|Penny Wright Guardian|
Penny became the Guardian on 10 July 2017 after a diverse career working as a lawyer, lecturer, mediator, Tribunal Member and former South Australian Senator. She has a history of working to support human rights and to reduce the number of young people in detention. She cares deeply about our community being a safe and good place for all kids, where every child and young person can reach their potential and be proud of who they are. As well as her family, Penny loves music, reading, riding her bike and whipping up desserts.
|Mardy McDonald Office Manager|
Since completing her Bachelor of Business, Mardy has worked in administration/finance in various industries, here and in the UK. She believes all living creatures have a right to protection, compassion and advocacy, particularly the most vulnerable; this prompted her to begin study for a Juris Doctor. Enjoying time with friends and family in her spare time, Mardy also loves to walk her dog, explore South Australia’s vibrant food and wine scene and go to gigs.
|Malcolm Downes Communications Officer |
Malcolm joined the Office in February 2006 after a career which included education, management and communications. He is committed to using all forms of communication to promote, equity compassion and knowledge in the interest of a better community. He enjoys travel, family and videography.
|Jessica Flynn Senior Policy Officer|
Jess has worked and volunteered in the local government and community legal sectors, and has an interest in systems change, social policy, and law reform. She has worked together with diverse communities to share their stories and make their voices heard. Jess believes that children and young people aren’t the citizens of tomorrow – they’re citizens right now, and are capable of making a meaningful and important contribution to our communities. Jess loves gardening, but most of all, she loves telling people about her garden, even if they didn’t ask.
|Melissa Phoenix Administration Officer |
Mel joined the Office in December 2018, following 14 years in the public service. She has a passion for people, volunteering with organisations providing rape and sexual assault services, assisting with workgroups and communication with young people. She believes that all people have the right to a voice and for someone to speak with/for them if their own voices are not easy to hear. She is committed to spending time with her family and the innate need of everyone to feel part of a family. Mel is an avid fan of Wonder Woman, a model of strength and independence, and spends much time on the hunt for new Wonder Woman items to add to her bulging display cabinet.
|Bonnie Parker Communications Project Officer|
Bonnie joined the Office in January 2019 with a background in journalism and community media. She has a passion for storytelling and helping to share the stories of voices that aren’t usually heard. Away from work, you’ll find her at the beach or spending time with her family and friends.
|Merike Mannik Principal Advocate|
Merike joined the advocacy team in November 2018, with a strong background in out-of-home care. She has worked in non-government and the public sector, including foster care placement co-ordination and support, carer assessment and support, carer approval and review, project management and legislation implementation. Family and children are the light of Merike’s life and she lives the adage “it takes a village to raise a child”. She describes herself as ‘a people-person, who is bright and bubbly and always sees the glass as half full”. She loves movies, meditation and a great cup of coffee shared with good company.
|Sarah Meakin Advocate|
Sarah has a degree in social work and during her social work career has worked in child protection, mental health and disability. She has a particular interest in human rights and working with children and young people to maintain and protect their rights as well as supporting them to feel empowered to speak up about what is important. When not at work you will likely find her spending time with friends and family, hiking or reading a good book.
|Conrad Morris Advocate|
Conrad is an Narangga and Arrente man who has worked in youth justice for many years with a particular focus on supporting young Aboriginal people to navigate their way around the justice system. He is passionate about providing a voice for all Aboriginal young people by advocating strongly for their rights to be heard and upheld. He is a man that is committed to family and understands the importance of family to young people and their development and enjoys spending time with his own family and keeping healthy.
|Catherine Whitington Advocate|
Catherine joins the Office with a diverse range of experience working alongside young people as a counsellor and mediator in the areas of health, child protection, disability and homelessness. Originally trained in psychology and neuroscience, she has also completed a Master of Human Rights and is passionate about the rights of young people being upheld in a way that is meaningful and useful for each one! When not working, Catherine spends time with her family, reading or playing the cello.
|Courtney Mostert Assessment and Referral Officer|
Courtney has completed a bachelor in psychology and has worked for a non-government foster care agency and for the Department for Child Protection. Within out-of-home-care, she has experience in the recruitment, assessment, approval and review of foster carers, as well as the support of foster care families. Courtney enjoys watching documentaries, going out for breakfast and spending time with her friends, family and dog, Gus.
|Alan Fairley Principal Training Centre Advocate/Principal Policy Officer |
Alan has undertaken policy, project and advocacy work in a number of sectors. He thinks that the most useful experts usually are those who are at the receiving end of discrimination or injustice. Alan doesn’t own a dog, but does have a teenage son who likes to go walkies. In his spare time he reads and looks at photographs and old movies.
|Belinda Lorek Principal Training Centre Advocate |
Belinda has worked as an Advocate with the Guardian's Office in the past and is now focussed on the Training Centre Visitor program. Initially qualified as a social worker, she has worked as a case manager, mediator and counsellor across several departments and organisations and is passionate about promoting the rights of children and young people and ensuring their voice is heard.
When not at work, she enjoys spending time at the beach and camping with her family and two dogs.
|Travis Thomas Training Centre Advocate |
Travis is an Yankunytjatjara man who has worked in Youth Justice and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services for the past 12 years where he has focused on supporting young Aboriginal people and their families to navigate their way through the youth justice and child protection systems. He is keen to provide a voice for all young people in the Adelaide Youth Training Centres by advocating strongly for their rights and ensuring they are heard. When not working he enjoys cheering on the Adelaide Crows, playing, umpiring and coaching hockey and catching up with family and friends.
|Jordan Bell Principal Community Advocate|
Jordan joined the Office in August 2017 after more than 20 years working in child protection service delivery, policy and project management. He has a keen interest in out-of-home care, particularly the experiences and well-being of children and young people living in care. Away from work, Jordan enjoys hockey, music and cooking up the occasional curry.
|Annie Catanzariti Community Advocate |
For over 20 years Annie has been committed to improving health services for disadvantaged children and young people. Having completed her Masters, qualifying her as a Nurse Practitioner, Annie has focused on advancing the health and wellbeing of young people affected by homelessness and addressing the inequities experienced by Aboriginal young people and those under the Guardianship of the State. Annie is an advocate for improving health outcomes by bringing together the sectors of health, welfare, education and public policy. In her spare time she enjoys entertaining for family and friends.
|Karina-Michelle Yeend Community Advocate|
Karina-Michelle joined the team in February 2019 with considerable experience working in child protection and out-of-home care, most recently in Kinship Care. She has a degree in social work and has also worked in youth justice and Children’s Centres. Karina-Michelle is passionate about social justice, system improvement and bringing humanity and kindness into these systems. In her spare time, Karina-Michelle enjoys long walks with her rescue greyhound, watching movies and spending quality time with her family and friends.
|Lucy Brown Community Advocate|
Lucy is passionate about listening to the views of children and young people and supporting them to have those views fully respected. After initially training as a teacher, she worked with young people under the Guardianship of the Minister in the child protection system in Queensland. For the past 10 years, she has worked in the non-government sector in the areas of targeted early intervention and youth homelessness. Lucy enjoys reading, watching a good Netflix series and spending time on the South Coast with family.
|Sandra Loprete Community Advocate|
Sandra joined the Office in February 2019 with more than 15 years experience working in the Department of Child Protection in a variety of roles, including case manager, contracts officer and licensing officer. She has a degree in Social Work and is passionate about improving the out-of-home care system and is committed to working with and for children and young people in care. When not at work, Sandra enjoys spending time with her family, reading a good book or heading to the beach.
|Sonia Regan Community Advocate|
Sonia joined the team in February 2019 after spending 8 years supporting community development in an integrated Children’s Centre. She has worked in a range of community roles, supporting the concept of child and family friendly spaces. Sonia is passionate about giving our most vulnerable children a genuine, authentic voice in their lives. Having recently relocated from Port Lincoln with husband and teenage children, Sonia is missing her morning view of the ocean and her hockey team.
|Rod McDougal Project Officer|
Initially a student of science, Rod qualified in economics had a career in the Departments of Social Security, Veterans’ Affairs and the Child Support Agency. He has had and maintains a passionate concern for the natural world. Rod lives with his family and enjoys cooking, films, photography, music, kayaking and bushwalking.