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SA Social Worker of the Year Awards 2019 Judges

SA Social Worker of the Year Awards 2019 Judges

The AASW SA wishes to thank the panel of judges for lending their support and expertise to the SA Social Worker of the Year Awards program.

The judging panel constitutes worthy social work knowledgeable South Australians from external agencies or the alumni of the profession. The judging panel's selection of winners from the field of nominees, as provided in the nomination forms, will be based upon their independent consideration.  The judges decisions will be final.  

The 2019 Awards jury panel so far includes the following representatives:

Kathy Binks

Kathy Binks is Head of Community Aged Care at AnglicareSA supporting older South Australians to live independently and well in their own home.  Passionate about the community Kathy has worked within the Not for Profit sector for 15  years in fields including homelessness, financial literacy, community legal, family relationships, energy efficiency and suicide prevention. 

Kathy is an experienced senior manager with specific skills in building relationships, developing teams and strategic thinking.  She is known for her calm, supportive leadership style assisting her team to reach their full potential.  Kathy’s background includes outdoor and environmental education.  She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Graduate Certificate in Management.



Dr Catherine Earl

Catherine studied social work as a post-graduate at Flinders University building on her academic interests in gender and labour studies and her work experience in local council social services. After graduation, Catherine worked for a short time in youth services before winning an industry scholarship to study her PhD at the University of South Australia. Catherine now combines her interests in social change and community services with her research and advocacy skills at the South Australian Council of Social Service where she is a Senior Policy, Advocacy and Community Engagement Officer.



Mary Freer

Mary Freer has held leadership positions with national government and not for profit health care  and social welfare services, including women’s and community health services, healthdirect Australia, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in South Australia, Health Workforce Australia and now as a freelance social change maker at Freerthinking and the Executive Producer of Compassion Revolution.

Mary is a coach for Seth Godin’s altMBA and is right at home coaching Leaders, Creatives, Entrepreneurs, CEOs and Founders across the globe.

Mary is a TEDx speaker and in 2016 she was awarded an inaugural Westpac Bicentennial Social Change Fellowship. This prestigious fellowship enabled Mary to travel throughout Europe, UK and the USA in 2016 to meet with social innovators and leaders who are building a more compassionate world.



Colleen Hogan

Colleen has worked in the superannuation industry for over 30 years, the last eight as a Client Relationship Manager at HESTA, the national fund for health and community services. During her time in the industry she has worked for the SA Government administering Public Sector Superannuation and in the Private Sector administering large corporate and retail superannuation funds. By far she has found the last 18 years, working in relationship management in the profit-to-member superannuation sector, to be the most rewarding.



Mary Hood

Mary Hood has worked in a private practice as an AMHSW for 10 plus years from 2006. Mary has presented “working as a social worker in private practice”. Mary has also supervised SW students whose projects have been on the new funding arrangements and business models to access these.



Dr Sue King

Dr Sue King is a social worker and former Discipline Head, Social Work and Human Services at the University of South Australia.  Sue’s research and writing focuses on the impact of social policy on the delivery of human services, the governance of human service organisations and the conceptualisation of workers.

Sue is the Chair of Uniting Communities Inc.  With over 1,500 employee and volunteers, Uniting Communities supports and engages with more than 20,000 South Australians across metropolitan and regional South Australia through more than 90 community service programs. Uniting Communities recognise that people of all ages and backgrounds will come across challenges in their life and offer professional and non-judgmental support for individuals and families.  An important aspect of Uniting Communities work is a focus on social policy and advocacy.



Sue MacDonald

Sue Macdonald is the Director, Office of the Chief Executive, Department for Child Protection (DCP).  Sue graduated in Social Work with Honours from the University of South Australia in 1992, and began working for DCP (formally known as Family and Community Services (FACS)) in a variety of areas. 

In 1996, Sue joined the Child Protection Service (CPS), Flinders Medical Centre, initially as a Clinician and was responsible for providing specialist assessment and therapeutic services to infants, children young people, and their families where child abuse and neglect was a prominent feature of their lives. 

Sue’s career at CPS spanned 17 years, and included management roles as the Clinical Services Coordinator and Director, CPS; a critical function of this role was close interagency collaboration with other government and non-government organisations responsible for responding to child abuse within South Australia.

Sue returned to DCP in 2014, as Principal Practitioner, a role that lead the development of quality assurance processes within DCP including delivering services to children and their families to a high standard.  Sue was Director Southern Region prior to her current appointment.

Since 2014, Sue has been a well-respected member of the Parole Board of South Australia providing extensive child protection knowledge.

Sue has remained passionate about child protection across the course of her career with a particular interest in staff growth and development.



Mark McCarthy (Social Work Qualified) is currently manager of the WCH social work service. Previous social work roles include: manager and clinical leadership roles in CaFHS - Allied health, Neighbourhood worker for the Catholic Archidocese of SA, Gambling Counsellor, Relationship counsellor, Parent Educator Relationship Australia, staff counsellor for ITIM. Areas of interest include: client centred human services, change management, attachment theory and its therapeutic applications, engaging fathers and men, social work professional role in 21st century settings.



Keith Miller 

Keith's adult life has been involved in the human services' field in varying capacities. Prior to commencing at Flinders University, he was employed in a range of roles as a social worker. These included child protection with the South Australian Department of Human Services and later as a project officer with Uniting Care Wesley and involved with Lifeline, a telephone counselling service. He was then employed by the Murray Mallee General Practice Network, based in rural South Australia. This is an association of medical practitioners which is also involved in providing services to the community. In this role, he was involved in developing and implementing a suicide prevention service with health practitioners. Along with this, he was active in the planning and provision of mental health services in a rural area. Another activity was to develop a sustainable mental health support network for farmers in the area.

Keith commenced as an academic at Flinders University in mid-2006 and continues to be deeply committed to the wellbeing of citizens. Keith’s areas of interest include mental health and suicide, Indigenous issues, rural men, and working with practitioners in agencies to develop their capacity for research. In this final area, he conducts training and support for professionals in agencies to develop their capacity for research within their agencies.



Jessica Pellegrino

Jessica Pellegrino is a social worker who has worked in the Department of Child Protection for the past 14 years. She currently works as the Social Work Field Education Coordinator within the agency’s Practice Development area. Jessica has been involved in developing a program for Social Work Students to guide them through their placement within DCP, which includes regular reflective practice sessions and training.  



Tracy Rigney 

Tracy is a proud Narungga woman who has had a long career in the child protection field and worked extensively with children, families, Aboriginal Communities and non-Aboriginal Department for Child Protection employees to improve better outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people who are exposed to abuse and neglect. Tracy’s work has not only included direct work with children and carers, but she has also been influential in creating broader strategic direction and policies within the Department for Child Protection and with non-government stakeholders, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal services.



Maria Scicchitano is a  Senior Social Worker and Consultant Family Therapist. She is currently Department Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine, CAMHS, WCH. Maria is also a sessional tutor, lecturer and supervisor at Unisa and has a private practise where she provides therapy, and supervision .

Maria’s career ( over the last 38 years) has been in the field of child, adolescent and family mental health. She is a dedicated therapist, teacher, mentor and supervisor.  Maria has held management positions and more recently has moved into this space, providing leadership to her team at a time of change.

Maria believes in the provision of quality Social Work services to clients and the advancement of the profession through planned, ongoing  professional development, good  supervision and reflective practise and scholarly endeavour.



Renae Summers

Renae Summers is a Lecturer in the School of Psychology, Social Work & Social Policy at UniSA. Her PhD research explored young African refugees' experiences in South Australia. She has primarily worked in refugee resettlement. Renae has also worked in community health, palliative care and alternative care.



The South Australian Department of Health and Wellbeing (DHW) appointed Catherine Turnbull as its new Chief Allied Health Advisor in late 2006. Since this time Catherine has held, within SA Health, the positions of A/Director Clinical Systems, A/Director Safety and Quality, Transforming Health Education Lead and SA Health Education Lead. Catherine now leads four teams focused on improving systems for students and staff within SA Health to ensure best practice care is provided to consumers of health care within South Australia.



Details of any changes to the judging panel will be provided.

AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers