2021 Victorian Protecting Children Awards

7 September 2021

Our HEALing Matters program has received a Highly Commended award (runner up) of the prestigious Robin Clark Making a Difference Award at the 2021 Protecting Vulnerable Children Awards Ceremony hosted on Monday 6 September 2021.

This prestigious Victorian Government award recognises an individual, team, or group within the child and family service sector, who has made an exceptional contribution to directly improve the lives of children, young people and families in Victoria (in partnership or collaboration with government and non-government agencies), who strive to achieve excellent practice among those who work with children and families, and their work shows insight, practicality and wisdom.

HEALing Matters is a Victorian Government–funded online training package and knowledge exchange platform for residential out-of-home care workers. It uses a trauma-informed philosophy to guide carers’ understanding of the link between healthy lifestyle behaviours and improved physical, cognitive, social and emotional outcomes. providing a one-stop shop for health and wellbeing information. More than 1,200 staff at 18 community service organisations have registered to complete the training. The HEALing Matters team’s commitment to embedding the program across the out-of-home care sector has made a difference to the health and wellbeing of young people in care at a scale never before seen in Victoria, and is now being scaled up across Victoria, South Australia and in parts of NSW. HEALing Matters recognises that food and physical activity can be powerful ways of demonstrating trust, predictability, a sense of belonging and value and the provision of support and care that is attuned to the needs of the young people living in out of home care. There is no program like it in Australia and internationally.

HEALing Matters has been pioneered by Professor Helen Skouteris and Dr Rachael Green. The success of HEALing Matters is due to the unconditional and tireless management and leadership of Helen and Rachael, along with the support team - Kostas Hatzikiriakidis, Maddie Smales, Anna Crawford, Ruby Tate, Lauren Bruce, Alex Hu, Jacob Thomas, and Sarah Carmody. Their dedication to HEALing Matters is inspirational.