Our People

Our Board

Pam Mitchell – Chairperson


Rossi Lyons – Treasurer

Rossi has been a member of The Family Centre Board since 2011. She comes with wide ranging experience in health and the community services sector. She has worked for a number of NSW government departments including Health, Family & Community Services, The Cabinet Office and the Attorney-General’s Department. She has experience in public sector management and strategic planning and integrated service delivery at a local and state wide level.

Rossi currently works as a clinical psychologist in private practice with a strong focus on child protection and out of home care as well as adult mental health. She has been involved in a significant number of reviews and service evaluations in NSW and nationally and is currently an Official Visitor for NSW Mental Health.

Rossi holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Psychology, from The University of Melbourne and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society.


Dr Elizabeth (Liz) Reimer

Liz is a Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences, at Southern Cross University. Before joining SCU, Liz worked as:

  • Senior Researcher at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  • PhD candidate at the Australian Centre for Child Protection(University of South Australia)
  • Senior Policy and Research Officer for the Inquiry into the Child Protection System in the Northern Territory
  • Policy Officer at both NSW Family Services Inc. (FamS) and Uniting Care Burnside

Liz received a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 2010 from the University of South Australia. Her research topic was: “Exploring the Parent-Family Worker Relationship in Rural Family Support Services: “You build a relationship…and before you know it you start working on the problems that you have got.” This thesis focused in fine detail on relationship-based practice in family work. This research was supported with a PhD scholarship from the Australian Centre for Child Protection (University of South Australia).

Her research focus includes family support, youth work, prevention and early intervention dimensions of the child wellbeing continuum, child neglect, and workforce issues such as professionalisation. Recent research and publication activities relating to aspects of parent-worker relationships in rural family services, include how relationships develop, how supervision and the family work environment affect relationships, and personalised ways of working in professional family work relationships.  Other recent research and publication activities relate to mixed-method research study examining themes from private sessions hearings for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, a national survey of the youth work sector across Australia, including the profile of this workforce and issues relating to professionalization of this industry.

BA (Welfare Studies)(Hons 1st Class)(UWS), Dip Teach (UNSW), PhD (UNISA)


Marcia Browning

Marcia Browning is a proud Bundjalung woman with over 40 years of teaching experience with NSW Education Department. Marcia is committed to helping her local Aboriginal community and has a long involvement with the Tweed Wollumbin Aboriginal Education Consultative Group. She is also currently a board member of Canowindra Aged and Disabled organisation and participates on the elders group with GOLDOC.


Hazel Manson (Retired May 2017)

Hazel has been a member of the Board of The Family Centre since 2016.

Hazel has worked for Legal Aid NSW in the Northern Rivers region for over two decades. Her initial role was administrative, then managerial for a period of 13 years. Since 2005 Hazel has been employed as a family law solicitor. Her main area of practice involves the representation of family members in both family law and care & protection matters in the area from Tweed Heads to Lismore and Ballina.

Hazel has undertaken specialised training and gained a high level of experience in working with families in the legal sector who have experienced complex traumas including mental illness and family violence. Hazel is a trained advocate and representative for children and young people in both the family law courts, and the care and protection jurisdictions.

Hazel maintains an interest in promoting and assisting early intervention services for families who find them selves navigating the family law system.

Hazel holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and an Associate Diploma in Business Studies from Southern Cross University.


John Commens

Belinda Burgess

Belinda has been a member of the Board since June, 2017.

Belinda has been a practising Solicitor for 23 years and a NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in Family Law since 2001. Her firm is based in Lismore. However she practises throughout the Far North Coast/Northern Rivers region.

Given her specialty in Family Law, Belinda has a depth of experience of the many and often complex issues facing families, children and youth.

BSAB AccSpec (Fam)

Executive Team

David Boutkan – Executive Director

David has worked with The Family Centre for 12 years, and has over 30 years’ experience in the community services sector. He has worked for a number of NSW and Australian government departments including Family & Community Services, Health and Juvenile Justice, in child protection, out of home care and youth and family work positions. He has also managed community organisations including ground breaking youth accommodation and support service, The Burdekin Association in Sydney.

David has a special interest and experience in community led co-design, integrated service delivery and collective impact approaches. The Family Centre has a demonstrated commitment to program outcome and social impact measurement using a Results Based Accountability framework.

David holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree and a Graduate Certificate in Social Impact from The University of New South Wales.


Colleen Dowd – Director Community Relations and Accountability

Nicole Julien – Director Child, Youth and Family Services

Margie Lemmon – Manager Business Services and Finance

Mario Talary – Manager Child, Youth and Family Services


The Family Centre Organisational Chart