Our People 2018-06-29T11:29:08+00:00

Our Board

Pam Mitchell – Chairperson

Pam has held the position of Chairperson of The Family Centre Board since 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Business (Business Management), a Graduate Certificate in Adult Education, and an Advanced Diploma in Community Sector Management, as well as Certificates in training assessment and TESOL.

She has a wealth of practical experience in the community sector in both management and training, including as Manager of Disability Services at Tweed Valley Respite Services( now known as Lifebridge), as Residential Services Manager for Accommodation Network  as well as Community Services Trainer and Assessor at the Royal College of Healthcare and  ACE Community Colleges Burleigh and Lismore.

Pam also brings to the position governance expertise from her role as the Secretary of the Kids in Need Association, and is a member of the Australian Community Services Association.

Chris Paton – Treasurer

Chris Paton, is a qualified CPA and Fellow of the National Tax and Accountants Association. He has worked predominately in public practice for over 30 years and has established a strong client base across all Australian states as well as international business clients.

Chris has gained considerable expertise in the not for profit and government sector, recently assisting in audits for Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and also the Department of Housing Queensland. One of Chris’s proudest successes was to successfully obtain large government grants to assist client service delivery.

Chris has gained extensive experience in the diverse areas of taxation, audit, financial and business consulting in his role as a qualified public practising accountant. One of his main interests has been assisting clients achieve business success by helping them establish good governance and financial processes. He has also contributed his expertise in policy development, business advisory skills and budgeting in previous roles as Treasurer.

Rossi Lyons

Rossi has been a member of The Family Centre Board since 2011. She holds a Master of Science degree in Applied Psychology from The University of Melbourne and is a member of the Australian Psychological Society.

She comes with wide ranging experience from a diverse career spanning more than 40 years 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 more than 20 years’ experience in public sector management as well as nine years as the Project Leader for Families First (now Families NSW) across the Northern region. This position involved integrating child and family service delivery at a local and state-wide level. The role included strategic planning, facilitating inter-agency groups, development of new service models and measurement of outcomes.

Other past roles include project management, policy development, strategic planning, change management, service development and review, service system development, primary health care management, training and development, evaluation and quality, and clinical work. Rossi was a founding member of the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre and the Lismore Family Support Service. Throughout her career, Rossi has worked closely with local Aboriginal communities.

Rossi currently works as a clinical psychologist in private practice with a strong focus on child protection and out of home care. She has been a clinician with the NSW Children’s Court Clinic for the past 14 years and conducts carer reviews for a number of Out of Home Care agencies. She has been involved in a large number of reviews and service evaluations both in NSW and nationally. These reviews include work with mental health services, psycho-social responses to disaster, Aboriginal Justice and Aged Care services, child protection services and drug and alcohol service delivery.

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.

Belinda Burgess

Belinda is has be a practising solicitor for 23 years and a NSW Law Society Accredited Specialist in Family Law since 2001. Belinda operates Burgess Family Law and has a depth of experience of in complex issues facing families, children and youth.

BSAB AccSpec (Fam)

John Commens

John has extensive business development and management experience. He has been a member of Rotary International since 1974.

John has received twelve Paul Harris Fellow Awards. He has erved on a number of community boards including Tweed, Byron, Ballina Community Transport and is Treasurer at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church Murwillumbah since 2002.

Our Executive

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 Finances

Mario Talary

Manager Child, Youth and Family Services