Special CEO Update on the National School Chaplaincy Program

A Funding Update from the CEO of YouthCARE

YouthCARE welcomes the announcement of the New Labor Federal Government for its support of school communities through the school chaplaincy program with the addition of student welfare workers being introduced to the program.

This announcement augments funding to the strong support YouthCARE’s school chaplaincy has received from the McGowan Labor Government and successive previous state governments in Western Australia. 

In 2021, the McGowan Labor Government made a significant step and committed to funding school chaplaincy for any state schools that wishes to access this service. The program is currently being rolled out in WA with overwhelming subscription for the service.

“The school chaplaincy service has strong support in the Western Australian community” said Tamsyn Cullingford, the CEO of YouthCARE.

She said that “For over 40 years, YouthCARE’s school chaplains have made a vital contribution by supporting the wellbeing of students and school communities as part of the school’s wider welfare support program. The work of our chaplains has been critical in supporting school communities, especially during the height of the COVID-19 challenges faced by our community.”

YouthCARE’s school chaplains are well trained. They hold a minimum Certificate IV in community services or equivalent, with over 70 % of chaplains exceeding this minimum qualification and a significant number holding graduate qualifications in related fields, such as human services, education, social science and pastoral care.

Alongside its school chaplaincy services, YouthCARE also provides its highly valued Pastoral Critical Incidence Chaplaincy service to school communities in response to critical incidents throughout WA.  In addition to this, YouthCARE also provides chaplaincy to school principals in several regional and remote communities.

YouthCARE looks forward to working with the Federal Minister in support of school chaplaincy in Western Australia.

Special CEO Announcement

A message from the Chairman of YouthCARE

Dear Friends,

On behalf of the Board of YouthCARE, I take great pleasure in welcoming Tamsyn Cullingford as the in-coming CEO of the Churches’ Commission on Education Incorporated.

Following a comprehensive selection process that was led by Rev’d Stephen Francis, along with Bishop Don Sproxton, Dr Kaaren Watts and Ms Li Ai Gamble, Tamsyn stood out as the best candidate to lead YouthCARE.

Tamsyn comes to the organisation with wide experience in the health sector both in Western Australia and Queensland. She has held a number of leadership roles with the last being an Executive Director in Queensland Health in Mount Isa.

The in-coming CEO has a strong commitment to her faith with a long association with the Catholic, Baptist, and Anglican church traditions.

We look forward to the vision and leadership that Tamsyn will bring to the organisation in guiding it to its next phase.

Over the coming weeks and months, Tamsyn will work with Stanley to familiarise herself with the organisation and meet with a wide range of supporters, volunteers and staff.

The handover period will take place over a number of months. Tamsyn will be formally taking over as CEO at the Annual General Meeting on 30 March 2022. Stanley will assume the role of out-going CEO until the first week of July 2022.

The Board will have more to say about the completion of the current CEO’s appointment over the next few weeks.

The Board thanks all supporters for their prayerful support and encouragement during the appointment process. We also thank Stanley and Liesl, our Head of Human Services for assisting the Board and the Recruitment and Discernment committee.

We invite all who are associated with YouthCARE, to warmly welcome Tamsyn and offer prayers for God’s blessings for Tamsyn, Dan and their two girls.

Yours most sincerely

Glenn Bergsma FAICD

A message from the Incoming CEO

Dear Friends and Supporters of YouthCARE

It is with great joy and excitement that I join the YouthCARE family as the incoming CEO of the Churches’ Commission on Education Incorporated. I feel so blessed to be joining an organisation that values and lives out respect, compassion, and service in everything that it does.

I grew up in South Africa and migrated to Western Australia in 2005 at the age of 20. Having always wanted to serve and help others, I completed a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy at the University of Notre Dame, and started my career at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital. I worked as a physiotherapist for several years before discovering a love for service improvement, change management and innovation. I subsequently completed a Master of Business Administration to further develop my knowledge in these areas, and am a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. I have also recently commenced studying a Master in Divinity (part-time) as I seek to serve YouthCARE, its staff and its communities.

For the past 10 years I have worked in senior roles across the public health sector in Western Australia and Queensland, including in project management, change management, financial recovery, and operations management. Most recently, I have worked for Queensland Health as an Executive Director in a remote health service, covering over 200,000 square kilometers of North West Queensland. I have a strong interest in innovation, policy development and corporate governance, and I am deeply passionate about reaching people, especially those who are at risk or disadvantaged.

My wonderful husband, Daniel, is a Perth local and works as an electrical engineer, and we have two daughters, Mabel (four years old) and Molly (three years old). Since returning to Perth in December 2021, we have attended a local church, and have been incredibly blessed by the encouragement and support from our church leadership and community.

I want to thank the Board, the Recruitment and Discernment Committee, Liesl, and Stanley for their support, prayer and encouragement throughout the application and appointment process.

I so look forward to meeting each of you and to walking alongside you as we continue to express God’s love and presence in the lives of young West Australians through the wonderful work that YouthCARE does.


Tamsyn Cullingford