Literary Lunch raise $206,000 for our Beyond Barbed Wire program

Last Thursday, the Peter Pan Committee held their well-known Literary Lunch to raise vital funds for Barnardos.

The event raised an astounding $206,000 for our Beyond Barbed Wire program that supports incarcerated mothers and their children. Guests had the opportunity to listen to inspiring author, Trent Dalton, and there was not a single dry eye in the room. The lunch was hosted again this year by one of Australia’s most respected investigative journalists, Kate McClymont AM and guests also heard first-hand about the program and our clients thanks to Barnardos staff, Shiree Talbot.

We want to extend a big thank you to the Peter Pan Committee for their ongoing support of the Beyond Barbed Wire program. Thank you for being champions for children.

Meet Kay, program manager

Social work runs through my blood and is a real part of my identity.

My name is Kay, and I am the Program Manager of the Temporary Family Care Team at Barnardos Australia.

For as long as I can remember, my parents fostered and adopted children through Barnardos UK so I grew up in a very welcoming, open and caring environment. When my family decided that Australia was the place for us, I was delighted to find a job as a practicing social worker with Barnardos, as it gave me the perfect work-life balance I was looking for. After years of ‘front door’ child protection, I wanted to do something different while still making a difference.

Whilst at Barnardos, I have worked predominantly in the Kinship Care space, where children are placed with other family members or people they know when they can’t live safely at home. This was not unchartered territory for me, as I had previously cared for siblings in the UK- but the support I received then doesn’t come close to the support we give our kin carers in Barnardos. The genuine time, effort and care we extend to our carers builds relationships and strengthens bonds. I remember growing up and seeing social workers come and go whilst never really knowing the children living at our house. It would make me so cross. Being able to build positive relationships with young people and families is what makes this line of work so fulfilling. I have had the privilege of being with some of those young people at their most vulnerable, placement breakdowns, sitting on the bed of a dying parent or waiting for a young person to come out of surgery. My heart swells with pride when I witness children achieving amazing things like getting great grades at school, watching them repair relationships with family members and achieving amazing career goals. The one thing that outweighs all of that is when a young person comes back to the office and leaves messages for me, even though I have moved on to a different role.

I’m so fortunate to work with an amazing team of people, from children, parents, carers, and colleagues. What brings me joy is when we get to be part of a child’s success. I’d like to think that no parent gets up in the morning and thinks they want to make decisions that make their children unsafe.

I love that parents know that when they come to us, they will be fully supported. Difficult conversations may be necessary, but they know that they are hearing the truth and that we care for them and their children. We are always working towards wins, be it to watch parents grow and have their children restored to their care, getting permanency for children whether that be safely returned to their parents or other family members, or a safe place they can permanently call home. Ensuring the children continue to be our focus is what’s most important for me. We know that when safe, the best place for children is with their families to ensure their connection is there. This is so important as this allows them to grow, knowing who they are and who loves them.

Whilst being at Barnardos I have received amazing support and encouragement from leaders to grow professionally and to climb the ‘career ladder’, something I wouldn’t normally seek out. This support has allowed me to progress from Case Manager, Team Leader and now Program Manager. But no matter what role I’m in, I want to continue being part of Barnardos and the values they stand for, by supporting children and their families. I believe I will continue to do that.

Staff Spotlight: Kimberley Johnson

My name is Kimberley Johnson, and I’ve been a part of the Cranebrook team for a little over 4 years now. My role in Barnardos has been in reception and administration for the Penrith Children’s Family Centre, and what I enjoy most is that every day brings something new.

One of the things I absolutely love about my job is the people – the clients, the community, and those familiar faces who regularly drop by to say hi. It’s a real privilege to be the first person they meet when they come here. We’ve got a simple philosophy: we provide what people need without asking a lot of questions. That way, we make accessing our services a little less intimidating, especially during tough times when money is tight for everyone.

Before Barnardos, I was in property management, which eventually led to me feeling burned out and reevaluating my career path. I’m grateful that I picked up some invaluable skills during that time – dealing with people, handling tricky situations, and solving problems. All of which I’ve brought with me to Barnardos.

This role has given me the chance to step out of my comfort zone and explore something different. It’s helped me realise that I have a deep passion for working with children and their families.

I’ve called Penrith home for all 30 years of my life. I’ve witnessed the changes in this area and the community. Penrith has grown and developed, and I’m happy to be able to contribute to my community.

At home, it’s me, my husband, and our two furry friends – a Labrador and a Red Cattle Dog. Soon, we’ll be adding another member to our family – a baby on the way! When we do find some free time, we’re out camping, kayaking, going on bushwalks, or just enjoying a good beach trip with the dogs. We never let a warm day, or a great opportunity go to waste.

My hope here at Barnardos is to make a difference, no matter how small, for the families and children who come through our doors. We might not always know their stories or what they’re going through, but offering a non-judgmental, welcoming, and comfortable space can mean the world to someone, even if it’s just for one day.

For those who visit us regularly, being a familiar face who welcomes them into our centre is a little constant that can make a big difference. It’s been an eye-opening part of my role to witness the growth and transformation of some of the families and children who work with our caseworkers and programs, whether over a few weeks or months. It’s truly heartwarming and inspiring.

So, I’m excited to see what the future holds for me, and to keep growing my knowledge and skills. I’m happy to know that I get to make a difference in the lives of the children in our community.

Barnardos CEO Deirdre Cheers and Dr Rob present at EUSARF 2023

Last week our Barnardos Australia CEO Deirdre Cheers and Head of Knowledge, Outcomes and Research, Dr Robert Urquhart presented at the EuSARF 2023 conference at the University of Sussex (UK).

The European Scientific Association on Residential and Family Care for Children and Adolescents (EuSARF) is a body of researchers focusing on child welfare and protection. The EuSARF board consists of 22 members from 15 European countries and Israel, the United States of America and Canada.

Their presentations “Strengthening practice for children and young people in care – Using our Practice Framework to safeguard child rights” and “Working with evidence in practice to recognise and reduce disadvantage: A collaborative approach to design and implementation of Barnardos Australia’s Outcomes Framework” are available below.

Thanks go to Fiona, Bryce, Matt, Mel, Zvez, Liz, Emma, Matthew, Alana and all our wonderful Beta practitioners and families for their insights and brilliant contributions.

Its so wonderful to see Barnardos sharing our knowledge about how we help children to recover and thrive on the world stage!

Child Protection Week 2023

Cumberland City Council & Integrated Violence Prevention and Response Service (IVPRS) Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) partnered to launch Child Protection Week 2023 with a fun filled day for the Cumberland Community.

The event had activities focusing on ‘Me and my body: emotional literacy and body safety for pre-schoolers.’

Services delivered an interactive activity that was suitable for pre-schoolers and aligned with the theme ‘Where we start matters.’

Barnardos Auburn Child, Youth & Family Support (CYFS) and Family, Connect & Support (FCS) teams delivered a planting activity to demonstrate that we need to nurture and love plants for them to grow, just like children.

The stall was a success with children, parents and carers wanting to pick their seeds and hopefully watch their plants grow!

Child Protection Week 2023

Child Protection Week 2023

Prime Video partners with Barnardos Australia to launch Empower With Flowers charity initiative

Twenty dollars will be donated from each purchase and matched by Prime Video in Australia, thanks to the series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

Prime Video, in partnership with Barnardos Australia, announced the launch of the charity initiative “Empower With Flowers,” encouraging Australians to gift a bouquet of native flowers.

Every bouquet purchased from supporting partner Floraly will help empower women escaping domestic and family violence, by supporting Barnardos Australia in providing safe houses, counselling, and legal aid.

Twenty dollars will be donated from each purchase and matched by Prime Video in Australia, thanks to the Amazon Original series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, which is a compelling story of female resilience, friendship, and the power to overcome tragedy.

The “Empower With Flowers” initiative was inspired by the language of flowers used in Holly Ringland’s debut novel and the Amazon Original series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart to communicate messages of love and hope.

Launched to coincide with the finale of the series on September 1, the “Empower With Flowers” campaign will be live until September 30 on Floraly, with flexible delivery dates on all orders. Every flower delivery will include an illustrated card explaining the initiative and inviting the recipient to continue to empower women by sending a bunch of natives to a friend.

Hushidar Kharas, country manager Prime Video Australia and New Zealand, said: “The ‘Empower with Flowers’ campaign is an important initiative in partnership with Barnardos Australia and Floraly. Australian Original series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart was a passion project for the team at Prime Video who wanted to do more and help support women and children faced with difficult circumstances.”

“At Prime Video we are committed to supporting local organisations like Barnardos Australia to help raise awareness of issues surrounding family and domestic violence. We hope that through the act of gifting a beautiful bunch of native flowers, it will help someone in need as a result from this initiative.”

Deirdre Cheers, Barnardos CEO, said: “Powerful storytelling has the ability to bring to life the extraordinary impact that domestic and family violence has on childhoods.

“Barnardos are thrilled to be partnering with Prime Video and Floraly to honour Australian series The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by supporting families to be safe and free of violence. A gift of Floraly natives can help us tell a new story about families that can recover and thrive.”

Tristan Sender, CEO of Floraly, said: “The team at Floraly is passionate about supporting causes like this, which have the power to make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”

“People have always shown one another love and support through the gifting of flowers, and thanks to the ‘Empower With Flowers’ initiative, they’ll also be able to help raise awareness about the devastating impact of domestic and family violence in Australia.

“By supporting Barnardos with a $20 donation from each natives bouquet sold, we hope we’re able to help empower women who’ve experienced domestic violence and make a positive impact on their lives.”

Gift a Bouquet


As first published in Media Week.

Respecting Copyright

Why monthly giving is more important than ever before

Families in crisis

As the cost-of-living continues to soar, more and more Australian families are being plunged further into poverty, struggling to pay for essentials like rent, petrol, utilities, and food.

While times are certainly challenging for many of us, these pressures are pushing already vulnerable families dealing with issues such as mental health, intergenerational trauma, and domestic and family abuse to absolute breaking point.

Tragically, it’s the children who suffer the most with 1 in 4 Australian children being exposed to domestic violence* and a child dying every two weeks as a result of domestic and family violence**.

Research has found that economic insecurity is associated with an increased risk of intimate partner violence and for those that want to leave a violent relationship for their children’s safety, the cost-of-living increases are making it incredibly difficult to do so.

All children deserve to grow up in a safe, stable home with enough to eat and a secure future – but with the escalating poverty crisis, a record number of Australian children are at severe risk every day.

No child should live consumed by fear of violence and with the very real threat of homelessness looming daily. Australia, we need to do everything we can to protect vulnerable children and their families from the devastating impact and trauma of poverty.

Your support has never been so critical.

Become a Barnardos Buddy today

Monthly giving – better for all

We all need to be more mindful of our spending during these challenging times. However, it’s also very important that if we are able, to help struggling parents put food on the table, pay their bills and receive the support they need to provide their children with a safe and secure home. Children need this protection, stability and care so they can reach their full potential in life. And every child deserves that.

When you become a Barnardos Buddy, you become a champion to vulnerable child in need. You walk alongside the most disadvantaged children in Australia, helping to ensure that they receive the vital support and services they need.

Choosing to become a Barnardos Buddy and donating monthly provides many advantages to both our valued Buddies as well Barnardos. It is also one of the most effective ways of supporting vulnerable families and children in need.

Regular Monthly Giving benefits to you:

You will be in full control of your giving ensuring that it is considered, planned and intentional.

  • You select how much to donate each month and can easily change it at any time, depending on your personal budget and circumstances.
  • You will follow the progress of a real girl or boy in our care so you can see first-hand the amazing difference you are making to the life and future of a vulnerable child.
  • You will be kept up-to-date on the life-changing impact your monthly donations have on the lives of other vulnerable children, young people and families.
  • You will feel proud of the decision you have made to be a reliable Buddy to vulnerable children in need, when they need help the most.
  • Monthly giving is quick and easy – each month we will automatically debit your nominated amount from your credit card or bank account, ensuring your data is safe and secure.
  • We will send you an annual tax receipt each July so you can claim your tax-deductions.

Become a Barnardos Buddy today and know that you are helping stand by children in desperate need of support.

Benefits of Regular Giving to Barnardos Australia:

There are currently 761,000 Australian families living in poverty in Australia^. That’s 1 in 6 children in every classroom across our nation. And sadly, already 19,400 children under the age of 14 are already living without the safety and security of a home^^.

In addition to this escalating economic crisis, children are also in increased risk of physical harm, with over 1,400 reports of child abuse or neglect on daily basis^^^.

Giving monthly as a Barnardos Buddy is one of the best ways to support our vital work in helping protect and support Australia’s most vulnerable children, and that is because regular giving:

  • Provides Barnardos with a reliable source of income so we can better respond to crisis like Australia’s current cost-of-living crisis.
  • Allows us to reach more families in need, and significantly reduce our administration costs so more funds can be directed to those who need our help.
  • Assists us in effectively and accurately planning ahead, allowing us to invest in long-term solutions, which makes a lasting difference in the lives of vulnerable children.

What impact would monthly giving make?

Your monthly giving will provide life-changing wrap-around support and services to children, young people and families in need such as:

  • Domestic violence emergency escape plans, trauma education and counselling.
  • Crisis accommodation, advocacy and liaison with Centrelink and housing services.
  • Emergency food relief, electricity and gas vouchers, clothing and furniture.
  • Access to professional counselling and art therapy.
  • Tutoring and learning support through Barnardos Homework Clubs.

Become a Barnardos Buddy today


*Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse 2011 -The Impact of Domestic Violence on Children: A Literature Review
**AIHW 2020
^Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) Poverty in Australia 2022
^^Australian Bureau of Statistics Census 2016
^^^AIHW Child Protection 2020-2021

The link between domestic homelessness and DFV

Lack of affordable housing is a huge problem for children and families escaping domestic and family violence.

Domestic violence victim-survivor and mother, Tegan, shares her experience on how the lack of affordable housing has impacted her children and herself.

“When I left the relationship, I was in contact with a service that was supposed to help me with housing however it was taking too long.

I was going through Family Court proceedings they were using the fact that I was living with my parents as an excuse to have my children removed from my care, it never stood up in court, but it was heartbreaking and frustrating to think that there was meant to be this service in place, but there were actually no houses available for us to go and live in.” – Tegan

For those parents it’s terrifying that that they fear that their children may be removed from their care because they lack stable housing and then there’s a whole impact on children of not having secure housing and experiencing homelessness so there’s a dire impact on their children as well.

HIPPY Warrawong’s new uniform

HIPPY Warrawong’s new uniform, proudly featuring the salt water animals of the Dharawal Nation.

Last year, the HIPPY Warrawong team, children and carers collaborated with a local Aboriginal artist, Ally Day, from Coomaditchie Aboriginal Corporation, to create an incredible painting showcasing the saltwater animals of the Dharawal Nation. The acrylic painting with shades of blue, green and sunset colours, represent our beautiful South Coast beach coastline.

Painted by Artist Alison Day & Children and Families of HIPPY Warrawong
Painted by Artist Alison Day & Children and Families of HIPPY Warrawong

This painting has spent the past year on display in our Children’s room for all who visit this space it to enjoy. HIPPY Warrawong sought permission from the artist, Ally Day, to reproduce the artwork for a special project.

Now our HIPPY Warrawong team are also proudly wearing the local design as the brand-new HIPPY uniform!

Artist Ally Day was presented with her very own Jacket, featuring this artwork.

It’s such an honour walking around wearing this artwork in the community, knowing that it was the brushstrokes and imaginations of the local children we work with who created it.

Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards

Barnardos South Coast representatives, Centre Manager Maria Corsiglia, Program Manager Lisa O’Grady, Case Worker Stephen Vass, Program Manager Sarah Beale and Service Coordinator Siegfried Leland attended the Local Government Regional NAIDOC awards dinner on Saturday 29th July, in Kiama.

The Illawarra-based Local Government Regional NAIDOC Awards was hosted annually for the last 10 years. The awards are an important time to celebrate the achievements of our local First Nations people and to reconnect and collaborate as a community.

The ceremony attracted more than 200 members of the Aboriginal community, their Elders and other dignitaries, as well as members of the wider community, community services, government and corporate sector.

It was a magnificent night celebrating the contribution and achievements of Aboriginal communities in Kiama, Shoalhaven, Shellharbour and Wollongong.

It was such a wonderful evening to celebrate our elders and acknowledge the efforts of local people for their dedication to our communities.

The night started with the smoking ceremony performed by Aunty Gwenda, Uncle Stan and Kristian Jarrett, traditional owners of the Dharawal Nation, continued with the pouring of the sand and the Welcome to Country.

Entertainment included comedian Andy Saunders, dance performance by Gumaraa, performance by Bandria McLeod, Koori woman from the Yuin Nation and Monaro Nation, and a performance by Matty Walker, proud Yuin singer and songwriter from Wollongong.


  • Young Achiever of the Year – Emma McMahon
  • Young Achiever of the Year – Amelia Wall
  • Organisation/Project of the Year – Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Corporation
  • Community Volunteer of the Year – Korin Koutsomihalis
  • Community Representative of the Year – Richard Ardler
  • Outstanding Contribution to Reconciliation – Tullimbar Public School
  • Aboriginal Elder of the Year – Uncle Tom Brown
  • Aboriginal Elder of the Year – Aunty Annette Lonesborough

We were delighted to see Coomaditchie winning the Organisation of the year award in recognition of the brilliant work they do in our communities. ​​​​​​​

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you to everyone who attended this year’s Awards ceremony, representing Barnardos.