Since our last print newsletter, there has been a bit of coming and going at Karinya, mostly involving the fabulous Karinya team.  A number of the Karinya team have been with us for significant parts of our first 25 years.  This is a wonderful statement about working at Karinya House.  It also means, at some point longevity as well as life changes do contribute to a changing in the guard.  It seems that 2022 is the year of transition for a few of the team and we have bid farewell and and welcomed others along the way, these past months.

In July and August we bid a fond farewell to Cath Williams and Jane Quinlan. Both women moving into retirement, they have given wonderful years of service to Karinya House.

Cath Williams, one of our senior health professionals resigned in July. Cath Williams has decided that it is time plan for spending more time in her garden and contributing to her beloved Yass community…. Cath has decided to retire from Karinya House in the coming months. Cath started at Karinya in April 2014, bringing almost 30 years of experience as a midwife and nurse, including time as a child and family health nurse. Cath has always brought a down to earth, practical and most importantly caring and compassionate approach to her work at Karinya. Cath was always one of the first to put her hand up for the less glamorous job and contributed to discussions with a refreshing honesty and openness.  Cath was always a favourite with women in residence, providing practical advice and support, with a healthy blend of up and go.  As a keen gardener one of the last contributions Cath made to Karinya was to establish a garden in the courtyard area of the Administration Building… we are all looking forward to enjoying the garden come the Spring. Emily Wright, one of our support workers, and introduced to you earlier this year, has taken on the role of Health Professional following on from Cath. Emily brings not only her experience as a support worker, but also her expertise as a registered nurse. Emily has worked in a range of hospital settings including pediatrics, Neo-Natal Intensive Care and Emergency.

In August, we bid farewell to Jane Quinlan, who has also moved into retirement. When Jane started at Karinya House in September 2017, she bought with her over 30 years of frontline social work experience. As a team we all drew on this experience, often turning to Jane for guidance and practice wisdom. Jane has always graciously shared this experience with us and always with the women she walks alongside, and their strengths and priorities at the centre of everything Jane does. Across her career, Jane has been a fierce and gentle advocate for women, families and young people. A key theme across all of the roles Jane has held has been strengthening connections within communities and building a sense of belonging amongst people who have been impacted by structural inequities. This focus on relationships is something that has seen Jane become such a valued member of the Karinya team. Jane’s understanding of the impact of trauma is second to none and something that Jane has gifted each of us in the focus of our practice.

Ellen Field has taken on the role of Executive Officer as Karinya House continues with the transition of the leadership team to Lavinia starting in early 2023. Ellen brings to Karinya House a wealth of experience in policy, project and relationship management and communication. Ellen has worked across a number of organisations, including the ACT Human Rights Commission, the Australian Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Senior Practitioner – NSW Department of Communities and Justice and Red Cross. In a short time, Ellen has become a key member of the leadership team supporting governance process and practice.

The support worker team also saw a few changes with Nerida Warren resigning to focus on completion of her psychology degree. Johanna O’Rourke also stepped off the support worker roster to move back into her volunteer role. We welcomed Regina Bailey to the support worker team and continue to recruit in this role. We thank all women for their part in this critical aspect of the Karinya team, ensuring care and support is available on a 24/7 basis.

Ideally, the support worker role would suit a woman with a young family and a supportive partner. The support worker shifts are overnight and weekends, and where a partner is able to provide the care of child/ren whilst the woman is on shift. The role also suits women who are studying or women who have flexibility through their lifestyles to support overnight and weekend shifts.  If you know of anyone who may be interested in these roles, please direct them to the Karinya House website.

With support from The Snow Foundation, one of our support workers, Millie Ensor, has taken up the role of Ninja Navigator. This role was identified as part of the Erin’s Journey, Journey Map project. The ‘Ninja Navigator’ is designed to work alongside caseworkers, supporting them by streamlining the collection of service data, insights, file notes and client reported outcome measures within the services management plan system, Outcomes Star. This will help to ensure caseworkers are able to more fully engage with the women they are walking alongside. We have also welcomed Imogen Boden-Brown, another of our support workers, to the casework team as she completes her Social Work Placement for the remainder of 2022.

A common thread across all of our new team members has been a deep commitment to the Karinya ethos of care and compassion.