A child protection worker based in a remote Aboriginal community who helped a teenager with foetal alcohol syndrome successfully care for her baby has won the inaugural Social Worker of the Year Award.
Rosalie Dwyer is based at the Warburton community, 1,540km north-east of Perth, where she works for the WA Department for Child Protection.
Child Protection Minister Robyn McSweeney presented Ms Dwyer with her award at last night's Social Worker of the Year Awards ceremony at the University Club of WA.
Ms Dwyer, who has a Bachelor of Social Work from The University of Western Australia, also took out the Rural and Remote Practitioner Award.
Ms Dwyer impressed judges with her patient, tenacious and inclusive approach. They cited one situation where she supported a teenager affected by foetal alcohol syndrome to successfully care for her baby. Ms Dwyer was able to develop and monitor a network of support in the community and the baby is now a happy, healthy and loved three-year-old.
The Agent of Change Award was presented to Margaret Stockton, from South Metro Area Health Service, while Ben Whitehouse, from the Department for Child Protection won the Rising Star Award and the Head, Heart and Hands Award went to Anthony Collier, from Youth Reach South.
The inaugural awards celebrate the achievements and commitment of social workers, whose job is often unrecognised by the community. They focus on the practice of social work and acknowledge its diversity, scope and potential.
The awards are the initiative of the WA Branch of the Australian Association of Social Workers, in partnership with UWA's Social Work Alumni and the Discipline of Social Work and Social Policy, as well as the Department of Social Work and Social Policy at Curtin University of Technology.
Louise Durack (Australian Association of Social Workers) (+61 4) 10 627 396
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716