Junaya Family Development Services recognises that children, young people and families including our First Nations peoples, culturally diverse people, people with disability and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex have a variety of needs arising from different circumstances, experience barriers to social inclusion and therefore we work towards reducing structural barriers and building their capacity through the provision of a range of services that maximise their opportunities and life chances.
Junaya is the Aboriginal word for ‘Butterfly’. As an organisation that aims to empower and promote the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island families and children and the general community of the Blacktown LGA, we chose to follow the authentic Aboriginal process in naming. It involved taking the time to observe the butterfly in order to understand how we could work with our families. We found that the process, in which a grub evolves into a butterfly, teaches us about transformation and change and it demonstrates the resilience, determination and patience required for it.
It is tempting to try and help butterflies escape their cocoons, but the process requires them to do this on their own. When they squeeze out of the cocoon, they appear with their wings ready for flight; without the completion of this process some may not fly without needing help. The practices of Junaya Family Development Services embrace choice and participation that results in motivation to take ownership of one’s future and its directions.
JFDS is represented by the Tiger Lily Butterfly.
Our story begins in the year 2002, as the Junaya for Families Interim Strategy was established with a grant from NSW Department of Community Services (now known as NSW Department of Communities and Justice) as a joint project by Swinson Cottage Family Centre Inc. and Rosie’s Place Inc. Junaya for Families was variously located at Swinson’, Rosie’s and finally at Blacktown Aboriginal Corporation (BAC) thus establishing a collaborative partnership to work with Aboriginal people.
In 2010, Junaya Family Development Services Inc., a service established to work specifically with vulnerable children, young people and their families experiencing Learning Difficulties/Disabilities, merged with Junaya for Families and became Junaya Family Development Services Inc. It is an incorporated not-for-profit (NFP) organisation under the Associations Incorporations Act (2009) and also a registered NFP with The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). Junaya Family Development Services Inc is funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice through the Targeted Early Intervention Program.
In 2020, we relocated to premises located in the medical precinct in Blacktown. Along with offices for staff, it has two meeting rooms for its group work activities and a counselling room. These facilities are available for hire to other organisations and professionals so that we can add value to the services we provide to our children, young people and families.
Board of Directors
Tess Sayas is a Director of Zignal International Pty Ltd, she joined Junaya’s Board of Directors in 2020. Tess holds a Bachelor of Science in Commerce, Major in Accounting and Advance Diploma in Counselling and Family Therapy. She has professional experience in Accounting, IT Development, Quality Assurance and Audit and Family Counselling. Tess is also Director/Treasurer of Community Resource Network and a Past President of the Rotary Club of Blacktown City.
Dr Pat Johnson
Dr Pat Johnson joined Junaya’s Board of Directors in February 2020 and brings more than 35 years of experience in community services. Dr Johnson has taught at TAFE and has written teacher and learner resources, has experience in child protection and has managed large organizations. Dr Johnson also had a consultancy practice for 25 years and delivered training (DCJ) and co-wrote the SHS Case Management Resource Kit and case management training. In addition, Dr Johnson has written policy manuals, conducted research, strategic planning and provided case management supervision. Dr Johnson has a Masters from UWS and a PhD from RMIT.
Nicole is a First Nations woman who grew up in the Blacktown LGA, attended Blacktown Girls High, speaks Fijian and is learning Dharug. Nicole joined Junaya in September, 2021. Nicole has worked for both state and federal Members of Parliament for the past 24 years and is dedicated to learning about and working with local communities particularly First Nations communities along with connecting with her Mob. Nicole is dedicated to her dogs and horses, is engaged in Indigenous studies and is learning more about her grandmother’s history. Significantly, Nicole nursed her late father, a Vietnam Veteran and she remains passionate about progressing the rights of veterans to include mental health. Nicole brings her wealth of skills and knowledge, cultural knowledge and previous experience on committees to Junaya.
Paul is a proud First Nations man, joined Junaya’s Board in November, 2021. Paul has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Teaching (Deakin University), along with a First Aid Certificate, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and MTU Training Concepts. Paul brings his extensive experience working in community services with high risk and high needs youth and people with mental health issues. Paul has worked and volunteered for over 23 years in the Blacktown district. Paul has been nominated for several awards including Aboriginal Justice Award (Law and Justice Foundation), Sports Coach of the Year (Blacktown City District) and PCYC Dedicated Service Award. Paul is a disability support worker, community support worker, residential worker and has previously worked as a Mental Health Support Worker and a School Coordinator, Teacher, Youth Adviser and Indigenous Officer.
Michael joined Junaya’s Board in April 2022 and brings with him extensive experience in Government, community and private sectors. Michael holds a Bachelor of Social Science along with a Diploma of Community Services, Certificate IV in Finance and other relevant qualifications. Michael has led and managed large workforces, co-ordinated complex projects, supervised multi-disciplinary teams, whilst building and maintaining key external relationships with various Government and non-Government stakeholders. Michael is passionate about supporting staff and ensuring great care of young people and families. Michael has worked within the youth sector, with people experiencing homelessness, with refugees and other vulnerable people facing complex issues. His vast knowledge and experience is a significant asset for Junaya to achieve high standards in our strategic directions and governance.