Former NSW Supreme Court Judge, the Honourable James Wood AO QC has been appointed as the Patron of Pathfinders, in a pivotal moment for the child and family welfare NGO operating in the New England and North West Tablelands of NSW.
Mr Wood has been a household name in NSW for his role in the landmark investigation into the Child Protection System of NSW in 2008 and as Royal Commissioner for the Inquiry into Corruption within the NSW Police Service from 1994-1997.
Mr Wood said he was honoured by his appointment as Patron of Pathfinders.
“Pathfinders supports more than 3000 vulnerable children, young people and their families annually throughout the New England and North West Tablelands region. It’s making a difference to the lives of thousands of people at risk.
“Non-government agencies, such as Pathfinders, are crucial to delivering a personal, flexible, integrated and proactive range of support services for some of the State’s most vulnerable families and children.
“I look forward to being involved in the growth and development of Pathfinders in the years ahead,” said Mr Wood.
CEO of Pathfinders, Alan Brennan said Mr Wood was an icon of the family services sector and his unique experience, expertise and long-term interest in child welfare will be of huge benefit to Pathfinders.
“Mr Wood’s involvement will be invaluable and he will bring wider recognition for the great work we do and plan to do. He joins Pathfinders at a very exciting stage in our thirty year history and his appointment reflects the growth in public support for our work across the region,” said Mr Brennan.
Mr Wood’s appointment coincides with a multi-agency campaign for the development of Pathfinders’ regional youth and family support centre ‘Tilbuster Station’. Situated near Armidale, Tilbuster Station was gifted to Pathfinders in 2010 by a private donor. It will deliver a range of programs including accommodation and skills development for disengaged young people; accredited agricultural and vocational training programs; professional development for human service providers and outdoor recreational programs.
Other innovative Pathfinders programs aimed at supporting our communities and strengthening families include the New England North West Family Referral Service; Pathways Out of Home Care; the Armidale Youth Refuge; Family and Youth Support Services such as the ‘Open Door’ project in Glen Innes and the ‘Power and Passion’ project in Inverell; and Inverell Family Youth Support Services and Tenterfield Inverell Glen Innes Youth Services which are supporting families and homeless young people across Inverell, Glen Innes and Tenterfield.