Kelly Walker


Kelly has a bachelor degree in Nursing, Arts (Welfare) and a Master’s degree in Counselling. Kelly has worked in the Health Service for over 20 years across a variety of settings including sexual assault, youth health, child protection, nursing and drug and alcohol. Kelly is currently employed as the Director of Nursing for Drug Health Services, and is working in partnership with Lisa to implement a child aware framework in Drug Health Services. Kelly believes in protecting and nurturing children across all services, particularly in adult based services where children are often the unseen client.


Despite past child protection reforms in NSW, child abuse and neglect remains a problem of high prevalence and incidents for South Western Sydney (SWS). From 2012 to 2014 SWS had an increase of 28% in child protection reporting, 18% increase of the number of children involved in reports and an increase of 9% for children entering in out of home care (OOHC).

Child protection clinical incident data within South Western Sydney Local Health District (SWSLHD) included the following issues in clinical practice; not identifying child protection, inappropriate transfer of care and not reporting child protection concerns.

A Child Safe and Child Aware SWSLHD Framework is being developed utilising the Australian Institute of Family Studies: The good practice guide to Child Aware Approaches: Keeping children safe and well in response to adult focused services not identifying adults as parents and children not being included in care planning or service provision.

The initial phase in the establishment of the framework was the development of a communication and key messages campaign and strategy targeting staff about the need to be child aware and having a shared understanding of the causes and impacts of child abuse and neglect.

The second phase was the development of a Child and Family Sensitive Practice audit tool, and was piloted within SWSLHD Drug Health Service. The audit tool outcome demonstrated the need to increase staff capacity to appropriately respond to families, including a review of all policies and procedures within a Child Safe and Child Aware SWSLHD Framework.

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