12 September 2023




Esk woman Judy-Ann Roberts has been recognised with an Ipswich & West Moreton Region Child Protection Week Award for her efforts in establishing a playgroup at the CWA Hall in Esk.

Ms Roberts took out the 2023 Troy Salton Memorial Award at the 12th annual Ipswich Region Child Protection Week Gala Dinner & Awards Night on Friday night.

The accolade was for exceptional service, dedication, commitment and compassion to child safety, and for support for families and children through the playgroup.

The playgroup for children aged 0-3 years is held twice monthly on Thursday mornings at the Esk CWA Hall, and has grown rapidly to include 21 local families since September 2022.  

The service started after Ms Roberts identified a need for more childcare services in Esk, where she lives, drawing on her background as an early educator.    

The group aims to connect and support young mums and parents who may be new to the district, as some of these families could be often isolated from other supports, such as family, friends or formal services.

Ms Roberts was nominated by Somerset Regional Council’s Community Development Coordinator Lyn Buchanan, who presented her with the award along with Senior Sergeant Troy Salton’s widow Yvonne Salton.

The awards have been established by the Ipswich District Child Protection Week Committee, which includes representatives from the Queensland Police Service, Ipswich Community Youth Service (ICYS), Child Safety Services, Somerset Regional Council and Ipswich City Council, to promote the safety and wellbeing of children.

They are adjudicated by an independent judging panel, and acknowledge successful individuals, services and programs that are working for the protection of children and young people in the Ipswich region.

Other award winners on the night included Brooke Staff from Mission Australia (non-government organisation category), Kokoda Youth Foundation (youth engagement category), Queerswich (community volunteer category) and Kambu Health (cultural award).

RainbowChaos, a peer social group and innovative partnership between headspace Ipswich, the YMCA Ipswich Community Centre and ICYS, took out the LGBTIQ+ category.

National Child Protection Week ran from 3 to 9 September, and this year's theme was “where we start matters”.

Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann attended the Awards Night and thanked all of the winners and nominees for their work supporting children and young people across the region, and the Committee who decided the award-winners.

“I especially want to commend Judyann Roberts, who won the Troy Salton Memorial Award for her tireless work in establishing the playgroup at the CWA Hall in Esk. Well done, Judyann!

“These awards raise awareness and highlight the importance of child protection, and recognise the efforts and achievements of people and organisations in the sector who look out for some of the most vulnerable children in our community.

“Too many kids are not growing up safe and supported. This must change.

“There are many opportunities to change the trajectory for these children, by working together to make sure that ‘Every child in every community has a fair go’. That was the key message for National Child Protection Week.”