I thank the CAFS Board of Governance for its enthusiasm and support, and I acknowledge the great work undertaken by the wonderful CAFS staff and volunteers.
All of the CAFS programs have been aligned with the key pillars of the CAFS Strategic Business Plan. The Board of Governance receives regular reports on the implementation of the strategic business plan.
CAFS continues to respond to the imperatives for improved efficiency, accountability and demonstrable outcomes for children and families. There is, in short, pressure in the welfare sector for a new level of professionalism; as a result, there have been many changes implemented within CAFS. Professional development programs based on training needs are now in place across the organisation and more efficient programs for data collection, analysis and reporting have also been introduced.
Over the past 12 months, CAFS has made significant progress towards ISO 9001 and One DHS accreditation.
In 2013, CAFS became one of the first organisations in Australia to achieve accreditation as a White Ribbon workplace. CAFS is dedicated to the prevention of men’s violence against women. During the past year we have developed our work in this area. Positive results are tremendously important for children and families.
During the year, the review of the senior management team within CAFS was completed. Shane Callahan became General Manager Corporate Services and Christine Harding joined CAFS as General Manager Programs and Services.
Significant operational changes included the following:
- PACT integration – expansion of the problem gambling services into the Grampians region
- DHS funding for the expansion of the Adolescent Violence in the Home program (Step Up) and the 150-year commemoration in 2015
- The Board supported the establishment of the CAFS Innovation Fund. This fantastic initiative enables staff to turn an idea into a program with a business plan and seed funding. There have been several successful examples including the CAFS Survival international film festival, Mini Music Makers and Art Beat.
CAFS is reaching out and re-engaging with the broader community. There are many aspects to this work. One example was the commemoration of 150 years of operations in 2015.
The commemoration included many public events and centred on the development and opening of the CAFS Legacy and Research Centre. This visionary concept involved the redevelopment of the basement of Ludbrook House – an extensive but poorly utilised area of some 600 m² – to incorporate the CAFS heritage services and historical records as well as house a collection of significant artefacts from the former orphanage site.
The new centre includes digital and audio visual displays related to CAFS’ history since 1865, its current operations and its aspirations for the future. It also includes a digital library of life stories of former residents of the Ballarat Orphanage and Children’s Homes. CAFS believes it is very important for individuals to have an opportunity to tell their story, so the new centre will promote its activities in order that former residents and their families will become aware of its existence and how they may contribute if they wish.
Other special events in 2015 included a civic reception, an exhibition at the Gold Museum, the White Ribbon conference, the Survival international film festival, the foster carers’ appreciation dinner and, most importantly, reunions of former residents of the Ballarat Orphanage and Children’s Homes. CAFS also organised to have the Arthur Kenny Memorial Avenue replanted. This memorial avenue recognises the service of 105 young people from the Ballarat Orphanage who fought in the First World War and was re-opened on 3 August 1917 by Major Simone Wilkie.
In 2015, CAFS was also involved in the Ballarat Heritage Weekend, Youth Week, Volunteers Week, Families Week, Refugee Week, NAIDOC week, Homelessness Week, Children’s Week, White Ribbon Day and Responsible Gambling Awareness Week.
Chief Executive Officer