. Stories of resistance, suffering, hope, injustice and strength will grow your understanding about how we are each accountable and can influence how families experience belonging, or not belonging. Take lessons forward about past practices that should not be repeated, and good practices that should. Be present, lean in and feel the power of truth.

Key learning goal:
Strengthen your understanding about how we can provide a positive social response to children and families and learn how to apply lessons from past practices into your real-time practice.

Capacity: 50 people

The OOHC Immersion Space

Step into the shoes of children and young people who have experienced the care system. This space will immerse your senses, open your mind and generate empathy to what belonging or not belonging feels like for children in out of home care. In this intimate space you will hear voice, see images, feel objects and smell scents that represent those experiences. Young people will lead you through reflections and connections to practice. Please note that this space will have dim lighting, so those with visual impairments or mobility needs can seek support from one of our ushers.

Key learning goal:
Build practice insights about the needs of children and young people in care in order for them to experience a strong sense of belonging. Strengthen your conversations with children and case planning practices.

Capacity: 50 people

Thinking

The Partnering for Safety Approach

Join practice guru Sonja Parker in this workshop that delves deeper into how to thoughtfully and skilfully work in partnership with parents, children and their network to build stronger, safer families. Sonja will bring together two of our Practice Frameworks practice approaches — and tools from Safety Centred Practice – to build your capability and confidence to actively partner for children’s safety.

Key learning goal:
Strengthen your ability to critically analyse, partner and build network with and around families so that children are safer and your assessments are stronger.

Capacity: 120 people

Watching

[Day one] Screening and Q&A: Ghosthunter

Ghosthunter is a powerful and haunting Australian documentary about one man’s search to understand the trauma of his childhood and how this has shaped his belonging now. As he pieces together his past we learn the importance of doing so in order to reclaim the future. Join our edited screening of Ghosthunter and engage in conversation with those involved with the film. 

Key learning goal:
Increase your awareness about the ways that complex trauma can impact on a child’s ability to develop a sense of belonging within themselves and in relationships with others. Improve your understanding of Dignity Driven Practice to discover how individuals resist suffering in unique and diverse ways.  

Capacity: 340 people

[Day two] Screening and Q&A: Backtrack Boys

Backtrack Boys is a soul-moving documentary about a group of boys in trouble with the law and Bernie — the rough talking, big hearted jackaroo who takes them in. The boys’ ability to trust and show tenderness builds as they care for their show-jumping dogs. And a belonging emerges as they experience a steady and consistent love from Bernie and the whole Backtrack gang. This is a story about the power of love and chasing hopes and dreams. Join us for this edited screening of Backtrack Boys and conversation with some of the Backtrack gang.

Key learning goal:
Deepen your knowledge and skills about how to connect with teenagers who experience challenges by understanding what they’re running from, using empathy, kind boundary setting and dependability.

Capacity: 340 people

Although not a requirement, we encourage you to watch the full length versions of these films prior to the conference, to help deepen your understanding during these workshops.

Ghosthunter and Backtrack Boys can be found on SBS On Demand.

Keynotes

Lemn Sissay MBE – (UK) Poet, playwright, artist, producer and broadcaster. Lemn Sissay is the son of two highly accomplished Ethiopian parents, neither of whom he knew anything about as he was raised by a white foster family living on the outskirts of Manchester. He was 12 when he was sent to live in a group home. The first time he knew of his mother and her love for him was when he left care at 18 and was given a letter from her pleading for his return. His story is one of longing to belong, ‘known unknowns’ and shining a hopeful and unflinching light on the care system.

Prof Cathy Humphreys – (AUS) Cathy Humphreys is Professor of Social Work at University of Melbourne. She is co-chair of the Melbourne research Alliance to End Violence Against Women and Their Children (MAEVe) and one of the lead investigators on the Safer Families Centre for Research Excellence. Her current research projects include: evaluations of recovery and healing programs for women and children; evaluation of Caring Dads; and the STACY project (Safe & Together Addressing Complexity) which explores the interface between child protection, domestic violence, mental health and drug and alcohol services. Cathy worked as a practitioner for 16 years before becoming a social work academic.

Isaiah Dawe – (AUS) Isaiah Dawe is a young Butchulla and Gawara Salt Water Murri man. Isaiah grew up in our foster care system from two months old to 18 years. Throughout that time, he was never in contact with his family and changed placement 17 times. He has now used his negative experiences for a positive and founded the first Aboriginal mentoring organisation to support Aboriginal youth in OOHC through a not-for-profit organisation called ID. Know Yourself.

Nicole Lee – (AUS) Nicole Lee is a family violence survivor and passionate advocator. After suffering a decade of abuse at the hands of her former husband, Nicole now uses her lived-experience of family violence to speak out for those who don’t yet have a voice. Nicole, who also uses a wheelchair, focuses on family violence perpetrated against those who have a disability, or who depend on carers or family members for support. Nicole Lee has played a major role in shaping how Victoria responds, and works to prevent, family violence. The level and type of engagement is unseen in other jurisdictions both in Australia and overseas.

Sonja Parker – (AUS) Sonja Parker is an independent social worker and child protection consultant from Perth, Western Australia. Sonja has worked in both government and non-government child protection roles, in investigation, children-in-care, as well as reunification and family preservation programmes. Through her work with families and her training and consultation with agencies and practitioners, Sonja has developed a number of tools, processes and resources to assist child protection professionals and family members in working together more effectively to build future safety for children.

Jackie Wruck – (AUS) Jackie Wruck is a proud Aboriginal Yindinji woman from Far North Queensland, Yarrabah region and Cultural Practice Advisor with Child Safety, Caboolture, QLD. Jackie’s own experience of domestic and family violence led her to becoming a certified Safe & Together trainer, and a lead facilitator of ‘Walking with Dads’, a program that works with, and walks with fathers who have perpetrated violence in their families. Working with families all of her life, Jackie is a vocal advocate for families and passionate about keeping children out of the child protection system and making sure families voices are heard.This excellent line-up of speakers is only half the story.

Accessible program

Day 1 Program – Tuesday 12 November
Start time Session
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY – Aunty Ann Weldon
OPENING ADDRESS AND EXCELLENCE IN PRACTICE AWARDS – Minister Ward and Simone Czech, Deputy Secretary
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Kate Alexander, Senior Practitioner Our work with families: A year in review
MORNING TEA
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Sonja Parker Integrating partnership-based practice and structured decision-making
PERFORMANCE – Alexandria Park Public School
LUNCH
WATCHING THINKING DOING FEELING
Ghosthunter
Film screening and Q&A
The Partnering for Safety Approach
Sonja Parker and Zoe Sharman
Skills Fair Culture Hub Story and Truth The OOHC Immersion Space
AFTERNOON TEA
PANEL – Survivors of the Stolen Generations
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Isaiah Dawe I.D. Know yourself 
REFLECTIONS AND CLOSE OF DAY 1

Day 2 Program – Wednesday 13 November
Start time Session
DAY 2 OPEN – Acknowledgement of Country
SESSION – Nicole Lee Being on the receiving end of the violence and the system - Partnering with women so they can be whole again
MORNING TEA
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Jackie Wruck Father inclusive practice with Aboriginal families. Making dads more visible
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Professor Cathy Humphreys Strengthening Partnerships with Mothers; The role of child protection and the role therapeutic conversations
LUNCH
WATCHING THINKING DOING FEELING
Backtrack Boys
Film screening and Q&A
The Partnering for Safety Approach
Sonja Parker and Zoe Sharman
Skills Fair Culture Hub Story and Truth The OOHC Immersion Space
AFTERNOON TEA
ADDRESS – Michael Coutts-Trotter, DCJ Secretary
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – Lemn Sissay My Name is Why
REFLECTIONS AND CLOSE OF DAY 2