Centacare foster carers Jeannie Alderson and Julia Popkins have been honoured in the South Australian Child Protection Awards 2023, announced today by the Department for Child Protection.

Nominated by the twins in their care, the duo tied for the Positive Impact Award, which recognises individuals who have gone above and beyond in caring for or supporting a child, particularly assisting them to have a voice.

Julia and Jeannie (pictured with Centacare Foster Care Placement Manager, Jennifer Boyle) welcomed the siblings into their home five years ago.

‘’They came to us, they were scared, worried; when we look at them today, five years later, they are the most funny, happy, empathic, loving kids you could ever wish for,’’ said Jeannie in a video to mark their finalist nomination.

‘’The kids learn from us, and we learn from the kids. They have really turned our lives around as well as us turning their lives around.

“They have made us into better people, wanting to have better relations ourselves so we can help them become the best versions of themselves they can be. They are amazing kids.’’

Children’s Services Executive Manager Amalie Mannik applauded Jeannie and Julia’s win.

“Jeannie and Julia have provided consistent therapeutic care and support to the twins and are not only inspirational but very deserving of this recognition,” she said.

Centacare faces were among 41 Awards finalists. Specialist Therapist Dr Jackie Amos and long-serving foster carer Lyn Matthews and her late husband Roy were nominated for the Lifetime Achievement category.

Fellow foster carers Rhona and Brad Jacob were recognised as finalists for their commitment to connecting children to Country and culture by implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

Centacare was a bronze sponsor of this year’s event.

Delivered by the Department for Child Protection in partnership with the National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (NAPCAN), the Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of children, young people, carers, volunteers, staff and organisations across the child protection sector.