This client applied for a role of Team Leader Child Protection in state (WA) government. The selection criteria component involved addressing five (5) criteria in three (3) pages. Her application successfully guaranteed a job interview. Following are excerpts from 3 of the criteria.

Advanced supervision, management, leadership skills and experience in working in a multi-disciplinary team setting.

I have had extensive experience working in a multi-disciplinary team setting, comprising child protection practitioners, support staff, project officers, and non-Government officers. I value the input and expertise from other professionals and work collaboratively with them to achieve better outcomes for families. I place a strong emphasis on case discussions that occur within a multidisciplinary team and the sharing of the decision-making responsibilities on complex cases. During my various roles in Victoria, I oversaw large numbered care teams comprising psychologists, residential care workers, team leaders, education officers, carers, parents, and when suitable, the children. Over time, strong working relationships were formed; I drew on the strengths and expertise of each individual in the team to provide integrated and all-inclusive service delivery which led to significant outcomes for children. In addition, I have been a member of management teams where I have provided formal case reviews, solutions to complex issues, advice to program managers, and contributed to effective service delivery and program direction via the provision of ideas and recommendations on how to improve and deliver services and programs in a more efficient manner.

Advanced skills and understanding of contemporary casework and practice models and methods and their application in working with children, families and communities.

The Circle Program – formally known as ‘Therapeutic Foster Care’ – is an innovative foster care program delivered jointly by GGG Child and Family Services and the Department of HHH. The major emphasis of the Circle Program is the provision of high quality care to children and young people requiring out of home care placements, based on the understanding of trauma and abuse and the individual needs of each child. During my tenure as Senior Practitioner, I was involved in the program development, implementation and review of the Circle Program in the BBB Region. This involved working collaboratively with stakeholders to contribute to the successful development and implementation of the program at both regional and program levels. I established and maintained positive and reciprocal relationships with key stakeholders relevant to the Circle Program and other key professionals integrated in a child’s life in order to contribute to the development and implementation of an evaluation, monitoring and review strategy for the Program. We collaborated on identifying gaps or weaknesses in the Program and in devising strategies to address these, and to improve the Program at a regional and state wide level.

Sound understanding of contemporary issues and challenges in the field of child protection and approaches to enhancing child safety and wellbeing.

As an experienced Team Leader, I am very aware of the issues and challenges in the field of child protection. Child protection services across Australia are struggling to manage the volume of work, particularly at the ‘front end’ with the increase in reports of child abuse and ‘at-risk’ families in need of support services. There are numerous reasons for the increased demand on child protection services and statutory intervention, including a broadening scope of what is considered a child protection issue, greater community awareness, and recognition of children’s rights. For example, exposure to family violence is now a major child protection issue; whereas a few decades ago, the traumatic effects of family violence on children were not as well known or researched and the issue would have been unlikely to meet the threshold for intervention. Also, the over representation of Indigenous Australians in the child protection system remains a current issue. Other current challenges include the need for more secondary family support services (early intervention and prevention); the increasing number of children in care and the lack of placement options to meet their complex needs; difficulty in supporting families with multiple and complex needs; and the challenge of recruiting, retaining and supporting a skilled child protection workforce.

In terms of approaches to enhancing child safety and wellbeing, it is essential to provide integrated service delivery to address the multiple and complex needs of many families in the child protection system. This involves working in collaboration with child protection team members, family members, foster carers and other agencies in sharing relevant information, and regularly reviewing and adjusting the intervention plan as required in accordance with the best interests of the child.

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Annie Cerone