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New Centacare leadership announced


Child protection and family support services specialist Leanne Haddad has been appointed director of Centacare Catholic Family Services.

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Archbishop of Adelaide Patrick O’Regan today announced Leanne will commence in the new role on January 3, 2023.

A mother-of-three, Leanne has for the past year been deputy director, providing leadership, corporate and service delivery support to director Pauline Connelly.

Pauline assumed the role after the retirement of longtime director Dale West in early 2021.

After guiding Centacare through a period of significant change, Pauline has chosen to return to her substantive position of deputy director.

“Centacare is a vital part of the local Church’s mission and commitment to serving the marginalised in our community,” Archbishop O’Regan said.

“I thank Pauline for her dedication and professionalism as both director and in her previous roles, and I look forward to working with Leanne when she takes up her new position next year.”

Leanne said she and Pauline would continue to lead in partnership and shape service growth in-line with community need and informed by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

“I have been very fortunate to have been mentored firstly by Dale and most recently Pauline who is extremely giving with her knowledge and has a genuine commitment to developing other leaders,’’ Leanne said.

“I will continue to build on the solid foundation and history they have created and embrace this opportunity with energy and heart for Centacare, and an ongoing commitment to learning.

“The Catholic Social Teaching principles align with those of grassroots social work which is where I began my career.

“My 26 years in community and social services has provided me with the privilege of working with vulnerable children, young people, and families, and I will carry the lessons they’ve taught me into this role.’’

Leanne has worked in both government and non-government services across operational child protection positions, policy and planning, learning and development, contract management, service design, leadership and executive roles.

She joined Centacare in 2017 as executive manager of Children’s Services and turned at-risk contracts into highly successful programs which exceeded key performance indicators and outcomes, and increased service scope and funding.

In recent years, Leanne has established therapeutic family support services and led numerous child protection initiatives and successful tenders, including the $20.7 million RESTORE Intensive Family Services – the largest service of its kind in South Australia.

Through commitment and strategic planning, Leanne helped grow Centacare Foster Care from a handful of carers into one of the state’s leading providers of in-care support for children aged 0 to 18 years.

This year, Leanne has led Centacare’s corporate restructure and administration review to implement staffing and program efficiencies.

Chair of Centacare’s Child Protection Committee, Leanne is a Compass Catholic Community School Advisory Board member and board secretary of Child and Family Focus SA, the peak body for NGOs that support community services for vulnerable families and individuals.

Centacare supports more than 20,000 people annually across 67 services and 31 sites in metropolitan and regional South Australia.

In welcoming Leanne to the role of director, Pauline said it had been an “enormous privilege” to lead Centacare for the past 18 months.

“Leanne and the Executive Managers have been an amazing support to me; there is a wonderful sense of team that we experience at Centacare, something I think is forged on common values along with a shared belief in what we are doing and where we are going,’’ she said.

“I look forward to that same experience next year, along with the time and space to focus more on some of the things I did previously as Deputy.

“We have much to look forward to together, in the knowledge that the most important role for us all, is that of providing a service for our clients so that in the end, they are the beneficiaries of everything we do.”


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