20 August, 2014

Acwa Award

Pictured left to right are - Claire Robbs, CEO of Life without Barriers who presented the award, Louise Voigt (winner), Linda Mondy from UnitingCare Burnside (nominee), Elizabeth Fernandez from UNSW (nominee). Also nominated was Jill De’Ath Karitane from Connecting Carers NSW (not pictured).

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies have honoured Barnardos Australia’s CEO Louise Voigt with their Lifetime Achievement Award at the ACWA Achievement Awards 2014, held earlier tonight in Sydney. 

The ACWA Lifetime Achievement Award recognises Louise’s outstanding commitment and contribution to improving the outcomes of children, young people and their families in NSW – particularly those in vulnerable circumstances.  

As CEO and Director of Welfare for Barnardos Australia for the past 30 years, Louise has been a guiding light in child protection in Australia. Her passion and drive for always considering the best interests of the child has been central to her enduring leadership and her abiding value of “never giving up on children” has become ingrained in the Barnardos culture. 

A passionate and outspoken advocate for change to adoption legislation, under Louise’s leadership Barnardos pioneered open adoption practice in Australia, improving the outcomes of children and young people in NSW. With a strong focus on evidence-based accountability Louise has also commissioned major research projects including most recently the world’s first longitudinal study into the outcomes for children after 30 years of open adoption from out-of-home-care under the banner of the newly launched Centre for Excellence in Open Adoption.

Louise’s strong commitment to social justice has ensured Barnardos has persisted in increasing the recruitment and support of Aboriginal staff and managers in order to deliver quality services to Aboriginal children, young people and their families. 

As a member of the Board of ACWA for many years Louise has earned the deep respect of all members of the welfare sector, including leaders of other NGOs, senior government bureaucrats and politicians from both sides of politics. 

Louise was also instrumental in the development of MyStory, Barnardos Australia’s next generation in case management - a research based, guided practice case management tool for practitioners in out of home care.  Launched at  the ACWA Conference 2014, MyStory helps preserves a child’s history and identity and ensures the child’s voice is at the centre of all decision making –values that are key to Louise’s philosophy of child welfare.

In 2000, Louise was awarded the NSW Association of Social Workers Social Justice Award.

Louise holds a Masters of Social Work from the University of Sydney and is currently an Associate of the university.