More speakers will be announced soon.

Keynote Speakers

Mark Courtney

Prof. Mark Courtney

Mark E. Courtney is the Samuel Deutsch Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. His fields of special interest are child welfare policy and services, the connection between child welfare services and other institutions serving families living in poverty, the transition to adulthood for marginalized populations including children in state care, and the professionalization of social work.  He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare and the Society for Social Work and Research.

Dr. Courtney received the 2010 Peter W. Forsythe Award for leadership in public child welfare from National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators and the 2015 Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research.

He obtained his MSW and PhD degrees from the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley.

Emily Munro

Prof. Emily Munro

Emily R. Munro is Professor of Social Work Research and Director of the Institute of Applied Social Research, and the Tilda Goldberg Centre for Social Work and Social Care, at the University of Bedfordshire. She has undertaken a programme of research on young people’s transitions from care to adulthood, including the first evaluation of Staying Put in England.

At an international level she is a founding member and current Chair of the Executive Committee of the International Network on Transitions from Care to Adulthood (INTRAC) and co-editor of Young People’s Transitions from Care to Adulthood: International Research and Practice.

Prof. Philip Mendes

Professor Philip Mendes teaches social policy and community development, and is the Director of the Social Inclusion and Social Policy Research Unit (SISPRU) in the Department of Social Work at Monash University in Victoria, Australia.

He has been researching young people transitioning from out-of-home care for over 20 years, represented Australia in the Transitions to Adulthood for Young People Leaving Public Care International Research Group (INTRAC), and completed major studies pertaining to youth justice, employment and mentoring programs, disability, housing, and Indigenous care leavers.

He is the author or co-author of 12 books including Australia’s Welfare Wars three editions (UNSW Press, 2003, 2008 & 2017), Young people transitioning from out-of-home care: International research, policy and practice co-edited with Pamela Snow (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), and Empowerment and control in the Australian welfare state: A critical analysis of Australian social policy since 1972 (Routledge, 2019).

Paul McDonald

Paul is the founding Chair of the national ‘Home Stretch’ campaign which seeks to extend the age of those in Out of Home Care from 18 to 21 years in every jurisdiction in Australia.

Paul is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Anglicare Victoria, the state’s largest provider of foster care, family welfare and youth support services, and founding Chair of Home Stretch.

Prior to this he was Deputy Secretary of the Children, Youth and Family Division in the Department of Human Services for the Victorian Government, being responsible for Victoria’s Child Protection Program, Youth Justice Program and Family and Domestic Violence Programs. Paul has chaired a range of nationally significant committees on behalf of the Australian Government including into Petrol Sniffing and is the former chair of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.

In 2020, Paul won the National Pro Bono ‘Influencer Award’ for his pivotal role in driving the Home Stretch campaign. In 2017, Paul was awarded the prestigious Robin Clark leadership award, the States most celebrated Children’s Protection award that recognises a leader who inspires others about achieving the best outcomes for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children, young people and their families.

He is Patron of the National Youth Workers Association.

Dylan Langley

Dylan offers deep, critical insight into OoHC discourses and limitations through his own lived experience. Through advocacy and consultation Dylan challenges the current structures that send OoHC young people into homelessness. He has diverse experience speaking in a multitude of environments, educational, government and more. The impacts of Dylan’s efforts have been acknowledged and in turn he has received numerous awards including being a state finalist for young Australian of the year 2021. Currently as a Berry Street employee, he works collaboratively utilising his expertise to influence and facilitate positive change throughout the evolving sector.

Dr Joseph McDowall

Dr Joseph McDowall has a PhD from the University of Queensland in Social Psychology. He joined the Board of the CREATE Foundation in 2008 and is now Executive Director (Research). He has written several reports for CREATE concerning transitioning from care in Australia.

In 2013, Dr McDowall produced the first comprehensive survey of life in the Australian care system from the perspective of children and young people. Subsequently, he has reported on the placement of siblings in OOHC, and the connection to culture experienced by Indigenous young people.

Recently, he completed the report on CREATE’s National Survey 2018 representing the voices of 1275 children and young people. Currently, he is a Visiting Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology in the School of Public Health and Social Work. He also is a member of the Australian Psychological Society, the Royal Society of Queensland, and is a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Other Key Contributors

Julian Morrow

Co-founder of The Chaser & Giant Dwarf, Creator of The Checkout

Julian Morrow has made a career of public nuisance in various forms, co-founding satirical media empire The Chaser and joke company Giant Dwarf, as well as making TV shows including The Election ChaserCNNNNThe Chaser’s War on EverythingThe Hamster Wheel and The Checkout. His work has been nominated, unsuccessfully, for many awards, and prosecuted successfully in many courts.

In recent years, he was taken to claiming credit for the work of others as Executive Producer of Lawrence Leung’s series Choose Your Own Adventure and Unbelievable, Eliza and Hannah Reilly’s Growing Up Gracefully and Sarah Scheller & Alison Bell’s The Letdown (which won the AACTA Award for Best TV Comedy in 2018 and 2019).

In 2015, Julian founded Giant Dwarf theatre at 199 Cleveland Street Redfern, a venue which has been described as “absolutely hilarious” by his accountant.

Julian hopes one day to leave comedy and the media to pursue his dream of becoming a lawyer again.

Justin Mohamed

Justin Mohamed is a Gooreng Gooreng man from Bundaberg in Queensland who currently is the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People of Victoria.

Justin has worked with Victorian Aboriginal communities for 20 years before moving to Canberra to take on national positions as Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health  organisation (NACCHO) and Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Australia. Prior to his move to  Canberra, Justin held positions based in the Shepparton region as the Inaugural Director of the Academy of Sport, Health and Education (ASHE), CEO and later Chairperson of Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd.

He chaired the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and chaired the Hume – Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Council (RAJAC). Justin has held positions on multiple community, state and national working groups, committees and boards and continues to be a Director of Supply Nation, Co-Chair Cricket Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee and Board Member of Kaiela Institute.

Virginia (Jinni) Dingo

Virginia (Jinni) Dingo is a Wadjarri Yamaji woman from the Mid-West area of Western Australia. Jinni is the Cultural Practice Leader at Yorganop, the only Aboriginal Community Controlled Out of Home Care service in Western Australia.  Jinni is passionate about strengthening Aboriginal families and keeping Aboriginal children connected to culture. In her role as Cultural Practice Leader Jinni is responsible for ensuring culture is embedded across the Organisation, ensuring staff have the Cultural knowledge they require so that our children are growing strong in culture, community and where possible on Country with family.

For the past 30 years Jinni has been dedicated to working with Organisations that support Aboriginal families.  Jinni has spent more than half her life living and working on Whadjuk Noongar Country which has allowed her to build strong connections with community which helps her daily in her work of finding family and creating cultural plans for Aboriginal children in care.

Katie Hooper

Katie Hooper joined the Foyer Foundation in February 2020 to drive an ambitious strategic agenda for the Australian Foyer movement, along with a range of other activities, both externally and internally focused, including policy, advocacy, education, professional development, sponsorship, communications, marketing, finance and administration.

In her last role as CEO of FCAV Katie devised and lead Victoria’s first ever Carer Advisory Group in partnership with the DHHHS, advocating for carers to always have a voice, whilst growing the peak body from a 2 person to 13 person organisation

Katie is Social work trained and has worked for over 25 year in Child and Family Services. She has worked for Government and Non-Government organisations. She has worked for large, established organisations and loves the development work. Katie is committed to working alongside young people and loves partnering for success.

Samantha Hauge

Samantha Hauge is CEO at Foster Care Association Victoria with nearly 30 years’ experience in the Victorian public sector, and 5 years’ experience as a board member at Kidsafe Victoria. Samantha has been a carer for over 14 years.

Some of Samantha’s previous roles include CEO of the Coroners Court of Victoria, after establishing and then managing the Court’s Coroners Prevention Unit. Prior to the Court, Samantha worked with the Department of Health and Human Services for 16 years, initially as a child protection worker and later in various managerial positions. During this time, Samantha appeared as a senior court officer at the Children’s Court of Victoria for many years and worked as a senior policy advisor with the Office of Children, Child Protection and Family Services. Samantha has also worked as a counsellor at the Victorian Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and in other counselling positions in women and children services.

Samantha takes up the mantle of leading the FCAV as it builds influence towards changes our carers need and deserve from the sector on behalf of our precious young people.

Cheryl Schmidt

With a client-focused practice, Cheryl has spent nearly 25 years dedicated to those in our community who should be, but are disappointedly seldom heard. 

 In her current role, as CEO at Foster & Kinship Carers Association NT, Cheryl leads a dynamic team of professionals who provide a range of key support services to nearly 1000 volunteer carers who open their homes and their hearts to support some of the most vulnerable children and young people across the Northern Territory. 

In addition to her sector experience, Cheryl has held leadership roles in NT and Federal Governments and was a Ministerial Advisor for the Attorney-General and Minister for Children and Families. 

Even with her formal qualification including a Master of Business, Bachelor of Social Science and Grad Dip in Professional Counselling, it is Cheryl’s ability to share her experience through her engaging candour and humour that will be the foundation of an engaging and informative session.

Andy Kazim

Andy Kazim is the Youth Practice Consultant for AnglicareWA and the Project Manager for the Home Stretch WA Trial, drawing on his extensive professional experience as a youth worker to guide the design and establishment of services for young people. He has been involved in the development of several innovative services including Foyer Oxford, headspace Pilbara, Momentum QP, and is currently leading the Home Stretch Trial in Western Australia in collaboration with the Department of Communities. Andy is a board member of the Youth Legal Service of WA and serves and the Co-Chair to the National Youth Housing Coalition (NYCH).

Andy is passionately committed to developing better support systems for young people,  ensuring their voices and experiences are elevated into service and system design.

Danny Henderson

Danny Henderson has worked in residential services for young people since 1994, in various roles. He is currently a Senior Operations Manager with Care Visions, an independent provider of residential foster care placements in Scotland. He is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Why Not? Trust community of care experienced young people, and an advocate of continuing relationships between young people who have moved on from care settings and former professional carers.

Teena Ingram

Teena is the North Qld Regional Director with Life Without Barriers Child, Youth and Family programs. She has been in this role for just over one year. Teena represents LWB on the Qld Home Stretch Committee and took on co-chair responsibility with the CREATE foundation in late 2020. With many years experience in the Qld government working across policing, corrective services and child protection, Teena’s passion is working with children and families to enable the best outcomes possible for those who connect with the child protection system. She is an avid supporter and advocate for extending care to the age of 21 years in Queensland and across Australia.

Mark Glasson

Mark is Chief Executive Officer of Anglicare WA.

Mark has over twenty five years’ experience across a range of human services which includes service delivery to families and children, community development, public policy and services to offenders.  He has held senior executive positions for the Government of Western Australia and also worked in Local Government and community organisations.

Mark joined Anglicare WA in October 2013 and until his appointment as Chief Executive Officer in March 2019, held responsibility for service delivery across Western Australia.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of New South Wales, a Graduate Diploma in Media Studies from Edith Cowan University and is a GAICD. Mark has been the Chairperson of Shelter WA 2015-19 and is the Co-convenor of the Home Stretch WA Campaign, a member of the Ending Homelessness WA Alliance and Board Member of Homelessness Australia.

Leticia Quince

Leticia Quince, 24 of Beresfield is a proud Wiradjuri who uses her resilience build from her childhood trauma and growing up in foster care to transform not only her life, but the lives of other children and young people. During her time growing up in the Dubbo community, she embraced all the leaderships offered her way, and worked as a Youth Development Coach for Uniting’s Extended Care Program Pilot, as a Youth Homelessness Caseworker, dance teacher and cultural mentor. In February 2021, Leticia changed her career pathway to embrace her Branding & Graphic Design business supporting Aboriginal small businesses and community organisations. She still continues to advocate and mentor within community and for the rights of children and young people in out-of-home care as a Young Consultant for Department of Communities & Justice UCChange, Create Foundation and AbSec.

Pete Zwiers

Pete is Head of Programs at Kids Under Cover.

Pete joined Kids Under Cover in November 2017 overseeing the end-to-end delivery of the Studio and Scholarship Programs and innovations such as Village 21. Spending more than 10 years in the not-for-profit sector and with a background in program management, Pete has a real passion for affecting positive social change through the betterment of physical environment and improved living conditions.

Tarrah Watt

Tarrah is a nineteen-year-old on a journey out of foster care towards independence. She is proud to be the first person in her family to complete Year 12, and is now a student studying a Certificate III at Sydney Make Up & Beauty School.

Tom McClean

Dr Tom McClean is Research and Social Policy Program Head at Uniting.

Dr McClean leads evaluations of Uniting’s practices and services, research into aspects of disadvantage and vulnerability, and social policy analysis. Though this, his team informs practice improvement, the development of new services, and system change. Dr McClean’s team led development of the “Extended Care” model which Uniting is currently piloting, and is managing the independent evaluation being conducted by Nous.

Prior to joining Uniting, Dr McClean worked in evaluation, policy and investigation roles in the NSW Government, and in the financial sector in London. He holds a PhD from the London School of Economics, and his personal academic research interests involve social research methods and the role of information in governance of large organisations.

Mathew Pearson

Matt graduated from RMIT and joined Anglicare Victoria in 2012 and has worked across a broad range of programs, specialising in Out of Home Care. Programs include, Residential Care, Lead Tenant, Juvenile justice and of most recent Team Leader of COMPASS.

Matt has a diverse knowledge and skill base in supporting young people within the statutory care system and in the leaving care domain as well. Matt has a passion for supporting young people from Residential Care into sustainable long term housing and independent living. Matt is also a strong voice & advocate for First nation’s people in Australia.

Jason Juretic

Jason Juretic is the CEO of the award-winning non-profit Stepping Stone House which provides accommodation and personal development for young people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness so they can achieve independence and are inspired to become the very best they can be.

Jason has enjoyed a very varied career, starting his working life as a pilot in the United Kingdom Royal Air Force, he then moved into security and counter terrorism roles as an officer before leaving the military to take on management and executive leadership roles in the travel, transport, IT and supply chain industries. Jason has dedicated over 25 years in both volunteer and professional roles to developing, mentoring and supporting disadvantaged children and youth to become the very best they can be. His unique approach to empowerment is characterised by the use of measureable goals and outcomes which foster a sense of achievement and self-belief in those he supports.

Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart is a Director at Nous Group. Michael is an experienced evaluator and strategic advisor with extensive experience in health and sustainable development, and a particular interest in improving health and social outcomes for vulnerable and marginalised communities. Prior to joining Nous, Michael worked for the United Nations and the Ministry and Population of Nepal, as well as in health research roles in Australia.

Michael’s experience includes:

  • Managing a four-year longitudinal evaluation for the federal Department of Health investigating the impact and cost-effectiveness of PHN-led programs to support those living with neurological conditions in regional, rural and remote areas.
  • Undertaking a process, outcomes and economic evaluation of the implementation a framework to better integrate services that support people experiencing violence, abuse and neglect.
  • Developed an evaluation strategy and operating model for the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (now NSW Department of Communities and Justice).



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Every child deserves to be supported into adulthood – extending out of home care until the age of 21 will give thousands of young people the additional guidance they need to have a real shot at life.


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