Careers at the Department of Communities - child safety

Key employment roles at Communities - child safety

See below for key employment roles at Communities relating to child safety.

Child Protection Worker

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Child Protection Workers work with children, young people and families who are vulnerable or in crisis to ensure children are safe and protected from harm.  They have a legal responsibility to respond to serious concerns about the welfare and safety of children and young people.

There’s no such thing as a typical day for a Child Protection Worker.  You might investigate and assess a report of child abuse or neglect, instigate legal action and attend court, make recommendations on the care and management of children, write a report about the ongoing development of a child in care, map a family tree or plan initiatives to promote the safety and wellbeing of children in the community.

It’s rewarding and fulfilling but it's not an easy job. You’ll need to be empathetic, confident, resilient and able to cope with changing circumstances.  You’ll work with families and other agencies to build respectful and collaborative relationships to deliver support and services to meet the complex needs of families and children.  This will involve a diversity of fields and settings including mental health, education, criminal justice, homelessness and housing, Aboriginal community services, domestic and family violence, refugee services and employment and training.

We’ll support you in your work and your career development with professional supervision, a comprehensive learning pathway that will develop contemporary skills and knowledge, and opportunities to advance your career.

Child Protection Workers are classified as Specified Callings positions. This means that you’ll need a qualification in social work, psychology or other relevant human services area. We assess against our Qualification Assessment Framework, to ensure that you meet the requirements. Find out more about qualifications assessment for Specific Callings positions.

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Field Worker

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If your qualification does not meet the specified callings framework or you have yet to graduate, you may be eligible for a Field Worker position. Field Worker positions are located in regional offices. Field Worker positions are not offered in metropolitan offices. The Field Worker roles are modified Child Protection Worker positions so that they can be appointed without having a relevant qualification. 

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Residential Care Worker

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Our Residential Care Workers create a safe, therapeutic, home-like, and caring environment for children and young people in care 24 hours a day, in one our 14 metropolitan and eight regional group homes.

Residential Care Workers work as part of a care team that assists children and young people to begin to heal from past harm. They support them in daily living and activities and encourage personal growth and the development of life skills. Tasks include household cooking, cleaning organising and participating in recreation activities and assisting with education options as well as any other duties that support children’s wellbeing. The role involves shift work, including staggered start times, evenings, weekends and public holidays.

All Residential Care workers receive training that assists them to understand the effects of trauma and abuse on brain development that results in challenging and confrontational behaviour. Training includes Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, which provides knowledge and strategies to avoid behavioural escalations, as well as the capacity to take physical control of children as an ultimate safety measure.

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Secure Care Workers

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The Secure Care Worker role is an active one. You’ll need to be able to physically manage children, respond to behavioural escalations, and react quickly to prevent children from harming themselves or others. You’ll also need to fulfill domestic duties which will include lifting and at times assisting in the transport of children which might involve driving up to 400km at a time.

Secure Care Workers operate from the Kath French Secure Care Centre (KFSCC) in Stoneville. The KFSCC offers a planned, short-term intensive intervention for children who are at extreme risk and where existing services cannot manage the risk. The secure care service reflects best practice therapeutic services and provides some of Western Australia’s most vulnerable children with their best opportunity to stabilise and begin to address the complex problems and behaviours that prevent them from maintaining longer term placements and transitioning to more independent living.

You’ll undergo training to assist you to understand the effects of trauma and abuse on brain development that results in challenging and confrontational behaviour. The training will include Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, which provides knowledge and strategies to avoid behavioural escalations and to take physical control of children as an ultimate safety measure.

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Aboriginal Practice Leaders

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Aboriginal Practice Leaders are senior Aboriginal staff members who are a part of the District Leadership Team with a specialist role in each district. 

Our Aboriginal Practice Leaders provide a high standard of service and contribute to the ongoing development and implementation of effective practice relating to Aboriginal children, families and communities.

As an Aboriginal Practice Leader, you would provide guidance to the district on working and strengthening the principles, disciplines and tools of the Signs of Safety Child Protection Framework. 

Working with Aboriginal stakeholders, non-government organisations and local communities is an important part of the role.

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Case Support Officers

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Case Support Officers provide direct support to Child Protection Workers. The role is varied, and you might find yourself assisting frontline staff to collect, record and analyse client information or engaging with children and families or government and non-government support agencies, on behalf of the Case Manager. You’ll provide administrative support and maintain client files and other files.

It’s beneficial if you have a Certificate III or IV in Community Services Work (or equivalent) but it’s not essential - you might even be supported with study leave if you want to complete the qualification after you start working with us.

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Psychologists

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Our psychologists work in multidisciplinary teams to promote the safety and well-being of children and young people in their district. In this role, you work autonomously, and apply psychological services in creative, culturally sensitive and flexible ways to children and young people with histories of complex trauma and disrupted attachment, as well as their families and carers.

Senior Consultants and Clinicians are available to Intake and Early Intervention teams for complex consultation and interventions. They provide consultation, conduct psychological assessments and plan and implement interventions with children, young people, their families and carers. Suitably experienced District Psychologists are also required to provide assessments and reports for the Children’s Court and give expert testimony in court.

You’ll need a tertiary qualification to join us as a psychologist. The ideal candidate for this role will have resilience, persistence, clinical acumen, mindfulness, flexibility, leadership and a commitment to optimising the potential of disadvantaged children.

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Senior Practice Development Officers

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The Senior Practice Development Officer (SPDO) plays a key role in providing advice, consultation and assistance to front line staff within their district on operational policy and practice matters and complex casework practice issues.

This role promotes quality practice and continuous improvement in the delivery of services and contributes to the development, monitoring and reviewing of frameworks that will support their operation. The SPDO also provides mentoring and coaching support to other staff.

A successful SPDO will possess sound analytical and risk assessment skills and a tertiary qualification - either a Bachelor or Master of Social Work or a Bachelor of Psychology. Other qualifications in a relevant Human Services area may also be considered.

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Education Officers / Senior Education Officers

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Education Officers develop, identify and maintain appropriate local educational resources and programs to provide education services for children who come under the care of, or to the attention of Communities. They provide educational and social skill development support to children and young people, and co-ordinate and monitor the provision of tuition services for these children.

If you work in one of our group homes it will also be your responsibility to assess the educational abilities of the children and identify appropriate programs or activities to support the child’s development.

The Education Officer reports to the Senior Education Officer who also coordinates, implements and supports education related departmental projects and policy initiatives of a more complex nature. The Senior Education Officer provides education case practice consultation and support to assigned Education Officers.

To be considered for this role, you will need to hold a four year Bachelor Degree in Education or relevant equivalent with demonstrated experience in maintaining schooling and education support to children, schools, carers and/or families; and working and liaising with schooling and alternative education programs.

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Page reviewed 1 June 2022