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Acting on their words

Statement by the Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare Today the Commission for Children and Young People released...

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About us

The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare: Victoria’s peak body for Child and Family Services

The Centre provides sector training, is a policy and ideas hub, and facilitates and publishes research. We advocate for the rights of children, young people and families to be heard, to be safe, to access education and to remain connected to family, community and culture.

Image of the Aboriginal flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag and the rainbow flag

The Centre acknowledges that our offices sit on the traditional land of the Kulin Nation and we acknowledge the Wurundjeri people who are the traditional custodians of this land. We pay respects to community members and elders past and present. We appreciate and celebrate diversity in all its forms. We believe diversity of all kinds makes our teams, services and organisation stronger and more effective.

For over 100 years, the Centre has advanced the rights and wellbeing of children, young people and families in Victoria. We advocate for the rights of children and young people to be heard, to be safe, to access education and to remain connected to family, community and culture.

We represent over 100 Victorian organisations working across the continuum of child and family services, from prevention and early intervention to the provision of out of home care. Our members are at the forefront of supporting children, young people and families.​​

Our vision

  • To be a leader in public discourse on upholding the best interests of all Victorian children
  • To be a contemporary and relevant training provider for the child and family services industry
  • To be the leading voice for evidence-based practice in the child and family services field
  • To be an ideas and research incubator
  • To be the first point of call for our members seeking representation and advocacy

Our values

  • Analysis and reflection: we test knowledge and ideas based on evidence, research and best practice
  • Ethical decision-making: we handle information with care and confidence, and we evaluate and make choices based on ethical principles
  • Creativity: we are willing to do things differently and try new approaches, and we encourage creative thought
  • Collaboration: we share knowledge, time, information and skills, and seek the input and involvement of our members and other organisations in the sector

Our purpose

  • Policy and ideas: Develop, influence and advocate for public policies that advance the rights and wellbeing of children, young people and families and address the social, economic and cultural barriers to improving their lives.
  • Research and practice: Lead and share research to support innovation and evidence-informed practice.
  • Capacity building: Strengthen the capacity of organisations to provide services that best suit the needs of vulnerable families and children.

Board Chair

Paul McDonald

Board Chair

Chief Executive Officer,
Anglicare Victoria

Independent Expert Member

Greg Levine

Independent Expert Member

OAM, Reserve Magistrate

Board Members

Silvia Alberti

General Manager, West Victoria & Tasmania Uniting​

Andrew Bruun

Chief Executive Officer,
YSAS — Youth Support and Advocacy Service

Teresa Jayet

Chief Executive Officer
Mallee Family Care

Michael Perusco

Chief Executive Officer,
Berry Street


Graham Boal

Director of Finance and Business Services,
Mackillop Family Services

Lisa Griffiths

Chief Executive Officer,

Allan Joy

Chief Executive Officer,
Child and Family Services Ballarat

Sue White

Chief Executive Officer,
Queen Elizabeth Centre

Annual Reports

If you would like to see Annual Reports from previous years, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Financial Reports

Education Guide for Carers of Children Living in Out-of-Home Care

Fostering a love of learning and having high educational expectations and aspirations for all children and young people is vital. Actively supporting their learning, development and education will help to prepare and position them for a fulfilling, rewarding and positive life. This guide provides carers with information about the supports and services to assist them and the children in their care to be connected and engaged in their education and to know where to go to get the support they need when they need it.

The Centre acknowledges the contribution of the Department of Education and Training in developing this guide and input from carer agencies and the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc.

*Please note, the hyperlinks in this guide are correct at the time of publication. If you find a broken link, search the key words in your search engine, or via the Department of Education and Training website.

Child and Family Services Industry Plan 2018-2021

After extensive consultation with the child and family services sector, the Centre proudly launched its four-year Industry Plan in 2018.

The plan is intended to guide the sector’s transition from a service system focused on crisis response to one characterised by early intervention, evidence-informed practice and a more seamless response to meeting the needs of children, young people and families who are disadvantaged or experiencing vulnerability.

It outlines how as a sector we can continue to provide all children in Victoria with the best possible start in life, support our young people to remain engaged in learning and connected to family and community, and provide our families with the necessary supports and services to create safe and nurturing home environments where all family members can develop and thrive.

Reconciliation Action Plan

The Centre proudly launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2017 on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We were assisted by Commissioner for Children and Young People Andrew Jackomos.

The RAP is the next step in our commitment to reconciliation, looking towards a vision where all Aboriginal children in Victoria grow up safe, thriving, and connected to family, community and country.

We hope that our commitment to a Reconciliation Action Plan might inspire other organisations to get on board. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to chat about the process and goals.

State Budget Priorities

State Budget Priorities

If you would like to see State Budget Submissions from previous years, feel free to get in touch.

Beyond Good Intentions

The purpose of the Beyond Good Intentions statement is to drive collaboration and reform to create a fair, just, and restorative child and family welfare service system for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The statement was formally endorsed in October 2015 by the Victorian Aboriginal Children’s Forum, including the Victorian Minister for Families for Families and Children.

An implementation working group was established to transform service delivery for Aboriginal children and families to move beyond good intentions to better outcomes.

This group includes representatives of government, Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations and mainstream agencies.


About the Centre

The Centre is the peak body for child and family services in Victoria with over 150 organisations, students and individuals as members.

We provide public policy and program advice, deliver sector training, facilitate and publish research, advocate for positive reform and work with our member agencies to make sure children and families have access to the services and support they need. We also provide consultancy services for the child and family services sector, which include developing frameworks, writing research-informed practice manuals, developing tools and resources, designing and delivering targeted training, working closely with community service organisations, local government and state government departments to build workforce capability. We run regular forums across a range of policy and practice areas to capture the views of child and family services organisations and their clients and manage various projects designed to improve practice in the sector.

We are committed to achieving a diverse workforce and we strongly encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Current Opportunities at the Centre:

Experienced Trainers/Assessors

  • Be responsible for the development, assessment and delivery of the Accredited training with strong focus on the RCLDS – Beginning Practice training as well as related non accredited short courses and the relevant administration and academic care associated with the enrolled students.
  • The successful candidates must have a relevant industry qualification demonstrating sound vocational competence at a level equivalent to the qualifications to be taught. Degree qualifications would be well regarded.

Click here to view the full Position Description, or get in touch with Sharon Clerke, Learning & Development Manager, to apply on 03 9094 3517 or at sharon.clerke@cfecfw.asn.au


To hear more upcoming opportunities within the Centre and the child and family services sector, subscribe to our email newsletter.


Centre CEO Deb Tsorbaris profile photo

Deb Tsorbaris

CEO, The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare

Deb Tsorbaris is CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. The Centre is Victoria’s peak body for child and family services.

The Centre provides sector training, facilitates and publishes research. We also advocate for better transitions for young people leaving state care, and better supports for struggling families.

Deb is Co-Chair of the Victorian Government’s Roadmap for Reform Implementation Ministerial Advisory Group.

Deb has worked in health and community services for over 30 years.

Prior to joining the Centre, Deb was CEO of the Victorian Council to Homeless Persons. Deb has also held executive positions at Victoria’s Department of Human Services.

She has extensive knowledge of policy and practice. Deb has provided policy advice to government on a range of issues and has worked across disability, drugs and alcohol, youth services and employment programs.

Deb is a keen advocate for improving the lives of children, young people and families in the areas of child safety, education and health.


Latest news from Deb

On the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: It is not enough to say this can never happen again

We have a duty to not only protect and care for young people and children, but to ensure that they are heard. The stories of the survivors are no longer secret.

On Marriage Equality: We say YES

Our member organisations work directly with the LGBTIQ community, and the research shows that LGBTIQ young people are one of the most marginalised groups in Australia.

On renewed support for carers in the workplace

We hope to see more organisations in both the corporate and non-corporate sectors follow in the footsteps of PwC, to relieve financial and personal pressures and create workplaces that have respect and empathy for families of all shapes and sizes.


Contact Deb

Email: deb.tsorbaris@cfecfw.asn.au

Phone: (03) 9094 3518

Annual Events and Forums

The Centre holds events each year to support the sector, carers, and young people who are in or have been in out-of-home care in Victoria

Open Symposium

The annual OPEN (Outcomes Practice Evidence Network) Symposium was held on Friday 18 October 2019 at the Arts Centre in Melbourne.

The theme of the 2019 Symposium was The Voices that Matter.

As we strive to build the evidence base and strengthen practice across child, youth and family services it is vital that the voices that matter- the voices of children, young people and families – are prioritised. This year we encourage you to explore how you are doing this successfully across partnerships and programs, as well as sharing the challenges you have tackled and the learning you have gained.

To know more, visit the OPEN Portal, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and sign up to our newsletter here.

Debutante Ball

The Centre was very proud to be the home of the Deb Ball for young people in out of home care. This year’s Debutante Ball was held on Friday 20 September 2019, at the Melbourne Town Hall.

If you would like to view photos from the Deb Ball, or find out more. 


Resi Rocks is an annual opportunity to bring together residential care workers from across the state as a professional group to promote and cultivate a culture of learning and innovation, sharing knowledge, ideas and practice excellence.

The 2019 Resi Rocks was held in June at the MCG – and it was a fantastic day. Check back in early 2020 to find out about our next event for the residential care workforce.  

Resi ROCKS 2019 Attendees
OPEN Symposium 2019 Attendees
Debutantes 2019

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