About KARI | Aboriginal Support Services

General Overview of KARI’s Aboriginal Services

Established in 1999, KARI has supported the Aboriginal community by delivering quality programming and services.

After 17 years of successful operations, the KARI Board of Directors understood the outcomes for our community could be further achieved by increased collaboration between Government, Corporate Australia, the non-Indigenous community and Aboriginal Australia.

With this in mind, we knew that it was in the best interest of the community to establish two community organisations. KARI Limited to continue to be the leader in Aboriginal child protection and KARI Foundation to build investment and deliver opportunities for our community.

Today, KARI is proud to employ over 170 people, with approximately 80% of our staff identifying as Aboriginal. We have established offices in South West Sydney, Sydney Metro and Western Sydney. We strive to offer a continuum of award-winning services that all begin at general community engagement. Our commitment to providing high quality, sustainable services and programs that benefit our community is unwavering.

As a result, KARI has been recognised by many as one of the nation’s leading Aboriginal service providers. We seek to help our community flourish, believe in helping our families to grow strong and we will continue to be the best we can for our community.

KARI Limited

At KARI Limited, we live by our mission, vision and values. These are reflected in all aspects of the work that we do.

Limited is the largest Aboriginal foster care agency. In that time, our goal remains focused on two things:

  • Ensuring the Aboriginal community has access to culturally-specific foster care services
  • Access to quality, holistic services

Our services then progress to models of early intervention and ultimately work to deliver an effective foster care program. We do this all with the end goal of family restoration and preservation.

KARI Limited offers the following Indigenous services:

Our Mission

Building strength in families and services.

Our Vision

Flourishing Aboriginal families, youth and communities.

Our Values

KARI is guided by seven values:

1. Innovation

Review everything you do and seek ways to improve both the process and the outcome.

2. Access

Where possible, KARI services are made available to all Aboriginal people in a community.

3. Professionalism

Always strive to offer the highest possible standard of service, on time, as promised – we are all accountable for keeping our promise.

4. Strength through Culture

Aboriginal people should experience culture as a living reality, bringing with it a sense of identity and confidence.

5. Respect

Everyone deserves to be respected. At KARI we will speak openly, honestly, and always respectfully.

6. Unity of Purpose

On any professional issues that arise, we work together and speak with one voice. We will also seek out new community partnerships to achieve Aboriginal goals.

7. Excellence

Every day, we provide the best possible standards of service.
Every day, we strive to be the benchmark provider of quality services to Aboriginal people.

These values are expressed in KARI’s practical service standards, which are consistently benchmarked and measured.

KARI Foundation

KARI Foundation is guided by seven pillars:

1. Culture

Connecting our community and educating non-Aboriginal Australia

2. Education

Providing opportunity to successfully transition through all desired levels of education.

3. Employment and Aboriginal Business Enterprise

Creating pathways to sustainable outcomes utilising cultural focused mentoring and expertise.

4. Sport and Healthy Lifestyle

Providing access to participation, mental well being, social inclusion and elite pathways.

5. Creative and Performing Arts

Nurturing and showcasing Aboriginal talent.

6. Families and Community

Programs guided by the needs and values of our community.

7. Sector Leadership and Financial Management

Demonstrating the benchmark and creating aspiration of excellence.


KARI Ltd and KARI Foundation Board of Directors are made up of six individuals, each with their own vast range of knowledge and experience that will ensure our future growth and community success for years to come.

Gary Potts – Chairman

Gary, a Wiradjuri Man originally from Parkes NSW, has spent the majority of his days in Campbelltown. A proud father, grandfather and a devoted husband to his loving wife Debbie, Gary has been a leader in Aboriginal Affairs since 1992. He’s held a number of positions on boards and committees in the Campbelltown/Liverpool areas and is currently employed with the NSW Department of School Education, where he performs a crucial role as an Aboriginal Specialist.

Both Gary and Debbie know firsthand the trials and tribulations that come with being a foster carer – they also know the rewards. They themselves have been foster carers for a number of years.

Gary is honoured to be KARI’s Chairperson and is thrilled to see the service grow to become a leader in the field of Aboriginal child protection, prevention and community capacity building.

Isabelle Phillips – Director

Isabelle Phillips is a leadership expert, Founder of consultancy Mackerel Sky – Leadership Matters and Co-Founder of Mindfulness for the Global Village. Her enterprise work focuses on assisting leaders to create spaces for workforce populations to flourish and thrive.

Isabelle has a powerful track record actively supporting Aboriginal Australians in the workplace. She also brings the business case for diversity and inclusion to her government and corporate client base. Clients reap diversity dividends, crash through unconscious bias, and position their enterprises to succeed in the global village.

Isabelle is currently completing a PhD in Mindful Leadership, which is a strong focus in her consultancy work. Her research investigates the fascinating links between mindful leadership and workplace performance, and wellness. An authority in evidence-based approaches to contemporary leadership challenges, her recent engagements include driving conscious inclusion for leaders throughout Transport for NSW and University of Newcastle, mindful leadership for leaders at icare, authentic leadership in luxury brands including Dior Couture, LVMH and Benefit; and global leadership APNIC.

Isabelle holds non-executive director roles in the NFP and Foundation sectors. She enjoys lecturing in Positive Psychology, Mindfulness and Leadership at the the UTS Business School. She is a seasoned speaker, master trainer and expert coach.

Steve Ella – Director

MPhil (Med), GradDip-IndigHP

Steve is an Aboriginal man from the Yuin Nation on the South Coast of NSW however grew up in the Aboriginal community of La Perouse. Steve is the Manager of Nunyara Aboriginal Health Unit for the Central Coast Local Health District, has a 20 year background in Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol work and was inducted into the National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Honour Roll in 2012 at the National Indigenous Drug Alcohol conference in Fremantle, he was awarded the First Peoples award at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs (APSAD) conference in Brisbane in 2013.

Steve is a member of the NSW Health Aboriginal Directors and Managers Strategic Leadership Group and previously lectured at Sydney University as an Adjunct lecturer. Steve also has co-authored a handbook for Aboriginal Alcohol and Drug Work and is an Associate Investigator with the Centre of Research Excellence- Indigenous Health and Alcohol Research

Paul Ralph – Director

A founding member of KARI and former CEO, Paul is a proud Aboriginal man with family connections from both the North Coast and South Coast of NSW. For the past 35 years he has lived in Gandangara Country, South West Sydney.

During his professional career, Paul has worked across a number of important Aboriginal portfolios specific to employment outcomes, housing, education and human services. Such a position has given him the opportunity to visit many Aboriginal communities and witness firsthand the vast social issues affecting Indigenous Australians today – as well as the sheer resilience of the world’s oldest culture.

Since 1999, Paul has been committed to working exclusively in the Aboriginal community sector and has found this to be the most challenging and exciting time of his professional career.

Casey Ralph – KARI CEO

Casey is a proud Aboriginal woman with connections to the north and south coasts of NSW. She has spent the majority of her life living on Gandangara Country in South Western Sydney.

Casey started her career working in education and in 2005 transitioned to working within the community welfare sector. She is now the current CEO of both KARI Ltd and KARI Foundation Ltd.

Casey is passionate about ensuring that Aboriginal children, families and communities have every opportunity afforded to them and is committed to designing and implementing innovative programs that empower, support and enhance skill development.