Jannawi Family Centre

Supporting and Connecting

we contribute to a better future for children, families & communities

Jannawi is a child protection service provider and a national leader in advocacy for the needs of children who have experienced trauma.

More children than ever need help through traumas experienced early in life. Holistic support, that lets children understand and manage their emotions while also addressing practical issues like school, can set them and their families on a positive path to a brighter future. 

The system we currently have needs significant reform. The criminal justice system is an institution itself, like the other ones, with years of history behind it and it is not fit for child sexual abuse matters today.

– Jannawi Family Centre Biljana Milosevic gives evidence to the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse about the effect of the criminal justice system on child victims. (1 December 2016)


Jannawi Family Centre was established as the Wiley Park Centre in 1978 to provide services to vulnerable children, families and communities in Inner West and South Western Sydney. Following a re-structure in 1991, Dharug elders generously gave permission to use the word Jannawi in the service’s name. Jannawi is a Dharug word meaning ‘with me, with you’. It describes our philosophy of walking alongside families to create deep and meaningful change.

Jannawi is an independent, community-based organisation whose primary purpose is to protect children who have experienced trauma through violence, neglect, psychological harm or sexual assault.

Biljana Milosevic is Jannawi’s Director. A Social Worker by training, Biljana leads a team of 8 part-time staff.

An interim evaluation by the University of Sydney of Jannawi’s approach found: “A key outcome for families was preventing the removal of children into out-of-home-care or achieving restoration of their children as the result of working with Jannawi.” The evaluation also described Jannawi’s therapeutic support of children, its work to hold accountable men who perpetrate family violence, and its skills in working with culturally and linguistically diverse families in the most complex circumstances.

Jannawi’s work is primarily funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and support from the community.

Jannawi Family Centre is a registered charity with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status (ABN 13851971562). It receives funds raised in the community to enhance and extend its work with children and families who experience trauma, both through gifts made directly and through Jannawi Connections.


Jannawi Family Centre | Playground Sydney | Lakemba Community


Jannawi Connections was established in 2013 as a separate organisation to raise funds for Jannawi Family Centre, to support valuable initiatives that are outside the scope of its core grants and ultimately expand the unique Jannawi model into new regions such as Sydney’s inner west.

Jannawi Connections Inc. Is a registered charity with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status (ABN 45306019085). Gifts made through the DONATE buttons on this website are directed to Jannawi Connections. Gifts can be also be made by contacting the organization using the links on this website.


Jannawi Family Centre offers counselling, case management, and service navigation support to children and families through two programs:

The Family Program is based on Jannawi’s unique model established in 1978 as one of the first child protection services in Australia. A  multidisciplinary team provides intensive, holistic services to children and families, including working with men who use violence, and shares its knowledge and experience with other services through training and presentations.

The Family Program is a specialist child protection service for families with children aged 0–12 years who have experienced abuse. We support about 60 children every year. Families are referred to us by the Department of Communities and Justice. 

If a family comes to Jannawi early enough – before care proceedings have begun – the Family Program has an outstanding record in keeping children safe and at home.

Families typically attend the program several times a week for one to two years. Our program’s flexibility allows us to see families when they need it – that may be every day in times of stress and less often at other times.

The intensity of our service helps children feel safe and provides opportunities for the family’s growth and development. It also provides us with meaningful information for assessment. 

Our family counsellors and early childhood staff provide a comprehensive range of therapeutic and practical supports to children and parents individually and in groups.

These services would usually need to be sourced from many different agencies. Our families only need to relate to one agency, Jannawi, for all their needs, including:

  • Child protection (assessment, safety planning)
  • General family support (advice, service coordination, information)
  • Therapeutic services (counselling for children and parents)
  • Early childhood assessments and targeted developmental interventions
  • Advocacy
  • Case management
  • Therapeutic groups for children and parents
  • Parenting groups
  • Educational programs for children
  • Recreational and school holiday programs for children
  • Practical support (transport, financial assistance, court support)
  • Supervised access visits (usually for children already in long term care)

Community Connections is a free service for families with young children living in the Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl region. Through playgroups, parenting groups and individual family support, three bilingual workers (Arabic, Vietnamese and Samoan) connect about 300 families every year to services and their local community.

Community Connections is a free service for families with young children living in the Lakemba, Wiley Park and Punchbowl region. Through  playgroups, parenting groups and individual family support, three bilingual workers (Arabic, Vietnamese and Samoan) connect about 300 families every year to services and their local community.

Within three kilometres of Jannawi there are:

  • 2,700 children aged 0–4 years
  • five primary schools
  • more than 60 different cultural groups.

Community Connections promotes the health and wellbeing of children in our local community. Each cultural group has unique features but there are common issues for vulnerable families from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Issues include:

  • a lack of adequate knowledge and confidence in engaging with mainstream services
  • system requirements that make engagement more difficult (for example, the requirement for a computer and internet connection to access Centrelink)
  • structural racism and discrimination which creates additional barriers.

Much of Jannawi’s work is to empower families to be able to advocate for themselves.

Most families who attend Community Connections hear about us via word of mouth from neighbours or friends. This means we often work with families the system sometimes terms as ‘hard to reach’. It is Jannawi’s view that mainstream services can be hard to reach for disadvantaged people from CALD communities, and that many organisations need to improve their cultural responsiveness to meet the needs of our diverse communities.