Partnerships in Practice: Supporting regional children and families - The Sector
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Partnerships in Practice: Supporting regional children and families

November 23, 2023 - November 23, 2023

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Napier G04 lecture theatre, ground floor, Napier building, North Terrace, University of Adelaide

Partnerships in Practice – Supporting regional children, families and communities.


How do we work together to support the best outcomes for regional children and families? This forum outlines key collaborative projects in early intervention and supports, and shares the experiences and outcomes from the perspectives of children, families and providers.




The Hon. Kate Ellis, CEO, Raising Literacy Australia


The Hon. Kate Ellis served in The Australian Parliament for 15 years as the Federal Member for Adelaide prior to her resignation in 2019. She was a Minister in both the Rudd and Gillard Governments, holding portfolios including Early Childhood Education and Childcare, Employment Participation, Sport and Youth and the Status of Women. Kate serves as a non-executive director on the boards of the Adelaide Football Club, Drinkwise Australia, the Rare Find Foundation and the Adelaide Crows Foundation. In 2021 she published her first book, Sex, Lies and Question Time, outlining the experiences of women elected to Australia’s parliament. She is the CEO of the charity Raising Literacy Australia and currently Chairs South Australia’s Early Years Taskforce.


Ellen Rowley, Team Leader and Speech Pathologist, Novita


Ellen supports the allied health team in Whyalla and the wider regional team. Ellen focused on regional service delivery from her new graduate year and has maintained her commitment to regional communities for the entirety of her career to date. Through both her clinical and leadership roles, Ellen supports families and teams to continue to develop their learning with a focus on strengths and connection. This has extended into her work with communities in the development of strong relationships that drive holistic, community-wide supports. Together with her team, Ellen has participated in multiple projects, practice developments and community collaborations, including the Words Grow Minds campaign in Whyalla. Her ability to create connections, see opportunities and work with people from all backgrounds has facilitated positive outcomes for many regional families and children.


Samara Nield, Clinical Lead and Speech Pathologist, Novita


Samara has a long commitment to supporting regional communities. Having grown up in the Mid North, Sammy has worked across the Eyre Peninsula, and is now based in the Riverland. She has been driving practice change in Neurodivergent Affirming Practice and Early Childhood Intervention. Sammy’s focus on developing best practice and whole of community approaches has resulted in true collaborative supports for young children alongside parents, families, early childhood education and care, and of course the children themselves! Sammy shares her learning and knowledge not only with the community but has also invested in supporting the learning of up-and-coming allied health professionals through her support of student placements and programs.




Cathryn Blight, General Manager, Regional Services, Novita


A determined advocate for regional areas, Cathryn is providing services across South Australia and Far West NSW. A Speech Pathologist by background, Cathryn has worked in rural and remote communities in the Northern Territory, and regional South Australia. This has instilled a commitment to bringing important services closer to where they are needed in regional areas. Utilising community development and primary health care approaches, Cathryn has supported teams to continue to challenge their practice and models of support to ensure the best possible outcomes for children, families and regional communities. Cathryn continues to drive quality services for regional communities within complex systems, funding models and workforce demands using innovative approaches and a commitment to team and community capacity building.


A/Professor Zohra Lassi (HDA Co-Convenor), Robinson Research Institute and School of Public Health, University of Adelaide


Zohra is a trained epidemiologist recognised internationally for her work identifying interventions for improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition in disadvantaged settings by advancing knowledge in public health practice and translation into global health policies and guidelines.


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