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PCA Families have a team of dedicated Support and Advocacy Advisors, Client Service Officers and Specialist Managers who provide helpline and flexible funding services to clients or support the organisation in other ways.

Amanda Bresnan


Wendy has an extensive career in health and human services and not for profit sectors having worked as a practitioner, senior manager and CEO in a diverse range of services including community health, women’s health, aged care, disability, mental health, peak bodies, hospital networks, general practice, and local government.  She is well versed in service and project management, partnership development, stakeholder engagement, strategic and area based planning, and conceptual modelling.  Wendy also has significant experience in the implementation of government reform agendas having taken key roles in Primary Health, NDIS, Aged Care and Mental Health reforms. Wendy has a strong commitment to social justice and engaging with people with lived experience and the community in meaningful ways that will deliver innovative services from idea to implementation. 

In her role as CEO at PCA Families Wendy is committed to delivering the best outcomes for permanent carer, kinship carer and adoptive families and ensuring that children and young people can reach their full potential. 

In her downtime, Wendy has co-edited a book on Climate Change Adaptation for Health and Social Services which explores the impacts of climate change on human health and which population groups are most vulnerable to changes in climate. She also likes to escape to her beach shack where there is no internet or telephone access.

Liz Powell

Program Lead - Helpline and Better Futures and Homestretch

Liz joined PCA Families in 2014 as an Advocacy and Support Advisor. She worked for 25 years as a nurse/midwife predominately in Neonatal ICU before retraining as a counsellor in trauma, loss and bereavement intervention and psychotherapy.  She has worked in both helpline and counselling settings and is passionate about supporting families with children with developmental trauma. 

In her time away from work, Liz enjoys spending time with her daughters who completed her family through adoption. Liz works on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.  

Program Lead - Flexi Funding

Paula has over 25 years’ experience in the child and family services sector. She is a dedicated supporter for women and children and seeks innovative ways to support and assist families and to help strengthen the child and family sector. 

Paula was named joint Kingston Woman of the Year for 2022 while Executive Officer of Emerge women and children’s support network, where she worked for seven years assisting women and children fleeing family violence. During her time at Emerge she worked with DFFH overseeing the completion of the new core and cluster refuge, and completed two research projects with both LaTrobe and Swinburne Universities to look at the effect of family violence on children and the use of robots in therapeutic groupwork for primary school children.

Paula is a highly motivated and skilled Executive Officer and a previous Director of Community Services programs with an accomplished track record in sensitive organisational and political settings.  She completed the Diploma of Governance in 2021, is an accredited Family Law mediator and supervisor, a qualified Family Therapist, has a Certificate in Training and Assessment and has completed several leadership courses.  Paula has four adult children, and her first grandchild was born in September 2022. She enjoys walking along the beach and socialising with friends. Paula looks forward to meeting and assisting carers and their families.

Ray Carroll

Advocacy & Support Advisor

Ray joined PCA Families in May 2021.  Most recently, Ray was a case manager with Anglicare in the Intensive Family Services Program. Prior to this Ray was at the Commission for Children and Young Children involved in monitoring the quality of care of children and young people in all forms of care and youth justice including the development of trauma informed resources such as ‘Calmer Classrooms…’, ‘Caring Classroom…’ and ‘Isolation to Connection…’.  Ray also managed the complaints and feedback line for children, carers, members of the public and professional parties. Earlier in his social work career, Ray worked in a number of positions with state government and non-government organisations such as Child Protection Services, foster care service delivery, kinship care support, family support and disability programs. 

Ray enjoys spending time with his family on the Mornington Peninsula.  Ray works Tuesday to Thursday.

Vicki Coverdale

Advocacy & Support Advisor

Merle joined PCA families in early 2021 as an Advocacy and Support Advisor. Prior to joining PCA families, Merle was involved with Lifeline as a telephone counsellor and volunteering at Very Special Kids working with families of terminally ill children. For the past 8 years Merle was involved with working with Asylum Seekers in a case management role which included working at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, the Australian Red Cross Migrant Support Program, Ames Migration Agency and Life Without Barriers. Merle has worked with families that have experienced significant trauma and understands the impact that it has on the well-being, behaviour and development of children and young adults.  

Merle is married with 3 grown up sons and a precious grandson!  Merle works Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

 Advocacy & Support Advisor

Virginia is a social worker, with an extensive work history in the foster care sector. This includes case management of foster carers and children encompassing intake (matching foster children with foster families to suit the child's needs and carers abilities) and Foster Care Recruitment/Training/Carer Support worker for Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO). Virginia has knowledge and skill in positive parenting techniques through the TFCO program and crisis counselling through Lifeline and OnCall. She designed the first Cyber Safety Manual specifically aimed at parents and carers of children under court orders. Virginia has worked in conjunction with Child Protection, permanent care and adoption agencies to transition foster children into permanent, loving families. She has lots of direct babysitting experience of children with a range of behaviours within the community, and has her own toddler to chase after at home. 

Virginia regularly apologises for reverting to her ‘Loud Greek Mum’ voice when talking on the phone. Virginia works Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday.

Adovcacy and Support Advisor - Better Futures and Home Stretch

Mary joined PCA Families in 2022. She is a social worker with 30 years experience, with a particular expertise in working with people from linguistically diverse backgrounds. More recently Mary has been assessing risk of harm to vulnerable children, their respective families and their community networks. She has a vast knowledge of the Child Protection System and Melbourne Children's Court processes and has worked closely with various sectors of the police force and other professionals.

In her spare time Mary enjoys spending time with her beloved dog Charlie, getting outdoors enjoying long walks in nature and taking every possible opporunity to go campling with family and friends!

Zahra Shire

Client Services Officer - Team Lead

Zahra joined PCA Families in November 2020 as a Client Services Officer. She has over 5 years’ experience in the administration and client services sector. She has provided classroom educational support working with children who have special needs. Most recently Zahra was involved with the Australian Red Cross migrant support program, providing assistance to refugees and asylum seekers while working with families and children who were experiencing financial hardships, homelessness and job loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This is where she learnt the importance of holding a client centered approach to ensure their needs were met.

Zahra is passionate about working with families with the goal to create the best possible outcome especially with culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds. Zahra is due to finish her studies this year and will be a cross-cultural counsellor. Zahra works full time from Monday to Friday.

Client Services Officer

Tish joined PCA Families in early 2022 as a Client Services Officer. Since then, Tish has worked across multiple teams in the organisation including the Flexi-Funding team and the Better Futures team, which has given her great knowledge and experience of the organisations processes and structure.

Before starting with PCA Families Tish obtained her Bachelor of Legal and Dispute studies.She undertook multiple volunteer positions throughout her degree which helped her to gain exposure to the social justice sector, such as with Launch Housing and the Neighbourhood Justice Centre. She spent the last few years working as an events coordinator for a peak body in mental health.

Tish is now returning to study fulltime as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Her days are Monday, Tuesday, Friday.

Deborah Hunt

Office Manager & Member Engagement

Deborah has worked at PCA Families since it became a non-for-profit organisation in 2011.  Prior to this she worked at Telstra opening up licensed shops across Australia in between taking maternity leave.  Deborah has had many admistrative roles throughout her working life including Account Manager at a PR firm and Executive Assistant at Pacific Brands.  She has volunteered  with many community organisations. 

Deborah grew up in kinship care with her grandparents and together with her husband has two adopted children from South Korea.  Deborah works Monday to Thursday.

Sonia Wagner

Digital and Content Marketing Manager

Sonia joined PCA Families in January 2020 as Project Manager. Sonia is an experienced Education Manager with a demonstrated history of managing educational programs in schools (national graffiti and alcohol education programs) and the broader community (from social and emotional resilience to sports and coding programs). Sonia enjoys partnering with experts to present the best possible program to influence attitudes and behaviours, with research informed practical strategies.  It is these skills that translate into her work on our Youtube recordings, Click and Connect groups and our Social Media.

Sonia brings her years of experience as a parent, long term intercultural foster carer, early childhood educator and school and community leader to better the lives of families. Sonia has a range of qualifications including a Masters of Business, Chartered Accounting and a Diploma of Child Care. Sonia is passionate about and has lived experience of the difference one person or one moment can make in another person’s life. Sonia works Tuesday and Wednesday.