Just as children need to be held in committed and caring relationships to grow and thrive and have opportunity and hope, so too, do we at the Foundation. It’s why we’re so appreciative of the support of a passionate and loving team of ambassadors, our dedicated and hardworking Board, and Life Governors whose commitment is steadfast and enduring.

Patrons & Ambassadors

Chris Hemsworth (Patron)

To many, he is known for his roles in movies such as Thor, The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman and Red Dawn, but to us at the Australian Childhood Foundation, Chris Hemsworth’s most appreciated role is that of committed and proud patron. Despite his hectic filming schedule, Chris is determined to shine a spotlight onto an issue that remains difficult for many to talk about. “Child abuse is Australia’s biggest social problem,” says Chris. “I was lucky enough to grow up in a loving, supportive household, but my parents have been social workers for more than 20 years, and from them I know the lasting damage that abuse and neglect can cause. The trauma of abuse stays with children long after the threat has left them, unless they are helped to heal. “I am also very appreciative of the work the Foundation does to prevent abuse before it has a chance to occur. Knowledge, information and connectedness are such powerful weapons in the fight against abuse, and the more we make ourselves aware of the issue of child abuse, the better we can support vulnerable children and their families within our community and keep them safe from harm.” Last year, Chris helped launch the exciting new partnership that has been forged between the Australian Childhood Foundation and fashion house Gucci. In a video made to honour the occasion, Chris said: “I am a very proud supporter of the Foundation’s work to help children to recover from the devastating impact of abuse and neglect.The work they do quite literally has the power to transform lives… “Now through their extraordinary and generous support, Gucci is helping to ensure that the Australian Childhood Foundation is better able to continue their important work with children around the country…
“They have shown that they believe in the work of the Australian Childhood Foundation. Their commitment has highlighted that like us, they also believe in the right of all children to laugh, play, dream, imagine, and to hope.”

Rosie Batty (Patron)

Rosie Batty, for the past four years has pushed on in an unrelenting pursuit for social change, on the issue of family violence. Rosie’s grief and loss, has been expressed in an incredible willingness to speak out, touching the hearts of the Australian community. After becoming Australian of the year in 2015 her determination to drive reform in responses to family violence, has seen Rosie’s life catapulted into the public sphere. Establishing the Luke Batty Foundation to honor her son, Luke Batty, Rosie launched the “Never Alone” campaign to ensure the victims of family violence like Luke were not forgotten. “We started Never Alone with a mission to make sure that victims could not be forgotten, putting them at the centre of a national conversation about family violence, we shone a light on an issue that needs to be prioritised. “I am so proud of everything we have achieved. Together we gave victims a voice and demanded our leaders act.” Rosie says. The Luke Batty Foundation closed on the 16th of February 2018 to allow Rosie an opportunity to prioritise her own care and wellbeing. The demands of running a National Foundation are considerable and since starting this Foundation in her son’s name, Rosie has had little time to rest. “I realized, that I couldn’t keep going at the pace I was forever. It is unsustainable and I was tired. I am now prioritising my self-care and working through how I can contribute best toward the protection and care of children. The funds from the Foundation have been distributed to a number of family violence foundations to help them execute programs and projects. Over the past four years Rosie has engaged and supported a number of like-minded organisations, focused in on family violence. “The Australian Childhood Foundation has always held a strong resonance. The Foundation has a very clear focus on children impacted by family violence and abuse, and over the years we have talked about how we might together ensure that children’s voices are heard in the midst of this maddening violence”, says Rosie. When it became clear that winding up the Luke Batty Foundation was the right choice, I began to talk with the team of the Australian Childhood Foundation, about how my voice and journey could help us continue the fight for children, together. In November last year, I made the decision to sign on as a Patron, and It feels right. My hope is this move will allow me to find a better balance, whilst being able to contribute and ensure that children like my Luke are not forgotten. Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of The Australian Childhood Foundation said having Rosie join the Foundation, as Patron, alongside our existing Patron Chris Hemsworth, feels extremely important. Rosie’s personal journey is one of pain, courage and commitment. Rosie’s contribution to the Royal Commission, and the issue of family violence in this country has undoubtedly and significantly changed the way the Australian community engage and view these issues. We appreciate the incredible demands of running a Foundation as it takes significant ongoing resources, funding and in our uniting forces we hope to able to support Rosie to continue a very important role in this conversation, and the fight for reform and change. Rosie is such a powerful influencer in this national conversation and a personal inspiration to those struggling with deepest of grief. Says, Dr Joe Tucci. Together the Foundation and Rosie will continue to work to ensure that the community prioritizes children safety amidst the violence, and to change the life stories for the children impacted by this violence and abuse.

Clint Newton

We are thrilled to announce and welcome Clint Newton, the Chair and General President of the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) as the newest ambassador to join the Foundation. As a White Ribbon ambassador, Clint has been highly vocal throughout his sporting career serving as an empowered voice. He spent a long time leading the charge against domestic violence in Australia, and now is being the change he wants to see for children who suffer abuse. “Our responsibility as parents and as a society is to not only look after our own children but all children and keep them safe from abuse, violence and neglect,” he says. Clint encourages the importance for men to undertake a role of responsibility and leadership and he utilises his standing within the game to help drive social change and awareness. As a committed family man with a young daughter of his own, Clint is motivated to be a positive influence in his community and is honoured to be associated with the Foundation. Born in the United States and raised in Australia, Clint has played for the Newcastle Knights, Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers in the National Rugby League. Clint represented the United States in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, helping the team progress to the quarter-finals in their first world cup experience. “Honesty, respect and equality are all part of the rugby league ethos and with these values, players can be a positive asset in society and influence change,” he says “As a community we can help raise awareness, spread the message and continue to make sure that not another child will miss out on their childhood.”

Eric And Rebecca Bana

“For many of us, Australia is a wonderful place to live. But when almost 40,000 of our children are not able to sleep in their own beds at night because it’s so incredibly unsafe for them to do so, and when there is one report of abuse almost every two minutes, we know that as a nation we need a shift in priorities,” say Eric and Rebecca Bana. “Ensuring the safety of our children should be first and foremost in our collective minds. We cannot continue to pretend that the unthinkable is happening somewhere else, and that it’s someone else’s problem. It is happening right here, right now, to children in our own communities right across Australia,” say our patrons, Eric and Rebecca Bana. “Too many children in this country have their lives shattered by the devastating impact of abuse and neglect. The innocence of childhood, the joy of exploring, learning and discovering is taken from them by relationships that are destructive and unsafe. “The Australian Childhood Foundation works at the coal face to make these children safe again, and to help them find in themselves each part of them that was lost to fear, pain, betrayal and harm. The Foundation approaches the issue of child abuse and neglect from every angle; through a suite of programs ranging from counselling, through to support of carers, to education, public awareness and prevention. Its approach is practical and successful, because it is based on a considerable depth and breadth of knowledge, combined with a level of commitment and focus that makes the Foundation a leader in its field. “We sincerely hope that you will support the Australian Childhood Foundation in its work. We hope the issue of child abuse, family violence and neglect will be at last taken seriously in Australia so that all children will know what it means to be safe and loved, and part of a community that cares deeply about them and has their very best interests at heart always.” Eric and Rebecca became Patrons of the Australian Childhood Foundation in 2008. As parents, they both passionately believe in the right of all children to a safe and loving childhood. For five years up to and including 2011, the Australian Childhood Foundation was the fortunate beneficiary of Eat Street, a fundraising initiative of the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. In the first few years, Eric was kind enough to donate props from his films for auction, and in the last two years, donated his time for a private meal at Sofitel’s No35 restaurant as an auction prize. Eric has also lent his voice to the Foundation’s radio commercials and TV advertisements. Both Eric’s and Rebecca’s support is extremely important to the work that we do. They assist in raising the profile of an issue that is often difficult and confronting to face. They do this while balancing an incredibly busy and demanding schedule as professionals and parents. For that we are extremely grateful.

Nadine Garner

Nadine is a much-awarded and lauded veteran of Australian (and UK) film, television and stage, as both an actor and director. Her more recent TV series include City Homicide and The Doctor Blake Mysteries and she received four nominations (winning two of them, including the Helpmann Award for Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical) for Cabaret in 2003. Nadine, a parent of two boys, and Foundation ambassador since 2008, has always felt strongly about the importance of protecting children. “To me, it’s the cornerstone of a civilised society; if we cannot protect our children behind closed doors then we as a society are failing. I want to be proud of how we look after our children and keep them safe.
“I get so frustrated that people find child abuse distasteful and don’t want to talk about it… and so child abuse becomes this invisible evil that they don’t feel they can tackle. I want to help pull the rug off it continually and force people to examine the issues around child abuse because it is the only way we as a society will face up to it and do what is needed to break the cycle. “I feel very driven to helping the Australian Childhood Foundation raise awareness of the impact of child abuse and, importantly, helping the community to face up to it and understand how we can put a stop to it.” Nadine’s selfless and committed contribution to the work we do is critical to helping us engage with the Australian public. She has lent her face and voice to fundraising and awareness campaigns and events, and recently, with her husband Cameron Barnett, produced and narrated our Thoughtful Parenting DVD. She is a much loved and respected member of the Australian Childhood Foundation family. A Special Project Nadine and Cameron have been involved in a number of Foundation projects. Their most recent project was to produce, direct and develop with the Foundation the Thoughtful Parenting booklet and DVD for our Bringing Up Great Kids and Kidscount parenting programs “Our reason for getting involved with the production of this DVD was very simple,” says Nadine. “We both feel strongly about protecting and keeping children safe. We also feel strongly about educating adults. We know, only too well, as busy parents, that we don’t always react the way we should. While it’s ok to explain our responses away, we all need to take the time to stop, reflect on what we are doing and be the parents we want to be.
Working on this project was incredibly helpful for us and we hope that other people find it useful too.”

Carolyn Creswell

Carolyn has grown Carman’s to become the number one-selling gourmet muesli brand on Australian supermarket shelves, while at the same time maintaining a successful relationship with her husband Peter and raising four kids aged twelve and under! Over two decades, Carolyn has focused on producing delicious-tasting products using real ingredients. From humble beginnings where, at age 18, Carolyn used to park her tiny Daewoo alongside semi-trailers in supermarket loading docks, Carolyn’s determination has seen Carman’s build a strong following in more than 32 countries around the world. As a proud mother, Carolyn understands the importance of producing nourishing foods for herself and her family and applies this philosophy to every Carman’s product. Carolyn’s own commitment to a healthy work-life balance is also reflected at the Carman’s office. Many employees work flexible hours and are encouraged to attend their children’s special events and even take time out to pursue their own passions. Carolyn’s business acumen has led to a number of accolades, including being named the 2012 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year and the winner of 2007 Ernst & Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She is also a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Carolyn sits on the Board of the Human Rights Law Centre, is a Patron of the St Kilda Gatehouse and Ambassador for the Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and of course, for the Australian Childhood Foundation. “Every child deserves to feel loved and safe,” says Carolyn. “As a mother of four, the work of the Australian Childhood Foundation speaks directly to my heart and I am honoured to be involved with such an incredible organisation.”

John Xintavelonis

On the national stage, John has previously played Stewpot in Opera Australia’s South Pacific, Dick Woollnough/Dee Anthony in The Boy From Oz, Mitch in The Threepenny Opera , Spider/Lord Savage in Jeckyll & Hyde, Mr. Braithwaite in Billy Elliot The Musical and Pumbaa in The Lion King in Perth, Melbourne and Shanghai. His television credits include Winners and Losers, Tricky Business, Dance Academy, City Homicide and John Safran’s Race Relations. His film credits include A Journey Through Time with Anthony, Macbeth, The Sound Of One Hand Clapping and Back From The Dead. His voice can be heard in the films Legend of the Guardians, Australia, Daybreakers, Mao’s Last Dancer, Two Fists One Heart, in mini-series for CLEO, False Witness, Scorched, and on TV shows Wild Boys, Rescue Special Ops and Slide. In 2006 John was nominated for a Mo Award for his role as Pumbaa in The Lion King. John is an Australia Day Ambassador 2015, a finalist in 2015 Tasmanian Australian of the year, a co-founder of Hobart independent actor’s company Blue Cow Theatre Inc. and a broadcaster on ABC local radio. “In my experience, many Tasmanian expats come back to Tasmania when they start their families, because they believe it’s the best possible place to raise their children,” says John. “But we can’t ignore the fact that, like everywhere else, we face the same sorts of issues around child abuse and domestic violence and many children don’t get those happy and safe upbringings. And we can’t shake our heads in despair when we see it on the news without trying on a personal level to do something about it. “This generation of children is our future, but what sort of future do we all have if our children come from a background of abuse and neglect? I want to use my role as an ambassador to help my community understand the issue and connect with ways of helping ensure that our children are safe and cared for, because that’s what community does – we look after each other.”

Casey Burgess

Casey’s first television appearances included Home and Away and the TV movie Scorched. At the age of 15, she was also a presenter for Girl TV. She was a much-loved member of children’s entertainment group Hi-5 from 2008 – 2013. She says she jumped at the chance to be an ambassador for the Foundation because she identifies strongly with the anxiety and fear that children feel when not all is well within a family. Although her own mum and dad divorced when she was a baby, Casey says she was very much loved by both parents. “I didn’t go without and there was a lot of fun in my childhood, climbing trees, making cubby houses, playing with the children in the street and around the corner, and I’m very grateful for that,” she says. “But when you’re in a split family, things are a bit different… with my stepmother, there were times when I was anxious and a bit scared and didn’t want to say anything, so I feel like I understand just a bit about what that is like for children. I would like to learn more about how the Foundation helps children to deal with the anxiety and fear that the trauma of abuse creates for them, through being a part of it.” Casey firmly believes that children should have childhoods that are free of worry. “There is so much worry, so many things that we have to organise, be responsible for and do when we grow up, that childhood should be the time in our lives when we are free of that, when we are free to imagine, to create stories for ourselves, to have fun and to go to bed looking forward to getting up in the morning and playing,” she says.

David Boon

Even though his cricketing career took him away from home often when he was playing – and still does, now that he is an International Cricket Council Match Referee – David’s own strong upbringing helped him to recognise the importance of staying engaged with his own children. “When you’re brought up in a family that cares, provides and supports, you try to do that with your own children when you take that step in life and take on those responsibilities,” he says. He believes that the failure of parents to connect with their children and to make their children’s best interests their first priority can be incredibly damaging to not just their childhoods, but also to their opportunities to realise their full potential as adults.
“Child abuse covers such a broad spectrum – there are so many forms of it other than the ones we consider to be more obvious,” says David. “I cannot understand physical and sexual abuse of children at all and it is appalling that it happens, but we need to remember that mental abuse is also extremely devastating and degrading to a child. Neglecting a child or ignoring their needs can be just as detrimental as other, more active, forms of abuse. “In this wonderful country that we live in, every child should have the opportunity to chase whatever their dream is. It must not be restricted by people who abuse them and don’t allow that to happen for them – regardless of where they live, what issues they face or what their financial situation might be.” A legend of Australian cricket, whose international playing career spanned the years 1984–1996, David scored over 7,000 runs at Test level, and made over 100 appearances for both the Test and One Day International Australian side. After leaving the international game, he went to England to captain Durham before retiring to become a national selector and International Cricket Council Match Referee. He’s a Member of the Order of the British Empire and was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2005.

Dave Noonan

“I am proud to be an ambassador of the Australian Childhood Foundation for many reasons,” says Dave, a stalwart of Tasmanian radio for more than 20 years. “I firmly believe that confident, independent and successful adults are created within secure and loving childhood environments. Sadly, too many children suffer from abuse, neglect and deprivation. It seems to me that there is enough potential for sadness and tragedy in life without it being inflicted on us as children by those we should be able to trust and who should provide a cocoon of love for us. “As a teacher and radio announcer, far too often I have encountered children whose hopes and dreams have been fractured and shattered by their desperate family circumstances. These children too frequently become adolescents and adults with serious problems: drug abuse, depression, inadequate education, criminal and self-harming behaviour, poor relationships and poor economic outcomes. “If we can strike at the root of many of these problems by encouraging better parenting and supporting those children who have experienced abuse and neglect, then we can do much to help maximise the potential they were born with. The Australian Childhood Foundation aims to achieve this with its programs and is an amazing and compassionate resource for children in need. I was lucky to have a loving family and a positive childhood so I find it incredibly sad to see children who have never known love and whose lives are blighted by abuse. “I hope the Australian Childhood Foundation continues to do great work and I will continue to support it.”

David Stephenson

David Stephenson is Chairman of the Board of the Australian Childhood Foundation. David (or Stevo to many) has had an extensive and diverse career in both small business start-up and global business across many dimensions of advertising, marketing and digital communication. His advertising career started at Clemenger Melbourne, before building his own successful marketing consultancy. With a growing interest in digital media, he then co-founded digital creative agency Visual Jazz (now Isobar), helping grow it to become one of Australia’s leading digital creative agencies. He was instrumental in the business’s growth and sale of the business to the Mitchell Communication Group in 2007. The Mitchell Communication Group ultimately became the Dentsu Aegis Network Group, and David spent a further 8 years in numerous roles there. As the Chief Executive Officer of Creative Services, he oversaw more than 250 staff responsible for the group’s creative agencies. He was also part of the network’s Executive Leadership team, contributing to the strategy and direction of the business. Nowadays, David runs his own business consultancy. He is married with two young adult children and lists among his many loves ‘everything family’ and helping others. “Childhood should be a time when we feel safe and secure,” says David. “It should be a time when our fears and sadnesses are small and attended to. No child should have to endure the terror and grief that some children are forced to live with every day of their lives.”

Justin Smith

Justin is a broadcaster, journalist and writer. Born in Echuca in country Victoria, Justin started in his radio career at 17. As the executive producer of the Neil Mitchell radio program on 3AW, he was part of breaking and covering some of the biggest stories of recent years – including the closure of Ford factories in Australia, which won the program a Walkley Award. As a broadcaster himself, Justin hosted a series of programs from Afghanistan for the Fairfax Radio Network. He is now the host of the Drive program on Sydney radio at 2UE, appears on Seven’s Sunrise program, and writes for The Daily Telegraph. “As a journalist and broadcaster, I hear and cover some of the most tragic things that happen to our children. No matter how long I’ve been doing this job, it continues to shock and sadden me. And as a father, I believe we all need to have an understanding of the issues around children and their safety. Through awareness we can stand up and make sure no more children have to suffer,” says Justin. As a broadcaster himself, Justin hosted a series of programs from Afghanistan for the Fairfax Radio Network. He is now the host of the Drive program on Sydney radio at 2UE, appears on Seven’s Sunrise program, and writes for The Daily Telegraph. “As a journalist and broadcaster, I hear and cover some of the most tragic things that happen to our children. No matter how long I’ve been doing this job, it continues to shock and sadden me. And as a father, I believe we all need to have an understanding of the issues around children and their safety. Through awareness we can stand up and make sure no more children have to suffer,” says Justin.

Nick Pelham

Nick began his career as an Officer in the Royal Australian Navy. After graduating from the Defence Force Academy in Canberra, he undertook Navigation training in Sydney and then served on Guide Missile Frigates (WA) and Patrol Boats (Cairns), and worked on the Collins Class Submarine project in Canberra. Since leaving the Navy in 2001, he has worked on a number of large infrastructure and engineering projects across Australia and in the region.  From 2007 to 2012 Nick was a Senior Executive for the Department of Treasury and Finance in Victoria, focused on improving the delivery of major infrastructure projects. More recently, he has moved in to the Transport sector, where he is involved in constructing and maintaining rail infrastructure for freight, mining, resources and passenger networks. Nick is currently undertaking a PhD part time though the Civil Engineering Department at the University of Melbourne. Nick’s connection to the Australian Childhood Foundation is through his involvement with Rotary International. More than 25 years ago, the Rotary Club of Melbourne supported the creation of the Foundation. He is proud to be able to continue the links between these two organisations. “Talking about neglect and abuse of children is no longer a taboo topic,” says Nick. “It has significant downstream effects that are taken through to adulthood. Every child deserves to have a great childhood, to dream, play, have fun and feel safe. Through the work of the Foundation, we are helping children to be kept safe and recover from the trauma of abuse and neglect.”

Ms Susan Halliday

Business

Mr Jamie Perrott

Communications

Mr Laurie Wilson

Commerce

Dr Anne Small

Medicine

Mr John Sheehan

Accounting

Mr Ted Garland

Commerce

Mr David Rosback, AM

Retail and Former Rotary District Governor