Promoting the advancement of Child and Family Health nursing in South Australia
About Us

The South Australian Child and Family Health Nurses Association provides a voice for Child and Family Health nurses, speaking out on issues that affect not just SACFHNA members but children, young people and families. SACFHNA also reviews and contributes to professional standards, policy development and legislation affecting children, young people and families at state and national levels.

The Aim of SACFHNA is to:

  • Promote the professional and educational interests of Child and Family Health Nurses at state and national levels
  • Promote the identity of Child and Family Health Nurses
  • Advance the educational expertise of Child and Family Health Nursing
  • Encourage relevant research in the area of Child and Family Health Nursing
  • Provide a forum for Child and Family Health Nurses to network and exchange knowledge and experiences
  • Raise awareness of the clinical speciality of Child and Family Health Nursing

SACFHNA events are coordinated by an organising committee of elected members who meet on a monthly basis to coordinate at least four professional development events per annum. See upcoming events.

The SACFHNA committee consists of elected members for a term of two years.

Interim President- Denise McDonald

Registered Nurse, Bsc Specialist Practice Public Health Nursing and Health Visiting

Denise has a strong interest for improving health in the early years. This comes from a background of contributing to children and young people’s services in both UK (National Health Service) and South Australia (Child and Family Health Services).

Denise believes in the values of research based practice and the significance this has to evolve subsequent changes to policy and practice. Denise has an extensive understanding of current health promotion and health and wellbeing issues, while drawing on current research to ensure services are contemporary, evidence-informed, child-centred, culturally responsive and effective.

Involvement with on-line research programme/ trial and virtual platforms has highlighted the capabilities of internet technologies to further enhance the health of our children across the world.

Denise has also had the opportunity to participate with a team of four South Australian nurses working with children and young people in a joint Premier of SA / DECD Scholarship overseas. The study tour provided valuable first-hand insight to assist South Australia to lead our nation in the provision of quality sustainable health care for future generations.

Denise feels it is a privilege to be able to share in the lives of the families she meets and finds her role in supporting families during their parenting journey rewarding. Denise loves walking along the beautiful beaches of South Australia.

Vice President- Jenice Garlick

Registered Nurse, Registered Midwife and Infant Welfare Certificate.

Jenice has been working as a child health nurse in CaFHS since 1985. She has worked in Torrens House, Parent Helpline and more recently in Central and Metro South regions. She loves working in partnership with families and supporting parents in their role.

Jenice is married with 3 adult children and enjoys walking, playing golf and croquet and socialising with family and friends.

Secretary – Mary Anne Fearon

Registered Nurse/Midwife, Grad Cert Child and Family Health Nursing

From Queensland and have worked in most states in Australia as a Registered Nurse and Midwife. I am married with 3 adult children.  No thoughts of retiring as I love my job. I am based at Edwardstown Office doing mix of Universal and Family Home Visiting Services. It is important for families with babies and young children to receive high quality support with the job of parenting. I am highly supportive of being in a professional body that supports and values our work our work.

Treasurer – Judith Theunissen

judithRegistered Nurse, Midwifery Dip, Bsc (hons) Specialist Practice Public Health Nursing and Health Visiting

Judith migrated from the UK in 2007 with her husband and 3 sons. She has had extensive experience working in in both the Midwifery and Health Visiting sector of the National Health Service (NHS). Since being in employed in SA Health she has worked in both Universal and Family Home Visiting Services.  She had the opportunity to spend 6 months at Women’s and Children’s Hospital working in the department  for Work Health Safety and has represented Metro North as a Work Health Safety Representative from 2009 – 2013. In addition to this she has supported the Metro North Child and Family Health Team as Manager and is now Clinical Practice Consultant for the team. Judith enjoys the wonderful Adelaide region in particular

Committee Member- Sue Kent

Registered Nurse; Diploma in Nursing; Further and Adult Teachers Cert; BSc. (Hons) Community Health Care Nursing;  Specialist Practitioner (Public Health- Health Visiting and Nurse Prescriber)

Sue first qualified as a nurse in Derby, UK. After having her first two children her interest and passion to learn about child development led her to pursue a nursing career in health visiting. Sue worked in a diverse, very multi cultural area, designated as part of the Surestart programme. Sue was involved in many iniatives aimed at giving children the best possible start through improving early education health and family support. In 2006 Sue moved to Adelaide with her husband and three children, and has continued to work for Child and Family Health in the central area.  Sue’s passion remains around health promotion and engaging families in a lively, realistic and responsive manner.
Sue’s hobbies include karate, yoga and lots of holidays and a loosing battle with Mr Kiplings cakes!

Committee Member- Claire Dowdall

Registered Nurse/ Health Visitor

Claire arrived in Australia from England quite a few  years ago now, only planning to stay for  2 years, but two wonderful adult sons later she is still here. She has been working in the area of Child and Family Health for thirty years, both as a Health Visitor in the U.K. and here in South Australia.

Whilst working in the U.K. in a very diverse and multi-lingual area, she learnt a lot about various cultures- including the dangers of drinking tea made with carnation milk, cinnamon, cardamom and various other herbs. Since moving to Australia and working with CaFHS, she has worked mainly in the Metro North areas,  piloting the roll out of the Universal and Family Home Visiting programmes (in the development of which she was also involved). She was the Liaison Nurse for the Lyell McEwen and Gawler Hospitals for two years. Claire is also one of only a few Child Safe Environments Trainers in Women’s and Children’s Health Network and has been involved in the development of a WCHN wide Child Safe Environments Education Package. In 2012 she undertook the Advanced Clinical Service Coordinator role for 3 months during a period of rapid change in Metro North.

Claire is committed to working in partnership with parents to achieve the optimal outcomes for families and children in South Australia.

Committee Member- Diane Kestell

Diane is married with three grown up children; one still to fly the nest, but she is hoping this will be before
he is thirty!!(He’s 29). Diane obtained her registered nursing in Essex in the U.K when she entered the
hospital training system as a naïve 17 year old straight form secondary school.

In 1991 she immigrated to Sydney where Diane undertook midwifery training in Penrith hospital, NSW, at the
same time having her daughter. In 1997 Diane and her family moved to Hallett Cove, SA where she worked as a midwife in both the public and private hospitals.

Upon completion of the Child and Family Health grad dip, Diane began working at Seaford site 14 years ago. Diane moved to Marion clinic to begin the Family HomeVisiting Program, which she still does. Diane also works one day a week of universal services which includes clinic, hearing and day service. Diane feels privileged to be able to work so closely with families.

In Diane’s spare time she loves gardening, spending time with family and knitting/crocheting bonnets botties and blankets for Angels Gowns of Australia (an organisation that supplies funeral packages for still births and neonatal deaths).

Committee Member- Alice Emanuele

Committee Member- Lola Bishop