It is with great sadness and deep respect that St Luke’s Innovative Resources acknowledges the passing of our friend and colleague, Wayne McCashen. Wayne died peacefully at home with loved ones by his side on 14 December 2018, aged 68. His beloved family—his partner Baz, and children Shae and Liam, and dearest friends Di and Shan—described Wayne as a gentle, compassionate and respectful man who contributed greatly to community.
Wayne was a social worker, author, trainer and consultant in the strengths approach. He was a pioneer and leader in the development and articulation of strengths-based practice and has written material and developed various frameworks that are used both nationally and internationally. His many years of experience in human services include youth work, family work, community development, staff supervision and management.
Wayne is the author of three books published by St Luke’s Innovative Resources: Communities of Hope and two editions of The Strengths Approach. He also co-authored Name the Frame, a set of card which, while in print for many years, created conversations and reflection on the components of social justice as they can be enacted in communities, organisations and in daily interactions between people.
Since it was first published in 2005, and with a new edition being released in 2017, Wayne’s book The Strengths Approach became the absolute classic in the distinctive style of human service work known as ‘strengths-based’ practice. Pivotal to this approach is human rights, equal partnership and respect between people or ‘power-with’. In this clear, compassionate and practical book, Wayne synthesizes and clearly articulates the principles, tools and frameworks that help create effective, socially-just ways of working with people. Near the beginning of the book, Wayne writes:
‘The strengths approach is a positive, powerful and profound philosophy for practice that has the power to transform and build interdependence and community. For many it is not only a philosophy for practice but also a philosophy for life, because it is built on attitudes and values so deeply respectful of people’s intrinsic worth, their potential and their human rights.’
For Wayne, it was never enough simply to espouse the philosophy of the strengths approach—he led by example, travelling that often challenging road of living it in his life, right in the nitty-gritty context of daily interactions. And, he was passionate in training people all over Australia in this approach.
St Luke’s Innovative Resources is deeply indebted to Wayne’s major contribution to the understanding and articulation of the strengths approach in human services. Our resources and training stand squarely on this solid foundation, and we feel very privileged to have known Wayne, to have worked alongside him, and to have benefitted so fully from his uplifting company.