Recovery Matters Webinar

Experiences of children and young people: lessons learned from 2022 floods


2.00 - 3.15pm AEDT, 17 November 2022


Free to attend

Children and young people represent one of the most vulnerable demographics in disasters and are particularly affected by psychological impacts.

The flood events across Australia in 2022 have had a significant impact on children and young people, especially in education and mental health. In the face of such challenges, children and young people have shown their ability to play a critical role in preparedness, response and recovery.

This expert panel webinar will spotlight the experiences of children and young people impacted by flooding, discuss lessons learned from the Northern Rivers region, and present tools and resources to help children and young people prepare, both practically and psychologically. A moderated Q&A session at the end of the webinar will give attendees the opportunity to engage with the panel.

The webinar will also include an opening welcome address by Senator the Hon. Tony Sheldon, Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery.


Guest Speakers

Senator Tony Sheldon, Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery, Senator for NSW (Welcoming address)

Tony Sheldon was elected as a Labor Senator for New South Wales in 2019 and was appointed in July 2022 as Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery. Tony chairs the Senate Committee on Education and Employment. Tony started his full-time working life as a cleaner and has been a leader in the Australian Trade Union movement for over 35 years. He served as National Secretary of the Transport Workers Union from 2006 to 2019. After his election as a Labor Senator for New South Wales in 2019, Tony declared that he would continue to serve the working people of Australia in the Senate “as a trade unionist first, and a parliamentarian second.” He pledged to work with workers, unions and companies to improve working conditions, safety and security in both the road transport and aviation industries. He has completed post-graduate studies at the University of NSW and the Harvard University Trade Union program.


Dr Andrea Baldwin, Service Development Leader, Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

Dr Andrea Baldwin is a Service Development Leader at the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health. She is also Child and Youth Clinical Consultant to Queensland’s mental health responses to Rainfall & Flooding (2021-22). Previously Andrea has held the same position with the Eastern Queensland Bushfires (2020-21) and Monsoonal Flooding (2019-2021).


Sharleen Keleher, Project Officer, Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health

With a background in education and psychology, Sharleen Keleher is currently a Project Officer at the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health. Her recently-completed PhD focuses on helping early childhood educators support young children through challenging times. Sharleen will provide an update on the Birdie’s Tree initiative, which supports mental health and social emotional wellbeing for expectant and new parents, babies and young children in the context of natural disasters and disruptive events. Sharleen will discuss the Birdie’s Tree Early Learning Program, Birdie Calls, and new and upcoming Birdie’s Tree resources.


Adrienne O’Dell, Manager of Impact, Australian Programs, UNICEF Australia

UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to protect and support the rights of every child. In Australia, we elevate the voices of young people, advocate, and partner with local community organisations to target inequality and accelerate impact for children across Australia. In her role, Adrienne works with local partners to understand and elevate the needs of children and young people across Australia affected by disasters and crisis to improve disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience. Evaluating the impact and effectiveness of programs to generate evidence for child-sensitive disaster specific programs and policies is also our priority. Adrienne has prior cross-sector experience in mental health, psychology research, evaluation, and international and community development.


Sarah Eagland, Head of Community Recovery, Royal Far West

With 25 years of experience working in the areas of Adult and Child Mental Health, Sarah has enjoyed the challenge of designing and leading the delivery of a new multidisciplinary service model to help children and their families recover from the devastating impact of the 2019/20 Bushfires and now the 2022 Floods. It is a community-based Program, delivered through primary schools and preschools, with ongoing support and therapy provided via telehealth. The Program has been delivered in over 30 bushfire impacted communities in NSW and in 2021 awarded the Resilient Australia Community Award (Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience).


Michelle Roberts, Director, Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network, ANU

Michelle Roberts is an educator and disasterologist. Michelle is a psychologist who specialises in children, schools and disasters responding disasters nationally and internationally, and is the Director at the Australia Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network based at ANU. She has been working in bushfire affected school communities, throughout the pandemic and working with floods affected education systems.



Dr Margaret Moreton, Executive Director, AIDR

Margaret is a disaster resilience specialist, who has worked with communities, non-government organisations, all levels of government, emergency services organisations and the business and philanthropy sectors. Margaret has recently joined AIDR as Executive Director and is looking forward to leading and strengthening the reach and work of her team. Margaret has strong community resilience knowledge and networks, reflecting her extensive experience working with communities and organisations to enhance community resilience to natural hazards.


Who should attend?

Teachers, parents, local government, recovery practitioners, emergency management, state government, not-for-profit organisations, volunteer organisations and any others working with children and young people