Pathfinders is an organisation at the forefront of providing advocacy, support and services for disadvantaged communities. We have operated in the North-West and Northern Tablelands regions of NSW for over 30 years and have recently expanded our reach to the Mid North Coast.
Our focus is on addressing the complex challenges and issues within the social care landscape. We facilitate foster care, out-of-home care, homelessness services, family referral services and supported independent living for young people.
We carry out additional functions such as delivering tailored services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, providing support services for people with disability, and offering early education programs and training programs for young people.
Pathfinders plays an important ongoing role in supporting families, individuals and children to overcome various social issues. By taking risks to help those at risk, we are making sure no one is left behind.
Services and programs
- Foster care and out-of-home care services
- Specialist homelessness services, including a women and children’s refuge and supported accommodation services for young people
- Child protection and family referral services
- Parenting and family strengthening workshops
- Family preservation services, supervised contact, therapeutic activities and after care services
- NDIS support services, such as Support Your Path
- Pathfinders’ National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program
- Aboriginal Early Years Program
- Marie Delaney Training and Education Centre in Armidale providing vocational skills development, education and accreditation
- Field placements and training for TAFE and university students
We deliver our services and programs in a thoughtful and compassionate manner. It is only by understanding the issues that impact a person that we can help them create long-lasting stability, resilience and empowerment.
Vision and mission
The Pathfinders vision is to develop thriving communities in which all people can fully participate and develop freely through mutual trust and acceptance. We see this being achieved through collaborative strategies and best practices, a strong and respectful workforce, and advancing bold and progressive ideas and policies.
Our mission is to empower people to live with hope and equal opportunity to reach their potential. We provide hope through purpose and passion; generously sharing our expertise, knowledge and resources to make a transformative difference. We create equal opportunity by facilitating access to education, employment and safe housing; breaking down barriers that are obstacles to growth and independence.
Pathfinders is fortunate to have a robust frontline staff network, backed by an experienced board and strong leadership team. Together, we have an unwavering commitment to being the agents of change and improving the lives of people we work with. This success has been recognised on many levels and has resulted in numerous awards for excellence.
We are proud of the work we do, the partnerships we have created and the results we achieve for people within our care. We are stronger because of our collaborations and our willingness to challenge the status quo through action.
The Honourable James Wood AO, KC – Pathfinders official patron
Pathfinders is honoured to have the Honourable James Wood AO, KC as their patron.
Mr Wood is well known for his commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW.
Mr Wood was commissioned to conduct the inquiry to determine what changes within the child protection system are required to cope with future levels of demand. In November 2008 he released the Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW. The inquiry reported on what changes were required within the child protection system to improve the safety of children and families in NSW. Keep Them Safe is the NSW Government’s response to the Wood Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in NSW.
Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW (1984 – 2005), Chief Judge of the Common Law Division and member of the Court of Appeal (1998 – 2005), Non-resident Judge, Court of Appeal, Fiji (2004 – 2006), Royal Commissioner, Inquiry into Corruption with the NSW Police Service, and into Paedophilia (1994 – 1997), Special Commissioner, Inquiry into Child Protection System of NSW (2007 – 2008), Member Customs Reform Board (2013), Independent Review Cycling Australia (2012 – 2013).
Justice Wood currently serves as the Chairman, NSW Law Reform Commission (from 2006); Member NSW Sentencing Council (from 2006); Member NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team (from 2011); Member Human Research Ethics Committee Children’s Hospital, Westmead (from 2005) and is the Director of Painaustralia Limited.
Board of Directors
Rosemary Curtis OAM
Rosemary was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2023. As a director on the Pathfinders Board for ten years Rosemary has been able to influence decisions that improve the lives of Aboriginal people in the areas we work including Education, employment, refuge and cultural connection are all important.
Rosemary is an Aboriginal Elder currently living in Glen Innes where she volunteers and advocates for a number of Pathfinders’ programs including the Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program and the Pathfinders Royal.
Raised in Tingha and Mungindi NSW, Rosemary has experienced a unique, colourful and gifted life to date. During the early stages of her long and accomplished career Rosemary helped to form the Tingha Aboriginal Corporation, providing local Indigenous families with housing.
As well as this Rosemary volunteered with the Health Commission to eradicate tuberculosis amongst Indigenous people living in Tingha and surrounding regions. Rosemary has served with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and on the Aboriginal Development Commission (previously known as ATSIC) as well as serving on numerous other boards and committees. She has accumulated numerous accolades and awards for her work in the community.
Mark has over 30 years’ experience in the finance field, including financial reporting and management reporting, he possesses a Bachelor of Business Majoring in accounting from Charles Sturt University – Bathurst, Accounting Certificate from the Department of Technical and Further Education – Armidale and have. He has experience in the for profit sector and gained experience in not for profit sector.
During his career, Mark has been involved in all aspects of finance, including HR/payroll and the migration of finance systems. Mark has extensive experience in leadership, and he believes that people should be made feel part of the team and pride himself in seeing individuals and work groups achieve their goals whilst providing compliant and quality support to the organisation. Mark has recently completed a Diploma in Christian studies and has taken on a part-time position a chaplain in aged care and a role supporting regional pastors and leaders for Fresh Hope NSW and ACT.
Korrina has had a long career with the Department of Family and Community Services and is now employed by an non-government organisation. Korrina has a wealth of knowledge in the provision of community services and has held positions of manager, case worker and NDIS representative for her workplace. Korrina has extensive experience supporting management, clients and families in NDIS applications and package management.
She is currently Health and Safety Representative, Union Delegate, and the Woman’s Officer for her workplace. Korrina has Certificate IV in Business (Frontline Management) and Disability Work. She is currently studying a Diploma of Community Services.
Kevin is a proud Aboriginal man from Warren NSW Wailwan country, now living in Wauchope on the Mid North Coast of NSW.
Kevin grew up in Sydney and in Warren NSW. Kevin has worked for The New South Wales Public Service for 50 years for various Departments, over his long career, pursuing a position that Kevin can share his knowledge of his Aboriginal Culture where it will make a positive difference and support the communities he had worked in, as well as sharing this knowledge with agencies and his peers. Kevin’s time with The Department of Community Justice (DCJ) over the past 34 years 24 of those years as a Senior Caseworker (Aboriginal) during Kevin’s time with, The Department of Community Justice (DCJ) Kevin obtained his Diploma in Community Service, has spent time acting as Manager Casework. Kevin’s areas of expertise are in the child protection and out of home care fields where he has been able to make a real difference in the support, care and protection on children, young people and vulnerable families, which exemplifies his commitment to sharing this knowledge with agencies and his peers and supporting Aboriginal communities.
Kevin working as a champion for First Nations people formed part of a team representing the Northern Rivers Region, to develop and put into practise, the Aboriginal Consultation Policy which is now applied in the use of the Aboriginal Case Management Policy Rules and Practice Guidance policy for the Department of Communities and Justice and their partner agencies. Kevin is and has been actively involved in numerous community based and non-government organisations, providing support, advice on issues effecting Aboriginal people and engages in Aboriginal consultative processes when required. Kevin has an extremely vast knowledge of the issues facing First Nations people and he actively supports and encourages others to be more proactive and educated in this area.
Prior to moving to Wauchope Kevin live in Grafton for 14 years, 4 of those years, Kevin became a director with the Grafton Ngerrie LALC, prior to moving to Wauchope, where Kevin is an active member of the Bunyah LALC.
With a career spanning over three decades, Damian is currently engaged as the Zone Substations Field Manager Telecommunications North for Essential Energy. As a seasoned Telecommunications Coordinator and Senior Engineering Officer since 2004, Damian has been instrumental in executing successful operational and capital works programs. His expertise extends across crucial areas including risk analysis, budgeting, technical evaluation, safety in High-Risk work environments and stakeholder engagement which Damian has brought to his role as Director with Pathfinders.
Damian’s qualifications extend beyond his professional accomplishments. He possesses a diverse set of industry certifications including Advanced Diplomas in Telecommunications Engineering and Program management, in addition to several other industry and safety related accreditations. Beyond his professional life, Damian is an engaged member of the community. He has a strong passion for various sporting organisations and has even had the honour of representing Australia in the ”Presidents 8 Polocrosse Squad” during their 2005 tour in Canada and USA. Damian also dedicates his time to volunteering at sporting and social gatherings, actively supporting, and promoting the development of youth.
Damian Hall’s unwavering commitment to his community is evident in his three-decade-long career marked by exceptional leadership and dedicated service. His extensive expertise and wealth of knowledge in the field of telecommunications, risk analysis and stakeholder engagement support the continued growth and impact of Pathfinders.
Alex Shaw OAM
Alex Shaw OAM has been a dedicated force in the service of the community for over five decades. Alex has always held a deep commitment to making a positive impact on society.
Beyond the corporate realm, Alex’s dedication to community service has been unwavering. His involvement with the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution, where he served as CEO from 1993 to 2016, exemplifies his commitment to aged care and support.
In addition to his significant contributions to RFBI, Alex has played pivotal roles in various organisations, including serving as a Board Director of the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution and as a member of the Rotary Club of Sydney since 1991. His exemplary leadership within the Rotary Club is underscored by his tenure as President in 2016 and the honour of receiving the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow for Service in 2018.
Recognised for his outstanding service, Alex was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2019, a testament to his enduring dedication to community welfare. This honour acknowledges the breadth of his contributions to his communities. Alex Shaw’s involvement with Pathfinders began in 2017, where his wisdom and experience have proven invaluable in guiding and growing the organisation. Alex brings a wealth of knowledge and a deep-rooted passion for making a positive impact on the lives of those in need.
Senior Management Executive Team
Alan Brennan has been CEO of Pathfinders since 2004.
An experienced leader with a passion for social policy, he has a strong background in human services, child protection and welfare, juvenile justice, disability, community education and development.
His role is to manage the 300+ staff who make up the Pathfinders’ teams to ensure that the many programs and services we deliver continue to make a difference to our clients, improve their lives and create opportunities.
Alan sits on the board of YFoundation, a peak body addressing youth homelessness, and is a member of the Children in Care Collective and the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He is a former board member of the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies.
He holds qualifications in Law, Social Work, Psychology and Education.
Courtney Pay is our Senior Manager for Out of Home Care, with responsibility for Foster Care, Residential Care, Semi-independent Living, the Interim Care Model and the Short Term Emergency Placement program.
She joined Pathfinders in 2017 and has worked across all aspects of the Out of Home Care program, including experience as a front-line caseworker.
As a member of the senior management team her focus is on ensuring that all staff are given a voice and feel supported, from youth workers to management, and values working collaboratively with key stakeholders to deliver on Pathfinders’ goals.
She holds a Bachelor of Social Science with majors in Psychology and Criminology from the University of New England and Diploma in Management from TEAMS (RTO) in Glen Innes. In 2014 she was presented with the ‘Young Business Executive’ award by the NSW Business Chamber for the region and went on to become a national finalist.
Joanne Hall is the Senior Manager for Corporate Services and has been an influential member of the leadership team since 2013 when she joined Pathfinders as Human Resources Manager.
She is responsible for a broad suite of programs and services, including: Human Resources, Work, Health & Safety, Quality Assurance, Special Projects, training and education, Pathfinders National Aboriginal Birth Certificate Program and Cultural Support, Specialist Homelessness Services, Aboriginal Early Years Program, NDIS, family and youth support programs, Non-Placement Support Services, Therapeutic Care, media and promotions, and grant and tender works.
A strategic thinker, people orientated and empathetic, Joanne has been integral to the success and growth of Pathfinders.
Joanne holds a Bachelor of Business with a Double Major in Human Resources and Economics from the University of Southern Queensland and is currently undertaking a Juris Doctor from the same university.
Mark Crompton is Pathfinder’s Senior Manager Finance and is responsible for all of the company’s financial functions, including corporate finance, auditing, accounting, business planning, forecasting, and partnership investment relationships.
He oversees the teams responsible for financial management, information technology management, resource management (properties and fleet) and insurance. Mark drives a culture of continuous growth and innovation and plays an integral role within the leadership team, with a focus on delivering improved outcomes for our clients. He provides financial direction and overall strategy in line with Pathfinders’ mission and values.
Prior to joining Pathfinders in 2019 Mark had an extensive 40-year-career working in financial and IT positions within a number of councils and not-for-profits. He holds a Bachelor of Business from Charles Sturt University and an Advanced Diploma of Management from the University of New England.
Pathfinders is a nationally registered not-for-profit Non-Government Organisation (NGO) funded predominantly by NSW Family & Community Services and NSW Health. This funding enables Pathfinders to provide a diverse range of programs, assistance and support to vulnerable children, young people and families on an ongoing basis.
Pathfinders proactively seeks resources to lead new and creative solutions to existing and emerging community needs, including non-government and one-off grants, community fundraising, collaborating with other organisations and encouraging stakeholder involvement. This approach has resulted in the development of many valuable initiatives and programs, both locally and internationally.
We gratefully acknowledge the funders, supporters and partners who have made a significant contribution this year:
- NSW Family & Community Services
- NSW Health
- Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation
- Royal Freemason’s Benevolent Institution
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Direct Aid Program
- Brighter Access Early Childhood Inclusion
- Second Bite/Coles
- Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Indigenous Advancement Strategy
- North West Alliance
- Northern Inland Community College
- Rob Taber
- Welding Rod Fabrications
- Duval High School
- Juvenile Justice