The Northern Rivers therapy team is made up of the handler, Carolina Cabezas, and the canine ‘Belle’ the Golden Retriever.
Belle – Northern Rivers Therapy Dog
Golden Retriever & Head Snuggler
Belle is a female Golden Retriever who is Certified by Lead the Way Institute. She is Certified at Foundation and Advanced level Animal Assisted Therapy and Canine Interventions having graduated from the Foundations course in 2016 and completed the advanced course in 2017. Belle continues to maintain her foundations level qualifications and is planned to reattain her advanced level qualifications.
Belle has also been assessed and has been part of the Story Dogs Program, a literacy program delivered to children in Primary Schools. Currently, Belle regularly trains with Top Dog Academy.
She is fully vaccinated and has a regular management routine to address allergies, hygiene and has annual veterinarian check-ups. She is the perfect Northern Rivers therapy dog.
Social Worker / Counsellor
Carolina is the handler of Belle. Her qualifications include an undergraduate degree in Social Science with a double major in Counselling and Mediation and Welfare Studies; a Diploma in the Arts; a Diploma in Community Welfare; and a Master of Social Work (Qualifying). She is also an accredited member of the AASW (Australian Social Workers Association) therefore abides by the AASW Code of Ethics (2020) and Practice Standards (2023) of the Association.
For the past twenty years, Carolina has worked in government and non government services supporting families and their children. She was employed by the Department Communities and Justice NSW from 2006 to 2018. During this time Carolina worked with children and their families providing different types of support which varied from Early Intervention assistance to families in their home environment, through to Intensive Support Services for young people with complex trauma backgrounds and in Out of Home Care situations. Previous to this Carolina worked in Youth Homelessness and in Early Childhood Education working with children 3-5 years old in pre school settings where her interest in working with children began. Carolina is currently employed by NSW Health working as a Child & Family Counsellor.
Carolina’s approach to Northern Rivers therapy service is one based in trauma and attachment informed practice which recognises the importance and value of the relationship children can form with their parents/carers and the opportunities this can provide to heal and repair. This in turns increases placement/home stability which can then lead onto better outcomes and increased wellbeing for the child/ young person and their families.
As per requirements of the Office of the Children’s Guardian Child Safe Standards and for the reason that Carolina works in private practice, she can provide parents/caregivers her Working With Children’s Check details and instructions for verification.