The Council's role
The Victorian Children's Council is established under the Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005 to provide the Premier and relevant ministers with independent and expert advice relating to policies and services that enhance the health, wellbeing, development and safety of children.
The Council meets every two months or as required.
The Ministers for Education, Early Childhood and Pre-Prep, Child Protection and Health jointly appoint Council members for their expertise in policies and services that enhance the health, wellbeing, development or safety of children. Members are appointed on the basis of their individual attributes, not as representatives of their organisations or interest groups.
Chair: Professor Jim Watterston
Professor Jim Watterston is the Dean of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne.
Professor Watterston brings more than 35 years of experience across a diverse range of education roles. This includes 10 years as a teacher before becoming a principal of primary and secondary schools, Regional Director in Western Australia and Victoria, Deputy Secretary of the Victorian Department of Education, and Director General of both the ACT and Queensland Departments of Education and Training.
Professor Watterston was awarded a Doctorate in Education at the University of Western Australia in 2004. He previously served for six years as the National President for the Australian Council for Education Leaders. His contribution to education has been acknowledged both nationally and internationally with awards from several professional bodies and educational institutions including the Order of the Palmes Académiques (Chevalier) by the French Government in 2014 for a distinguished contribution to education.
Professor Watterston’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Deputy Chair: Ms Kerry Stubbings
Ms Stubbings has extensive experience and expertise in community service provision, public policy, strategic planning, community engagement, and good governance. This includes over 30 years of experience in senior roles in Local Government, State Government and the not-for-profit sector, Ms Stubbings has had responsibility for the planning and provision of a diverse range of services including early childhood, youth and family services, community health, social planning, recreation, arts, housing, and community development.
Ms Stubbings is passionate about ensuring that such services can support all families, children, and young people to have access to the opportunities they need to be respected members of their community, and to maximise individual and community health and wellbeing. Her work in local government has included developing a range of programs to promote inclusion and social justice for children and young people experiencing vulnerability.
Ms Stubbings is currently a Board Director of 2 Victorian public health services and supports leaders in community service management through coaching and leadership development programs. She has been a member of the Victorian Children’s Council since 2010 and was recognised as one of the Victorian Top 50 Public Sector Women for 2018.
Ms Stubbings’ term in office concludes on 30 August 2023.
Mr Robert Boucher
Mr Robert Boucher is the current Principal of Swifts Creek P-12 School, a school of 120 students located in East Gippsland. Through his work in education for nearly thirty years in both Victoria and NSW, Mr Boucher has experience of the complexity of challenges that many children face and the need for strong systems to enable all children to be the best they can be.
Mr Boucher has been involved in extensive investigations into the needs of young people in rural and remote communities, which have led to outcomes including establishing an Early Years Learning Centre, supported by a model of ongoing professional learning for the staff and the community.
Mr Boucher’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Mr Warren Cann
Mr Cann is a clinically trained psychologist and Chief Executive Officer of the Parenting Research Centre. With over 30 years’ experience helping governments, organisations and practitioners to more effectively support families in their parenting, with a focus on families who are experiencing adversity or raising children with high and complex needs.
Mr Cann is a founding Director of the Raising Children Network and an honorary Professor at the School of Psychology, Faculty of Health at Deakin University.
Mr Cann’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Dr Susana Gavidia-Payne
Dr Gavidia-Payne is an Adjunct Associate Professor in Educational and Developmental Psychology at RMIT University. Dr Gavidia-Payne’s expertise lies in the field of early childhood intervention (ECI), having worked extensively with young children with disabilities and their families as a practising psychologist, ECI service manager and academic for the last 35 years.
Dr Gavidia-Payne has been awarded research grants and tenders, generating numerous reports and practical resources related to child development, parenting, and family well-being. Dr Gavidia-Payne has published widely in a range of peer-reviewed national and international journals, receiving research awards in 2009 and 2015 for publications on ECI-related topics. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee for the International Society on Early Intervention (ISEI) and a former President of the Victorian chapter of Early Childhood Intervention Australia.
Dr Gavidia-Payne’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Dr Lisa J. Griffiths
Dr Lisa J. Griffiths is Chief Executive Officer at OzChild, Victoria’s oldest child welfare organisation. Dr Griffiths has worked in senior executive leadership roles for over 30 years with large, diverse, complex NGOs, the public sector and community-based organisations delivering evidence-based services to the community with a focus on children and families, people with disabilities, at-risk youth and the culturally diverse.
Dr Griffiths holds Non-Executive Director positions with the Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare (VIC), the Association of Child Welfare Agencies (NSW), and multiple Ministerial Advisory Groups focused on children. Dr Griffiths started her career as a special education teacher.
Dr Griffiths’ term in office concludes on 30 August 2023.
Ms Raylene Harradine
Ms Harradine is a Wotjabulluk, Latje Latje woman, and is the Chief Executive Officer of Bendigo & District Aboriginal Cooperative. As Principal Officer, Ms Harradine was instrumental in leading the establishment of the first rural Victorian Authorisation of Children in Out of Home Care under Section 18 of the Child, Youth and Family Act 2005. She has worked in management positions within Aboriginal communities over 20 years as well as with the (then) Victorian Department of Justice and Regulation and in the health and education sectors.
Ms Harradine was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2006 for her outstanding work with Aboriginal Communities. She has published "Aboriginal Art and Culture" 2009, an abstract on "Reconciling Indigenous Pedagogy and SOSE" in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health January 2000.
Ms Harradine's term in office concludes on 30 August 2023.
Ms Tina Hosseini
Ms Hosseini is a Research Fellow at Swinburne University, focusing on the evaluation of school-based training programs in Countering Violent Extremism. Her previous experiences as a Deakin University Research Fellow include adolescent prevention-based projects on reducing problem behaviours such as drug and alcohol use, mental health issues, antisocial behaviour, family conflict, school disengagement and depressive symptomology.
Ms Hosseini is a Commissioner with the Victorian Multicultural Commission (previous Youth Commissioner), a member of the Iranian Women’s Association and a Board member of the City Local Learning and Employment Network and the Victorian Red Cross.
Ms Hosseini’s term in office concludes on 30 August 2023.
Dr Anne Kennedy
Dr Kennedy has extensive experience in the field of early childhood education and care as an academic, consultant and advocate and is a Fellow of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Dr Kennedy is a life member and former chairperson of Community Child Care Association, Victoria and a life member and former board member of FKA Children’s Services. Dr Kennedy was appointed a Director of The Front Project Board in 2019 and a Trustee of the Creswick Foundation in 2020.
Dr Kennedy was a member of the Charles Sturt University research group that developed the first Early Learning Framework for Australia in 2009. She has been influential in shaping and supporting the quality reform agenda in the early childhood sector with a particular commitment to improving outcomes for young children living with significant social disadvantage.
Dr Kennedy’s term in office concludes on 30 August 2023.
Dr Annie Moulden
Dr Moulden is a paediatrician with 35 years’ experience in managing medical, developmental and behavioural issues in children of all ages in collaboration with their families. She currently holds leadership roles as a Director at the Victorian Children’s Clinic, Medical Lead for Quality & Safety at the Royal Children’s Hospital and Clinical Lead of the Paediatric Clinical Network, Safer Care Victoria.
Dr Moulden’s breadth of experience in these diverse roles has ensured she has considerable expertise in the health, wellbeing, developmental and safety needs of children. As a member of the Child & Adolescent Committee of the Consultative Council for Obstetric and Paediatric Morbidity & Mortality (CCOPMM), she is acutely aware of, and keen to address, the significant disparities in health outcomes for our most vulnerable children and their families. In 2011, she was awarded an Order of Australia for her contribution to paediatrics and patient safety.
Dr Moulden’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Professor Rosemary Sheehan
Professor Sheehan is an Emeritus Professor at the Department of Social Work, Monash University. She has 17 years’ experience as a Dispute Resolution Convenor in the Children's Court of Victoria, mediating disputes between parents and the child protection authority. She has been a member of the Women’s Correctional Services Advisory Committee and the Victorian Child Death Review Committee and provided academic consultancy for the Victorian Government’s review of child protection legislation. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts.
Professor Sheehan has written and taught courses in human development, mental health and forensic studies in Monash undergraduate and postgraduate social work programs and has a prominent role in funded research in child welfare. She has written extensively in child welfare and the law, family violence, mental health and working with women offenders. Professional practice collaborations have included the implementation of a specialist list project to manage child sexual abuse cases in the Family Division of the Melbourne Children’s Court, the management of child protection cumulative harm matters within the legal process, and children’s access to their imprisoned parents.
Professor Sheehan’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Professor John Tobin
Professor Tobin holds the Francine V McNiff Chair in International Human Rights Law in the Melbourne Law School at The University of Melbourne where he is Co-Director of Studies for the Human Rights Program in the Master of Laws and Director of Research in Human Rights within the Institute for International Law and the Humanities.
Professor Tobin is a recognised expert in children's rights and the right to health. He has provided child rights training and advice as a consultant and on a pro bono basis to organisations such as UNICEF, Law Reform Commissions, the Law Institute of Victoria, Judicial College of Victoria, the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission, NGOs, statutory bodies, government departments, and community groups. Professor Tobin is the Chief Examiner of the Law Institute of Victoria Child Law Specialisation Program, an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Children's Rights and an Advisory Board Member and Faculty Advisor to the Melbourne Journal of International Law. Prior to becoming an academic he worked as a commercial lawyer, legal aid lawyer with the Youth Legal Service at Victoria Legal Aid and was a legal officer with the (then) Department of Justice.
Professor Tobin’s term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
Ms Deb Tsorbaris
Ms Tsorbaris is Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Victoria’s peak body for child and family services. Ms Tsorbaris has worked in health and community services for 32 years, holding executive positions in organisations working across youth services; disability, drug and alcohol support services; and employment programs.
Ms Tsorbaris was the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Council to Homeless Persons from 2003 to 2009, and the Director of Human Services Design at the Department of Human Services, responsible for leading the design and development of integrated human services to improve outcomes for clients. Ms Tsorbaris holds a Master of Social Policy and Management and a Diploma of Research, Monitoring and Evaluation from RMIT University.
Ms Tsorbaris’ term in office concludes on 30 June 2025.
The Victorian Children's Council can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org