A letter from our Chairman, The Hon Dr David Hamill AM, as delivered at the Act for Kids Annual General Meeting on October 21st 2019.
“It gives me great pleasure to report that this past financial year has seen Act for Kids deliver support, education and therapy services to 46,084 children, parents and carers nationally. This is a 339% increase over six years and we are immensely proud of that achievement.
We have continued to focus on what we do best… giving vulnerable kids a second chance at childhood. In 2018-19 we worked with 31,039 kids. That’s almost 4,000 more than last year.
On the front line, we have introduced new programs and services to broaden our reach and allow us to help more families.
In 2018, we opened the doors to our first Victorian centre, delivering our Integrated Therapy Service to children and families in and around Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north.
Our Integrated Therapy model continues to be a unique and highly sought-after service for children who have suffered abuse or neglect. In the past financial year, we worked with 3,878 kids through our Integrated Therapy Service, an increase of 23% on the year before.
2018-19 saw a huge expansion in our early intervention programs. We worked with over 30,000 people to help them get back on track, an 18% increase on the previous year.
We established three new Assessment and Service Connect teams in Holland Park West, Townsville and Mackay, where we work in collaboration with Child Safety to ensure children and families in crisis receive access to the right services at the right time.
With a team of over 400 staff, Act for Kids now operates out of 26 dedicated centres across four states and we also provide remote outreach services.
Our social enterprise Youthrive continues to gain momentum, as we prepare for the opening of our fifth clinic in Everton Hills. In the last six years, Youthrive has helped almost 4,000 kids and their families, offering fee-paying integrated therapy services.
Now, our rapidly growing team can support even more kids across Queensland helping them acquire the skills they need to thrive!
The best part is every dollar of profit Youthrive makes goes back to Act for Kids to help kids and families affected by abuse and neglect. Youthrive’s strengthening performance means Act for Kids can plan for the future and grow with confidence.
Act for Kids’ achievements are built on three pillars – each providing strength and support to the others.
The first is our team, our CEO, the executive team, those in corporate services and all of the dedicated staff who work on the frontline, from Adelaide to the Cape York Peninsula and everywhere in between, to support kids and families. Our staff never lose sight of our end goal – keeping kids safe. I am humbled to work with such incredible people who strive every day to see just one more child and help just one more family.
At this point, I would like to recognize the great work of Rob Williamson. Rob recently moved on from Executive Director of Service Development at Act for Kids after seven years of leading the growth and development of our fundraising, marketing and communications. The work of the Executive Director of Service Development is critical for the future of our organisation and in July, we welcomed Stephen Beckett into the role.
Our second pillar is our governance. Our board members give their time, and their expertise to support what is now a large and complex organisation. I would like to acknowledge Teleiah Bayfield who we recently welcomed to the board. I would also like to pay tribute to those non-board members who serve on our Board Committees: Simon Neil, Malcolm Middleton, Dr David Wood and Dr Stephen Stathis. Both David and Stephen also sit on our Youthrive Board alongside John Eales and Tracey Gray. Thank you for your service. We are incredibly appreciative of your generosity and counsel as we grow our organisation.
Our third pillar is of course, our donors. Our long-term supporters, bolstered by our new donors make it possible to maintain and grow our services. Every single donor, large or small, every lottery ticket buyer, every Kids’ Crusader, every corporate partner and philanthropist who supports us… helps us to help more kids. We could not do all that we do without your support.
Act for Kids is a trusted partner of the Queensland Government. Our thriving government relationships and many successful tenders have enabled us to open new centres in Queensland and pilot new programs, allowing us to make a greater impact in the lives of Australian children and families.
This is a milestone AGM and I would be remiss if I didn’t pay tribute to Neil as CEO. When Neil was appointed CEO in August 2010, we had 13 centres in Queensland and had 103 staff. Under his leadership, Act for Kids has been transformed. We have introduced new therapy, intervention and education services, welcomed more than 300 staff, launched a social enterprise and expanded interstate into South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
Neil’s commitment and longevity is rare amongst CEOs. In fact, the average tenure of an Australian CEO is between five and six years. Neil will complete ten years as CEO when his term is completed in August 2020.
Succession planning is vital to the health and the future of every organisation and Act for Kids is no exception. That’s why the board has commenced the challenging task to identify and appoint Neil’s successor.
This will be an open and competitive process and we will look both inside and outside Act for Kids for our next CEO as we seek a smooth transition from one CEO to another.
Neil, I am not saying farewell. That’s for another time. I just wanted to publicly say thank you for all you do and what you continue to do for Act for Kids.
Friends, 2018-19 was a year of achievement, and with your support, 2019-20 will see Act for Kids continue to deliver for those children and families who look to us for support.”