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Port Augusta shines at Social Worker Awards

Published: 10 May 2019

Port Augusta practitioners stole the show at this year's Social Worker of the Year Awards.

Tara Blaikie, Emma Drummond and Verity Paterson took out three of the six categories for demonstrating excellence in their field.

The Awards were an opportunity to celebrate and pay tribute to the tireless commitment that many qualified South Australian social workers provide in their often challenging and complex work.

Australian Association of Social Workers South Australian Branch President Patricia Muncey commended the winners.

"The South Australian Social Worker of the Year Awards reflect the collaborative efforts of nominees and their commitment to the values of social work," she said.

"This year's winners highlight the breadth and depth of social work practice across South Australia. We are proud to recognise social workers who are at different stages of their careers from student to advanced practitioner."

Country Health SA Deputy CEO Eyre and Far North Region Verity Paterson won the prestigious Agent of Change Award, paying tribute to her illustrious career in rural South Australia.

This award recognises the outstanding contribution by a social worker who makes a transformative difference through organisational or system change to individuals, families or communities.

"I'm really proud to have worked the majority of my 30 year career in Port Augusta in a range of different roles and I think the country locations provide an outstanding opportunity for social workers ... the awards the three of us received have really recognised what can be achieved," she said.

"It's recognition of the calibre of social work staff, or social work clinicians that we get in Port Augusta."

After embarking on a career with the Department of Child Protection nearly two years ago, Emma Drummond took home the Rising Star award.

Ms Drummond was commended for applying high levels of cultural responsiveness in her delivery of child protection services.

"This commitment has grown since working in Port Augusta and I am so grateful that I am immersed within a strong community that advocates strongly for positive outcomes for children in care," she said.

"I was absolutely honoured to win the Rising Star award as I undertake this work because I deeply care about making a change and positive impact on children's lives every day, not for public recognition of this."

Like Ms Drummond, Tara Blaikie works with the Department of Child Protection as the Acting Principal Social Worker in the Far North Far West Region.

Ms Blaikie won the Rural and Remote Impact Award for using her knowledge of local communities and social work values to achieve positive outcomes for children in the Far North region.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers