Order of Australia Medal 2012 winner Holly Brennan.
Order of Australia Medal 2012 winner Holly Brennan.

Regional Queenslanders take home child protection awards

REGIONAL Queenslanders have swept the state's Child Protection Week awards.

People and organisations from Bundaberg, the Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, Toowoomba, central and far north Queensland were recognised for their contributions to keeping children safe.

Sunshine Coast educator Holly Brennan won the 2015 non-government professional award for her work teaching children about relationships, sexuality and how to know whether they have been abused. Ms Brennan was given an Order of Australia Medal in 2012 for her work.

Ipswich police officer Tania Plant won the 2015 government professional award - recognising her 23 years of investigating child protection cases.

Also in Ipswich, Luise Manning won the volunteer award for the work she has done in establishing the Springfield Lakes Butterfly Wings Parent Child Program. The program is dedicated to providing information seminars for the region's parents.

A unique pantomime program the Toowoomba Police have put on was named the year's education initiative. The Darling Downs Crime Prevention Unit Children's Safety Pantomime connects with kids through theatre, singing and dancing to teach them about being safe.

MORE: Child safety pantomime recognised at Qld awards

Central Queensland's Young People Making a Difference runs camps in Gladstone that take in young people from Bundaberg to Mackay won the youth participation award. The camps are run by young people who are able to connect with kids in trouble more easily than adults are.

Child Protection Week runs from this Sunday to Saturday.

The award winners were announced on Thursday afternoon at Queensland Parliament House.

Queensland Child Protection Week chair Lorraine Dupree said volunteers and professionals across the state were doing outstanding work to protect children

"Our board was once again blown away by the calibre of brave and inspiring nominees this year," she said.

"I hope this year's award recipients encourage more Queenslanders to safeguard the wellbeing and protection of our innocent children."

More than 100 community events are to be held across the state to create awareness of child protection and educate Queenslanders - they include dance acts, theatre performances, music productions and more.

Grants of $1000 and $3000 have been awarded respectively to community groups and organisations that have enthusiastically gathered locals to imaginatively produce an event or routine based on the key messages of Queensland Child Protection Week.

For more information on Queensland Child Protection Week events and award recipients, visit http://www.childprotectionweek.org.au.

2015 Queensland Child Protection Week winners

AWARD: Professional (Non-government)

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Outstanding contribution to promoting child protection issues in their capacity as a professional working in the child protection (or related) field.

WINNER: Holly Brennan (Sunshine Coast): Holly has worked with children in Queensland for more than 20 years. She is a dedicated worker who advocates for the rights and safety of children and provides education on sex for school systems across Queensland.

AWARD: Professional (Government)

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Outstanding contribution to child protection at a practice, policy or service development level within the public service.

WINNER: Detective Sergeant Tania Plant (Ipswich): Detective Sergeant Tania Plant has worked for Queensland Police Services for 23 years and has been instrumental in many child protection matters. She is described as a "mentor and role model, building a future group of investigators".

AWARD: Volunteer

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Invaluable contributions to child protection made by volunteers working in government or non-government agencies.

WINNER: Luise Manning (Springfield Lakes): Springfield Lakes Butterfly Wings Parent Child Program was founded by Luise Manning who is a community member dedicated to providing informative sessions that support parents with young children in the community.

AWARD: Regional Program

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Program that operates within part of, or across, a region to address some aspect of child protection.

WINNER: Young Families Connect (formally known as Pregnant and Parenting) (Ipswich): Young Families Connect works with students from across Inala to Ipswich schools to ensure young parents are able to further their education in a supportive environment.

AWARD: Education Initiative

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Development of an innovative approach, research or resource to promote child protection.

WINNER: Darling Downs Crime Prevention Unit - Children's Safety Pantomime (Toowoomba): This group of Queensland Police officers volunteer their time to educate young children on the warning signs associated with abuse, through pantomime. Protective behaviours messages have been adapted into a pantomime so that children can listen, watch, sing and talk with the characters and thereby use all the different learning styles to carry the messages.

AWARD: Youth Participation

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Involvement of young people in the planning of a local activity to promote child protection.

WINNER: Young People Making a Difference (MAD) (Mackay) MAD is a young people's program (12-18 years of age) based around peer support and adult mentoring. It consists of five weekend camps a year and on average 30-45 young people attend each of the camps held at Tannum Sands. The peer support and adult mentoring model of MAD recognises that adolescents experience many challenges including alcohol, drugs, family violence, mental health distress, self-harm, suicide and child abuse.

AWARD: Media & Communications

AWARD DESCRIPTION: An article, news story, series, publication, campaign or communications strategy that demonstrates a significant contribution to highlighting child protection issues.

WINNER: Daniel Morcombe Foundation (Sunshine Coast)

The Keeping Kids Safe Resource Kit and educational DVD support the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum that is presented to every school in Queensland and reinforcers the important personal safety and awareness messages: Recognise, React and Report.

AWARD: Addressing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, children and young people in the child protection system.

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Outstanding contribution to addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, children and young people through policy, programs or practice.

WINNER: Isabel Toby (Doomadgee): Isabel works with the parents and children in her community and is known for her work in assisting families through trauma and supporting her Aboriginal community's traditions and culture.

AWARD: Community Initiative

AWARD DESCRIPTION: Any community operated program, initiative, event or campaign that focuses on enhancing child protection in our communities.

WINNER: Let their voices be heard: Child and Youth Protection Partnership - Charter Working Group (Bundaberg): Through Bundaberg's Child and Youth Protection Partnership in collaboration with individuals, organisations, and services who assist or work with local children, a three-stage child and family friendly project was developed to build Bundaberg as a child-friendly city. The Let Their Voices Be Heard community resources were created by gathering, recording and presenting the views of Bundaberg's children.


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