ACT Branch Management Committee
Jessica Russ-Smith (she/her) is a Wiradyuri Wambuul woman, Senior Lecturer/Academic Developer Indigenous Curriculum at Australian Catholic University, President of the AASW ACT Branch Management Committee, PhD Scholar in the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at Charles Sturt University and a Social Worker.
Jess has taught within Bachelor and Masters Social Work programs at UNSW and ACU and a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the School of Indigenous Australian Studies at CSU. Jess’ research relates to Indigenous sovereignty, embodying sovereignty, decolonisation, decolonising social work and education, Indigenous social work, ethics, activism, working with Aboriginal children and young people, Positive Behaviour Support Plans and experiences of Indigenous researchers. Her passion and focus is on creating decolonising and critical learning spaces for students, staff and practitioners which honour and are guided by Indigenous knowledges and support critical practice in the field.
Jess is passionate about supporting and further building the ACT and National social work community. Jess is a proud member of the ACT Branch Management Committee and especially enjoys opportunities to learn alongside fellow social workers and support the needs and interests of the social work community.
Branch Vice President
Candice is an Accredited Senior Social Worker for Canberra Health Services, and has recently accepted the appointment as Principal Social Worker for the Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol and Drug Services Division of CHS.
After to moving to Canberra in 2016, Candice has focused on delivering evidence-based clinical social work services within several sectors, including forensic mental health, mental health disaster recovery, and providing assessment and therapeutic intervention to mandated participants in Canberra’s ‘drug court’. Candice has also worked for Australia’s peak organisation for mental health, Mental Health Australia, and provided passionate project coordination and management for their lived experiences programs.
Candice is passionate about clinical excellence, evidenced-based practice, and a robust and resilient social work workforce. Candice has recently opened her own private practice, and provides private clinical supervision, coaching and mentoring to social workers with the intention to support them to move through their careers with adaptability and intentionality. Candice is also an active field educator and liaison officer for Australian universities, providing support and education to social work students during their placements.
General Committee Members
Elodie Oxenham has been on the AASW Branch Management Committee since
November 2020. Elodie grew up in Townsville (Nth QLD) and is of Mauritian and French heritage. She has family links in the South Pacific countries of Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Elodie has lived in Canberra since 2015 where she works for the Australian Public Service.
Elodie is particularly interested in ideas and the practice of Social Work and Leadership across all contexts. Elodie would like to build an ACT AASW Branch that supports the Social Work profession in this community.
Jennifer Griffin (she/her) is an accredited social worker and mediator, with experience in frontline and policy roles, and has been a member of the AASW ACT board since 2022. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Social Work and is currently pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Leadership and Management.
After moving to Canberra in 2017, Jennifer has worked for the Community Services Directorate from 2018 to present. In her current role, Jennifer works with the ACT Government to resolve complaints from the ACT public through the use of resolution focused restorative practice, through mediation and conciliation. Jennifer also conducts policy and analysis work, advising both government executives and wider community and providing leadership in collaborative practice.
Jennifer’s vision is for an effective, compassionate and equitable social work practice which supports communities and protects the safety and dignity of all people.
After completing my Bachelors of Social Work at the Australian Catholic University of Canberra in 2005, I began my Social Work career at Woden Community Services. In 2007, I joined the Department of Human Services, then known as Centrelink, and never left.
I have had leadership roles in the implementation of complex social policy including the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure, Income Management and Participation Compliance. I facilitated Social Work engagement and the provision of our expertise into the department’s ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ modernisation of welfare services. More recently, I was the assistant director for external engagement in the National Redress Scheme and responsible for establishing and maintaining collaborative, cross-sectoral relationships to strengthen service delivery. I'm currently a director with the Parliamentary Workplace Support Service, responsible for policy and service delivery,
Through the Branch Management Committee, I aim to facilitate greater social and professional connections amongst Social Workers in the ACT, with a view to identifying and responding to the issues that affect our practice and professional identity.
Dickson has worked with the Northern Territory government, ACT government and NSW Community Services in child protection services as well as with the Australian Red Cross as team leader of the Migration Support Program; Marist180 as a Program Coordinator for ACT managing the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Program; Catholiccare as Case Manager for the New Arrival Humanitarian Program; and Migrant Resource Centre Inc. Dickson was also the Chief Executive Officer of FECAA. Across these positions, Dickson has been working with clients from different cultural backgrounds, including working with refugees and asylum seekers. Dickson is currently working as a caseworker and training facilitator with Uniting NSW ACT.
Dickson's passion is for promoting social justice policy and human rights advocacy. He also loves doing research on mental health across cultures and the cultural interpretation of mental health illness. Dickson has a personal interest in the advancement of technology. Dickson is a reflective and creative thinker. Dickson is not a popular thinker. He believes in thinking outside the popular culture.
Dickson is a member of the AASW ACT Branch Management Committee. Dickson is also a cultural and independent consultant during his private time.
Dickson holds a Bachelor of Arts with majors in Public Policy, Political Sciences (University of Tasmania), a Master of Politics and Policy (Deakin University Melbourne Australia ); a Master of Public Health (Deakin University Melbourne Australia); and a Master of Social Work (Charles Stuart University Wagga Wagga NSW).
Rosy Winter has been a member of the ACT AASW Branch Management Committee for two years. Rosy studied Social Work at the University of NSW and moved to Canberra towards the end of her studies. Since graduating Rosy has been working in Canberra public health care for over 30 years. Her current role is the Director of Allied Health in Mental Health, Justice Health, Alcohol & Drug Services at Canberra Health Services.
Rosy is strong believer in the role that social workers can play in shaping health care services of the future. Engaging in research, collaborating, taking up leadership positions and promoting the values of the Social Work profession will bring about a more compassionate health care service where the holistic needs of unwell and injured people and their carers are attended to.
Rosy enjoys the networking, collaboration and sense of community that being a member of the ACT Branch brings as well as the opportunity to contribute to change.
Dr. Amelia Wheeler (she/her) is a Lecturer in Social Work at the Australian Catholic University, Course Coordinator for the Bachelor of Social Work program in Canberra and has been a Member of the ACT AASW Branch Management Committee since February 2021.
Amelia has worked in the fields of child welfare, domestic and family violence and family law and continues to undertake research in these areas. Amelia is a passionate educator who has been teaching social work students across BSW and MSW programs for eleven years. Amelia undertakes research related to gender-based violence, the inclusion of children and young people in social services, decolonising social work practice and the use of ethics in everyday professional life. Amelia envisions a passionate, inclusive learning community of ACT social workers and social work students and appreciates the opportunity to connect with colleagues through the AASW BMC.
Mikaela (she/her) is the Manager, Student Wellbeing and Support at the University of Canberra, Ngunnawal Country.
Mikaela has over 10 years experience managing education, wellbeing, arts and community engagement programs and events across Australia and in the UK. Mikaela is passionate about social, educational and environmental justice and is informed by these values in her social work practice.
In her current role, Mikaela is committed to ensuring equitable access to and opportunities for success in higher education, and works to ensure that all students can access meaningful, holistic and inclusive support in a safe and enabling way.
Jaimie Barry (she/her) is in her final year of her Master of Social Work at the Australian Catholic University. She holds a Bachelor of Behavioural Studies - Psychology (Swinburne University of Technology). Jaimie is an emerging critical feminist social worker with a strong interest in social work research. Jaimie currently works as a social work Research Assistant at Charles Darwin University, with a strong focus on decolonising social work, community development and cultural safety. Jaimie has a strong interest in gender-based violence, and advocating for social justice and human rights, particularly in the legal systems.
As a student social worker, Jaimie is passionate about supporting other students. She has mentored International BSW students and is excited to represent her colleagues as a student member of the ACT AASW BMC.