2021 Victorian Protecting Children Awards

The awards recognise dedicated teams and individuals who make protecting children their business every day.

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Victorian Protecting Children Awards. Outstanding individuals and teams from the child and families services sector were recognised for their work at an online gala event in early September.

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About the awards

The awards recognise practitioners, workers, carers and community members from across all areas of the Victorian child and family services system.

Foster and kinship carers, academics, policy, program, supervisory and direct service staff from community, government or academic organisations are encouraged to nominate anyone that they believe go above and beyond to ensure the wellbeing of children and young people.

Award winners

In a year that saw a record-breaking number of submissions, congratulations to the winners.

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Award categories

The 2021 Victorian Protecting Children Awards recognise excellence in 14 categories. Nine categories are open to the child and family services sector, while five categories are internal Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) child protection practitioner awards.

This year a new category has been introduced to recognise an individual, team or group that goes above and beyond the expectations of their role to assist young people experiencing vulnerability to gain access to the support they need. This may be for important life skills, independent living, employment pathways, education-based support, culturally appropriate care, mental health and substance abuse. Anyone in the child and family services sector is eligible to receive this award.

The internal DFFH child protection practitioner categories have also been re-designed to make the nomination process easier to complete. The categories will be split by practitioner level, as well as a separate award for outstanding teams.

Two of the Victorian Protecting Children Awards honour the memory of the visionary Robin Dennis Clark (1936 - 2001) who greatly influenced child and family related policy and practice in Victoria.

Robin Clark Leadership Award

This award recognises an individual, team, or group at any level of leadership who inspires others to act wisely and care deeply about achieving the best outcomes for children, young people and their families. They may mentor, support, encourage or educate others. Nominees in this category are leaders or emerging leaders, demonstrating vision and innovation in their approach to practice, policy or research and education.

This award winner will have respect and show inspirational leadership in the field of child, youth and family services, that is the spirit of Robin Clark.

Examples of work may include:

  • Demonstrating outstanding leadership of a campaign or initiative to support sustained improvement in the lives of children, young people and their families.
  • Influencing the practice of others, through leadership and advocacy, to increase the inclusion of children and young people experiencing vulnerability in the community.
Robin Clark Making a Difference Award

This award recognises an individual, team, or group within the child and family service sector, who has made an exceptional contribution to directly improve the lives of children, young people and families in Victoria. This can be in partnership or collaboration with government and non-government agencies.

Winners in this award will strive to achieve excellent practice among those who work with children and families. Their work will show insight, practicality and wisdom.

Examples of work may include:

  • Working across a variety of roles within the sector, as a leader, manager, influential thought leader or researcher, advocate and/or frontline worker, and who has an exemplary track record of improving outcomes for children, young people, carers and families.
  • Providing expert, strategic advice to improve support and decision making for children and young people in care.
  • Championing the rights of carers, children and young people through the development and delivery of training, financial support, or new innovative models of care.
Education Initiative Award

This award recognises an individual, team or group that has demonstrated success improving educational outcomes for children and young people in child protection. This may include:

  • Mentoring or supporting children in care to engage with and/or make progress within education settings.
  • Developing education resources.
  • Implementing an innovative approach to bringing the education and child protection systems together.
  • Supporting participation in early years and pre-school activities, or facilitating access to mainstream education, vocational education (VET), job training or skill building programs.
  • Supporting at-risk young people to actively engage in their education.

Examples of work may include:

  • An individual, team or group advocates who creates social enterprise or strategic partnerships to increase access to education opportunities for children and young people experiencing vulnerability in out-of-home care.
Minister's Award for Innovation in Protecting Children

This award recognises an individual, team or group demonstrating innovative approaches and creative intervention to achieve the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families. This innovation can be demonstrated across the child, youth and family services sector through case management, education, prevention and early intervention, or the provision of care to children and young people in out-of-home care (including secure welfare services).

Examples of work may include:

  • Development of new and innovative programs, or strengthening of existing programs, to improve outcomes for children and young people experiencing vulnerability.
  • Working in different ways to achieve outcomes for high-risk youth.
  • Embedding sustainable change within organisational practices to create more opportunities for children and young people experiencing vulnerability.
Carer Award

This award recognises past and present accredited foster or kinship carers who have made a significant contribution to the lives of children and young people where child protection has been involved in formal foster care.

Examples of work may include:

  • Going above and beyond to provide exceptional care, support and stability to a child or young person.
  • Overcoming challenges to advocate for children and young people’s needs and creating a positive effect on young lives.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of the importance of connection to culture and kin for children and young people in care and working with agencies and child protection to prioritise this connection.
Supporting Young People in Care Award

This award recognises an individual, team or group that goes above and beyond to support young people experiencing vulnerability. The winner of this award prioritises empowering young people in the decision-making process and assists them to achieve their goals.

Examples of work may include:

  • An individual, team or group that goes above and beyond the expectations of their role to assist young people experiencing vulnerability gain access to the support they need. This may be for important life skills, independent living, employment pathways, education-based support, culturally appropriate care, mental health and substance abuse.
  • Implementation of programs that improve outcomes for young people experiencing vulnerability.
CREATE Award

This award gives Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and young people aged 8 - 25 years the opportunity to nominate someone such as a carer, support worker or agency who has made a positive difference to their lives, particularly through assisting them to have a voice within the out-of-home care system.

This award is managed by the CREATE Foundation and will be judged by a committee of children and young people.

Find more information at the CREATE Foundation website.

The Modelling a Generous Community Award

This award recognises someone who has made a significant contribution to enhancing the safety and wellbeing of Victorian children experiencing vulnerability; through demonstrating the highest level of sustained personal commitment to meaningfully connecting children to their local community.

Note: This award is managed by the Commission for Children and Young People.

The Walda Blow Award

This Award recognises contributions of an Aboriginal person in Victoria to the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal children and young people.

Note: This award is managed by the Commission for Children and Young People.