A partnership between Homelessness NSW,
Domestic Violence NSW and Yfoundations

Stephanie Oatley from Platform Youth Services

Leading Practitioner Award Nominee

Stephanie Oatley from Platform Youth Services

Please give your reasons for nominating this person.

Stephanie Oatley is a very familiar face and someone who is well respected and held in high regard across the welfare sector of Western Sydney making significant impact in the homeless youth space for over 25 years. Whilst she has worked in refuges, on street work projects, family restorative service, youth centres and government departments it is her various management positions held for over twenty years where her commitment, dedication and passion has helped shape the youth homeless service system in Western Sydney.

In 2012 Stephanie was approached by Family & Community Services and the opportunity arose for her to work within NYAS (Nepean Youth Accommodation Services) as a change manager to review the future directions of youth homelessness services across the Nepean district. After the consultation and review period Stephanie was able to seamlessly amalgamate BMYASS (Blue Mountains Youth Accommodation Support Services) and NYAS (Nepean Youth Accommodation Services) and this was then the creation of Platform Youth Services.  

Stephanie is the CEO of Platform Youth Services, a multi-facet youth accommodation and support service covering the Nepean Blue Mountains LGA’s. She has successfully led the Platform team through reforms, restructures, expansion, partnerships and built Platforms’ solid reputation as a collaborative quality service where young people are front and centre. This is evident in the recent reallocation of resources to create a team of Assertive Outreach Workers to work with the most vulnerable young people who are not aware of the existing service system.

Stephanie has been and is proactively involved in many key working groups, management boards, advocacy groups, projects, collaborations and reference groups all within the homelessness sector and through the duration of her amazing career to date and all while keeping abreast of policy to keep Platform at the forefront of policy direction changes before change is imposed.

It has been Stephanie who has created an environment and culture within Platform that it sees us as a preferred place of employment within the homelessness sector.

What outcomes were delivered as a result of this person?

Stephanie was awarded ZEST Outstanding Community Leader – Paid Capacity in 2014.
In 2018 she has implemented a robust 12-month leadership program for the emerging leaders at Platform building a communities of practice of adaptive leaders. It is this creative innovation that has seen Stephanie earn the respect of her peers and the team at Platform which supports the development of positive teams within Platform and then positively impacting the homelessness sector across Western Sydney.

Stephanie has grown Platform to see us have six key formal partnership arrangements ensuring that clients are front and centre and that we are supporting the good work others are doing with young people. Her partnerships are evident in all aspects of her work.  

The YHMD (Youth Homeless Matters Day) campaign originated from Stephanie’s idea to create a community awareness campaign specifically around youth homelessness in the early 2000’s and this has continued to develop into a national day of action. Stephanie is an active member on the Homelessness NSW Board and has been proactively involved in many key working groups, advocacy groups, projects, collaborations and reference groups throughout her career.

Stephanie has made an extraordinary impact on the Youth Homelessness Sector and the Specialist Homeless Service system through her commitment, dedication and passion to ensure viable and sustainable service system for young people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.

On ending this final paragraph, our sector is so very lucky to have someone in this role who is such a strong advocate for young people and around youth homelessness and does so with vision, purpose, understanding and drive and without her would leave such a gap that I do not truly see anyone else ever being able to fulfil. Her warm smile, great humour, caring face, makes her even more cherished and respected not just within Platform but across our sector in the Western Sydney and abroad.

Reference statement:

Emma Jordan

I am writing in support of Stephanie Oatley’s nomination for Leading Practitioner Award.
I have known and worked with Stephanie for approximately 18 years. During this time Stephanie has supported me and providing mentoring through the many roles I have held; from support worker, Youth Residential Worker, to Case manager and into the management position I hold today.

I have come to admire Stephanie, for two strong characteristics. The first is Stephanie’s people skills. Stephanie is able to engage with a wide range of people; from the most challenging client, to partners, and high- level stakeholders, as well as those in influential positions. She has the ability to make those around her feel calm, comfortable and open in discussion. She has a friendly and approachable nature that people are drawn to.

Stephanie’s work background and life experiences see that she is able to share stories, and insights with others that displays true compassion and empathy as well as a strong sense of social justice. I can confidently state that Platform staff feel blessed to have a CEO who is supportive, encouraging, approachable, engaging, and funny and most all dynamic.

Which brings me to the second characteristic. It is Stephanie’s deep desire and commitment to ensuring ALL young people are provided the best opportunities to succeed and fulfil happy adult lives. She has amazing vision and ability to inspire others, implementing that vision into service delivery in Platform and in the sector.
Others in the sector have come to trust her ideas, as she continues to be innovative with program developments.  Stephanie’s creative thinking has seen her become a leading Practitioner in the Youth Homelessness and Specialist Homeless Service systems through her commitment, dedication and passion to ensure viable and sustainable service systems for young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.