ACWA to bring advocates together after long hiatus
The Sector > Research > Allied Fields > ACWA to bring advocates together after long hiatus

ACWA to bring advocates together after long hiatus

by Freya Lucas

May 28, 2024

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) will host an international conference next month, bringing together a large number of local and international child and family specialists to address disadvantage.


The Conference was last held in 2018, before pandemic related restrictions made the gathering more complex. 


“It’s a thrill that we’ve been able to bring back one of the sector’s most significant gatherings as people with lived experience, seasoned practitioners and leaders, plus both local and international academics, converge to discuss ways forward to help families and children thrive,” ACWA CEO Maree Walk said.


The conference program has been designed to “tackle the most critical issues” facing vulnerable children, families, and young people, and will be held at Sydney’s International Conference Centre over three days, from June 5- June 7. 


Topics to be covered include: 


  • Early intervention 
  • Family preservation 
  • Child protection 
  • Domestic and family violence 
  • Out of home care


“It is a stimulating program of the latest research, evidence, and practice from all over Australia and internationally,” Ms Walk said. 


“We’re especially grateful to all those with lived experience, such as Aboriginal author and film director, Brenda Matthews, who are generously sharing their stories to inspire the robust discussions needed to drive positive change,” she continued.


Several sessions will focus on issues related to Aboriginal children and families, with Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC, delivering a keynote address titled Safe and Supported; followed by Commissioners from across the country hosting a symposium on self-determination, child protection decision-making and oversight.


NSW Women’s Safety Commissioner, Hannah Tonkin, will chair a session on Safe Families – Reimagining our Communities, Systems and Services, featuring leaders discussing the intersection of domestic and family violence and child protection issues.


Three of the country’s Children’s Court presiding judges will speak at a symposium, exploring how they’re adopting innovative solutions to challenges facing multiple Jurisdictions.


International keynote speakers have been carefully selected to compliment the program, each of whom have delivered ground-breaking work in their specialised areas, and who will share their knowledge and expertise in presentations and masterclasses.


These include:


  • Professor Darcey Merritt from the University of Chicago
  • Dr Kiaras Gharabaghi from Toronto Metropolitan University
  • Associate Professor Stephanie Holt from Trinity College Dublin
  • Professor Jonathan Scourfield from Cardiff University
  • Associate Professor Emily Keddell from University of Otago.


The conference program is complemented by a Gala Dinner, during which the winners of the ACWA Awards will be announced. 


The ACWA Awards celebrate child and family workers across the state. 


View the conference program here, or visit the conference website for more information. 

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button