Gary Castricum introduced our Guest Speaker, Dr Lynette Buoy, who is the CEO of Windermere. 
Lynette commenced as the CEO with Windermere in early 2013.  Previous to this Lynette was the CEO for the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare - the state peak body for 95 welfare agencies, General Manager for The Smith Family in Western Australia and also held the position of CEO for the Lady Gowrie Child Centre (Melbourne) Inc.
Lynette explained that Windermere Child and Family Services takes its name from the location of the Melbourne Orphan Asylum from 1878, in Windemere Crescent, Brighton.   Since then it has grown into a large organisation providing multiple social services including:
  • Victim Assistance Programs
  • Disability programs 
  • Day Care Services
  • Kids on Track program
The Kids on Track program started in May 2010, in collaboration with Pakenham Police and Gilwell Park Scouts.   It is an 8-week schools early intervention program that covers topics such as anxiety and depression, drugs and alcohol, anger management, cyber safety and bullying.
Kids on Track aims to give young people the ability to learn positive behaviours in themselves and others, and the skills to make better informed choices, so they have the opportunity for a better future.
Initially, it involved working with young people from 10-15 who were coming to the attention of police for a variety of wrongdoings.  This later changed in 2013 to be a school-based program focused on young people aged 10-12 (Primary school grades 5 & 6).
Originally, the program was referral-based through Police identifying young people who had received a caution, or who were deemed likely to offend.  It now focuses on schools where antisocial behaviours are present and there is a history of family engagement with police and growing evidence of high absenteeism.  High absenteeism is considered by the Department of Education to be more than 30 days absent in the school year.
The program structure is:
Week 1:  Introduction & Family Basics
Week 2:  Family Dynamics & Relationships
Week 3:  Mental Health 
Week 4:  Anger Management
Week 5:  Teamwork (Victoria Police)
Week 6:  Bullying & Peer Pressure
Week 7:  Cyber Bullying
Week 8:  Graduation
The program also provides one-on-one counselling to those children deemed to be "most at risk" and covers the areas of Casey, Cardinia and Frankston.  Since its' inception, the program has helped over 2,000 students. 
It costs $50,000 per annum to run the program, which equates to approximately $400 per student.  Windermere raises funds through philanthropic donations, which have totalled $700,000 since 2011.