Peer Support & Advocacy Team

Our team is currently made up of Peer Support Workers and a Service Manager.

PEER SUPPORT WORKERS

Our peer support workers have their own experiences of child protection and out-of-home (OOHC) systems. They have had children restored to their care. They are a great bunch of people. Each has their own set of stories to tell about their experiences so they are valuable for many different parents. They care a lot about the experiences of other parents and family members and they are great listeners.

Felicity

With experience of having my own three children taken into care, I understand the struggle parents go through when dealing with the child protection system. I turned my life around, improved my relationships with my children and have had two of my children restored to my care. I am dedicated to helping other parents understand child protection and hope to link them with information to make the process easier.

Rach

I am a mother of six children who has experienced the child protection system first hand. I have been through the system and had all my children returned to my sole care. I have seen how isolating and hard the struggle is for parents trying to better themselves and understand and fix the reasons for their children’s removal. It is now my passion to help other parents in this journey and achieve better outcomes for parents and children.

Ange

I am a mother of four children who were returned to the fulltime care of me and my partner after a long struggle. My experiences with both kinship and foster care give me a unique insight to the child welfare system and how to make it better for children, families, and communities. I enjoy being involved in design and delivery of parent and worker co-facilitated workshops aimed at increasing staff and carer knowledge and skill in family inclusion.

Rachel

I am a mother of three children. My oldest two recently returned to my fulltime care after a successful section 90 application. My youngest child has been with me since he was born. I understand the emotional impact of having your children removed. It has given me a strong passion and dedication to help and support other parents, children and families. I use my experiences to educate and empower parents to achieve the best possible outcome.

MANAGER, PEER SUPPORT AND ADVOCACY SERVICE

Lou

I am a social worker. I have been involved with FISH since its early days, originally as an ally to help consolidate FISH workshops for workers and carers and then as a committee member. I am excited to be the manager during establishment of this service. FISH is critically important to ensuring children have relationships with their parents and family during and after their time in care. This is fundamental to children and young people’s identities and wellbeing. I value inclusion of parents and family in planning and decision making about their children’s interests. I am dedicated to developing parents who have moved into leadership and support roles.

Our peer support and advocacy service would not have been possible without the

Parent Peer Support Project (PPSP)

March 2019-October 2020 (read the final report)

Our peer support and advocacy services were made possible by this funded pilot project. The FISH peer support workers started their peer support experiences with that project and now continue them with FISH.

Two other Parent Partners who were part of the PPSP and did a fantastic job were

Shantelle Common and Michael Archer.

The PPSP was supported by many practitioners and agencies in child protection, legal, and broader child and family services, as well as a wonderful, supportive project management team who remain strong FISH allies:

Lynette Stoker was the Project Coordinator and member of the PPSP management team. Lyn has experience and interest in out of home care, child welfare and child-focused practice and she is a casual lecturer at the University of Newcastle. She is also a foundation member of FISH. She has been a practitioner in health and community services, a consultant with non-government organisations, and is interested in exploring early intervention and organisational responses to support better practice.

Jessica Cocks was a founding member of FISH in 2014 and a member of the PPSP management team. She also led the original work, seeking funding for the PPSP from the Law and Justice Foundation NSW. Jessica is a researcher and practitioner in out-of-home care with over 25 years experience. In 2016, Jessica was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research family inclusion initiatives in child welfare (read the report).

Dr Nicola Ross was the Project Manager for PPSP. Nicola is an academic who has practised as a lawyer and social worker, and undertakes sociolegal research. Her experience and research interests encompass child protection, family and criminal law with an emphasis on children’s participation, lawyers’ work with children and family violence. She has previously interviewed lawyers and children about their experiences of family, child protection and criminal proceedings.