Child and Family Focus SA (CAFFSA) is the South Australian peak body representing the needs and interests of children, young people and families connected with or at risk of entering the child protection system, and the not-for-profit, non-government organisations who support them.

Our Mission 

Our mission is to collaborate, advocate, and promote innovation. We empower child and family agencies to share innovative solutions and advocate for the highest standards of care, whilst insisting on the strong early intervention focus required to build a resilient foundation for the well-being of South Australian children and families.

Our Purpose

Dedicated to nurturing a secure and supportive community, CAFFSA champions the needs of South Australian children, young people, families, and the non-government, not-for-profit organisations that support them.

To do this, we are committed to strengthening South Australian child and family agencies, fostering collaboration, and advocating for excellence in service provision.

News and Events 


Child and Family Focus SA support for SNAICC's statement re a Royal Commission into sexual abuse of Aboriginal children

October 19, 2023 – CAFFSA strongly supports the National Voice for Aboriginal Children, SNAICC’s statement below:

Child abuse is a serious crime, which has a devastating impact on children, family and communities. It should not be politicised or used as a platform to advance a political position.

It is frustrating and disappointing to hear the Opposition Leader and Senator Price repeating the same claims and calls they made earlier this year, again with no evidence and no credible solutions.

If any politician, or anyone at all, has any evidence about the sexual abuse of children then they must report it to the authorities.

These calls for a Royal Commission into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children have been made without one shred of real evidence being presented. They play into the basest negative perceptions of some people about Aboriginal people and communities.

In April this year, the Australian Child Maltreatment Study revealed the majority of Australians (62 per cent) have experienced at least one type of child abuse or neglect, with domestic violence, physical, emotional or sexual abuse the most common.

Child abuse is far too prevalent in Australia.

Singling out Aboriginal families and communities is harmful and puts ideology before evidence. The evidence and the solutions are very clear.

There have been more than 33 reports on child protection since the Bringing Them Home Report in 1997.

SNAICC produces an annual report, Family Matters, and has done so for many years which details the evidence-based solutions that will enable our children to grow up safe, loved and protected. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations have developed these solutions.

They prioritise Investment in effective, culturally safe supports for families and children before they reach crisis point, through Aboriginal community-controlled services.

The most effective and immediate action the Government can take to make children safe and protect their human rights is to stand up as a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Commissioner, with the legislated power to investigate and make recommendations on issues impacting our children.

This will be more effective and more powerful than any Royal Commission.

We have been calling for a National Commissioner for many years. We now call for bipartisan support to make this happen.

Child and Family Focus SA Acknowledges that the Referendum has not Delivered Support for the Voice Campaign

October 17, 2023 – Although the outcome is not what many, including CAFFSA, had hoped for, we are committed to strengthening our ability to move forward as a good ally to the Aboriginal communities of South Australia.

We agree with Reconciliation South Australia CEO Jason Downs in his acknowledgement that this campaign has raised many issues across the country.

The heart of this referendum has been about equity and unity and we all need to find a way forward with respect and love.

“Reconciliation is not defined by a single vote, but by the collective efforts and actions of our entire nation. While the referendum result is disappointing, it is not the end of our journey. Reconciliation South Australia will continue to work tirelessly to promote understanding, awareness and positive change. The referendum result, while disheartening, does not diminish the importance of reconciliation in Australia.”

CAFFSA remains dedicated to the principles of the Uluru Statement from the Heart as well as justice, equity and unity for all Australians and is determined to work towards a future where reconciliation is a reality.

In this vein, we will work on our Reconciliation Action Plan to ensure we play our part in making these principles a reality for Aboriginal children, families and communities in South Australia.

Embracing Over 65,000 Years of First Nations Custodianship: A Call for Constitutional Recognition

October 4, 2023 – CAFFSA joins Families Australia in celebrating more than 65,000 years of custodianship and connection to lands and sea country of First Nations people. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Country throughout Australia and pay our respects to Elders and Ancestors.

For millennials, First Nations people and communities have been nurturing children and young people through lore, kinship systems and the powerful cultural role of Elders. European settlement in Australia profoundly disrupted the cultural, spiritual and physical connection between Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country and their land, water and community.

The 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart is a national Indigenous consensus position on Indigenous constitutional recognition, developed through a convention of over 250 First Nations delegates. The Statement calls for the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ to be codified and enshrined in the Australian Constitution. A Voice to Parliament will provide a formal mechanism to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a direct say and provide advice to the government on legislation and policies that affect them.

Giving the Australian Government – all of us – the opportunity to make policies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rather than for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, a consultative process that will deliver meaningful structural change. The well-being of First Nations families, children and young people is fundamental to the health and prosperity of this country.

Enshrining a Voice to Parliament is a way to deliver fair, practical change for First Nations people and communities. As a part of Australia’s reconciliation journey, it is a foundational element of Voice – Treaty – Truth.

CAFFSA Board Member Linley Shine voted Mayor of Port Augusta

Port Augusta’s new Elected Members have been officially sworn in and are looking forward to ensuring the city fully capitalises on their future vision, strong connection, and leadership capabilities.

Linley Shine was sworn in as Port Augusta’s new Mayor, taking over from Brett Benbow. Nine other elected members were also officially appointed to Port Augusta City Council.

Elected Members returning from the previous council are Louise Foote, John Naisbitt, Sunny Singh, Phillip Brown and Maralyn Marsh. The newly elected members are Sam Bates, Mark Myers, Michael McKinley and Nora Bennett.

Ms Shine had served on the Port Augusta Council for four years prior to successfully being elected as Mayor.

“I am so honoured and privileged to be given this opportunity and am grateful for the support from the Port Augusta community.” Mayor Shine stated. “We now have some hard work ahead of us, however through constructive, support and collaborative efforts we can, and will, move Port Augusta forward.”

“My long professional career has involved working across both the government and not-for-profit sectors in the areas of corporate governance, social policy, and sound engagement with a diverse range of stakeholders across regional and remote South Australia.”

“I have extensive experience in leadership and representation, and importantly, I walk the talk and strive for excellence and accountability. I will bring a stronger, consultative, community voice to the role of Mayor, and that is what my leadership will focus on.”

Port Augusta CEO John Banks thanked the community for their voting support during this year’s Council election.

CAFFSA Board Member Leanne Haddad appointed Director of Centacare Catholic Family Services.

Managers Development Forum and Commissioning Ceremony 2022

Managers Development Forum and Commissioning Ceremony 2022

Child protection and family support services specialist Leanne Haddad has been appointed Director of Centacare Catholic Family Services.
Archbishop of Adelaide Patrick O’Regan today announced Leanne will commence in the new role on January 3, 2023.

A mother-of-three, Leanne has for the last year been Deputy Director, providing leadership, corporate and service delivery support to Director Pauline Connelly. Pauline assumed the role after the retirement of longtime director Dale West in early 2021.  After guiding Centacare through a period of significant change, Pauline has chosen to return to her substantive position of Deputy Director.

Leanne said together they will continue to lead in partnership and shape service growth in-line with community need and informed by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. “I have been very fortunate to have been mentored firstly by Dale and most recently Pauline who is extremely giving with her knowledge and has a genuine commitment to developing other leaders,’’ Leanne said. “I will continue to build on the solid foundation and history they have created and embrace this opportunity with energy and heart for Centacare, and an ongoing commitment to learning. “The Catholic Social Teaching principles align with those of grassroots social work which is where I began my career. “My 26 years in community and social services has provided me with the privilege of working with vulnerable children, young people and families, and I will carry the lessons they’ve taught me into this role.’’

Leanne has worked in both government and non-government services across operational child protection positions, policy and planning, learning and development, contract management, service design, leadership and executive roles. Leanne joined Centacare in 2017 as Executive Manager of Children’s Services and turned at-risk contracts into highly successful programs which exceeded key performance indicators and outcomes, and increased service scope and funding.
In recent years, she has established therapeutic family support services and led numerous child protection initiatives and successful tenders, including the $20.7 million RESTORE Intensive Family Services – the largest service of its kind in South Australia. Through commitment and strategic planning, Leanne helped grow Centacare Foster Care from a handful of carers into one of the state’s leading providers of in-care support for children aged 0 to 18 years. This year, Leanne has led Centacare’s corporate restructure and administration review to implement staffing and program efficiencies.

Chair of Centacare’s Child Protection Committee, Leanne is a Compass Catholic Community School Advisory Board member and board secretary of Child and Family Focus SA, the peak Body for NGOs that support community services for vulnerable families and individuals.
Centacare supports more than 20,000 people annually across 67 services and 31 sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia. “Centacare is a vital part of the local Church’s mission and commitment to serving the marginalised in our community,” Archbishop O’Regan said. “I thank Pauline for her dedication and professionalism as both director and in her previous roles, and I look forward to working with Leanne when she takes up her new position next year.”

In welcoming Leanne to the role of Director, Pauline said it had been an “enormous privilege” to lead Centacare for the past 18 months. “Leanne and the Executive Managers have been an amazing support to me; there is a wonderful sense of team that we experience at Centacare, something I think is forged on common values along with a shared belief in what we are doing and where we are going,’’ she said.

“I look forward to that same experience next year, along with the time and space to focus more on some of the things I did previously as Deputy.”

“We have much to look forward to together, in the knowledge that the most important role for us all is that of providing a service for our clients, so that in the end, they are the beneficiaries of everything we do.”

South Australian Child Protection Awards

CAFFSA was a proud sponsor of the Outstanding Service Award – Non-government organisations for the 2022 Child Protection Awards. Life Without Barrier’s MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ Program Team won the award, with the Child and Family Wellbeing Service of the NPY Women’s Council and Centacare Catholic Family Services’ Breathing Space the other finalists.

The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of children and young people, carers, volunteers, staff and organisations from across the child protection sector. Delivered by the Department for Child Protection (DCP) in partnership with the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN) the event received 299 nominations across the 11 categories (a 60% increase on last year.) 

Upcoming training and events

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Child and Family Focus SA acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we work, the Kaurna and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging. Sovereignty has never been ceded and this was and always will be Aboriginal land.

We appreciate and celebrate diversity in all its forms. We believe diversity of all kinds makes our teams, services,  organisations and communities stronger and more effective.