| The Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) is the national professional association for community work practitioners. |
New supervisor-supported assessment tool
Hard on the heels of the profession's new practice guidelines and self-assessment tool last edition, we are happy to add a supervisor-assisted assessment tool to the growing collection of resources available.
This assessment tool has been designed for a practitioner and supervisor to work through together, making it ideal for performance monitoring or reviews. The indicators are taken from the Australian Community Work Practice Guidelines and represent the ideal in professional practice.
The tool takes into account that no two practitioners or workplaces are the same and that some of the indicators of good practice may be only partially in evidence if, for example, a practitioner is new to the job, the organisation is part of a larger organisation, or the practitioner is a new graduate or employee.
Download the supervisor-supported assessment tool as a PDF file
Download the supervisor-supported assessment tool as a Word file
Access the self-assessment tool and practice guidelines here.
The abolition and replacement 457 visas and what it means for skilled welfare workers
By now you will have heard of the Federal Government's decision to discontinue the visa subclass 457 (temporary work visa) and replace it with a new and more restricted, Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa. As part of this process 216 occupations have been removed from the list of eligible skilled occupations.
As the authorised assessing body for the occupations 'Welfare Worker' and 'Welfare Centre Manager' we have followed this news closely and can confirm that these two occupations have not been removed. Welfare workers often apply for a 457 visa when they are being sponsored by an employer who has been unable to fill the position locally.
The new visa category will require applicants to hold a higher level of English language ability and relevant work experience than before. However, ACWA skills assessment guidelines already require English proficiency for all applicants and work experience in relevant cases. Therefore, our assessing guidelines will remain unchanged.
Extensive aged care workforce information released
The 2016 National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey (NACWCS), the fourth in a series, provides a comprehensive look at the residential aged care, and the home care and support workforce.
A census of employers and a survey of employees was conducted on behalf of the Department of Health and the data collected covers information such as the size and composition of the workforce, the characteristics of workers and their employers and the experiences of working in the sector.
Key findings include:
Overall it was found that aged care has a highly committed and stable workforce that predominantly wishes to stay working in the sector.
- the proportion of men in the workforce continues to grow, albeit slowly and from a small base
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people account for around 1-2% of the workforce, with no substantial growth
- Access to ongoing training is common with over 75% of workers having participated in work-related training in the previous 12 months.
- Multiple job holding is far more common within aged care than in the whole Australian workforce. Most of the additional jobs of multiple job holders were within the aged and disability care sectors with the need to supplement hours or income from their main aged care job given as the primary reason for multiple jobs by respondents.
Download the report
Youth in detention updates
How Australia treats young people in detention is currently in the spotlight across Australia and rightfully so.
This month the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory released its interim report featuring emerging themes. The Commissioners make it clear that its too early to put forward recommendations, but that the evidence so far 'reveals a youth detention system that is likely to leave many children and young people more damaged than when they entered.’
Over in Victoria, the Commission for Children and Young People has released its report on the use of isolation, separation and lockdowns in the Victorian youth justice system. The inquiry began in response to concerns about children and young people being isolated for extended periods outside of legislative and procedural rules, and the report concludes that the evidence collected has confirmed this.
The state government's response is included in the report and largely rebuts the points made except for a few acknowledgements.
On a national level, the AIHW has released new data on youth justice for the 2015-2016 period including state and territory breakdowns which you can access here.
Resources for professional practice
Disability service review site Clickability expands into NSW
Clickability, an online disability service directory and review site, has expanded into New South Wales following a successful run in Victoria.
Founded in 2014 by two social workers, the platform collects ratings and reviews from the community, making it easier for others to then compare services. This is particularly apt given the introduction of the NDIS and focus on consumer choice and control. Of course the more services added and reviews on the site the more valuable it will become to users.
Visit clickability here
Calls for input
Draft NSW Child Safe Principles plus free e-learning
The NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian is seeking comment on a draft set of guidelines and principles for creating a child safe organisation informed by the research and findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
The guidelines have been developed to assist organisations to think about strategies, in addition to the Working with Children Check, that can help keep children safe.
Download the draft publication and complete the feedback survey here.
In related news, The Office of the Children’s Guardian has also launched a free online learning tool to help staff and volunteers in all child-related organisations to build their capacity to become child-safe. You can access the e-learning here.
Draft Queensland plan to take action on crystal methamphetamine
The Queensland Government is building a plan to tackle the use and effects of the drug Ice (crystal methamphetamine) and is seeking input into its Action on Ice
draft action plan. The plan aims to break the cycle of drug use and path to addiction, with a focus on reducing supply, reducing demand and minimising harm.
In particular, the Government wants views on how effective implementation arrangements are for existing initiatives outlined in the draft plan; how government can support community-led initiatives to tackle ice; and any potential gaps in the proposed response.Download the draft plan
and provide feedback here
Victorian family violence workforce census
The Victorian Government is developing a 10 year industry plan but for this to be possible, a clearer picture of all workers who, in some way, interact with family violence is needed.
If you have a role in preventing and responding to family violence in Victoria, you are invited to take part in a family violence workforce census. This includes workers in housing, legal services, justice and corrections, migrant services and mental health just to name a few.
Questions relate to demographics, qualifications, professional development, working conditions, remuneration, well-being and future intentions.
The census will be open until 5 May 2017 here.
In your interest
Coming soon - new workforce survey
ACWA is currently developing a survey to gather more information about the ways employers support community workers and the degree to which they do so. The survey will be aimed directly at practitioners so we can build up an detailed picture of workers' experiences and use this information for our advocacy and policy work. We hope to have the survey open for responses by June.
How will you be celebrating Neighbourhood House Week?
Running from 1-7 May this year, Neighbourhood House Week is a national initiative spearheaded by peak body Linkwest. Also called neighbourhood centres, community centres or community resource centres, these locally run organisations are a means of bringing people together to respond to issues of importance to them.
This year's theme is 'belonging' in recognition that the centres belong to the community, and in turn they offer the community a welcoming space where they can feel a part of something: a place to belong.
Many ACWA members work or have volunteered at neighbourhood houses and we know they will be celebrating. Contact your local centre to find out what it has planned.
Source: Deakin University and Family & Relationship Services Australia (FRSA)
Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future
This report investigates the current and future potential for the children and families field to take a greater prevention and early intervention approach in service delivery to remedy risk factors and enhance protective factors. Ultimately moving to improve the well-being of the children, families and communities we serve.
Download the report
NDIA’s Rural and Remote Strategy 2016-2019 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement StrategySource: National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA)
The NDIA has released its two new strategies drawing upon the existing strengths and features of rural and remote communities, along with engaging in the ‘proper way’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.The strategies focus on enabling quality engagement, service delivery and leadership to ensure the successful delivery of the NDIS.
Download the Rural and Remote Strategy 2016-2019
Download the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Strategy
National Social Housing Survey: a summary of national results 2016Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
This report presents a national summary of the results of the 2016 National Social Housing Survey (NSHS), and reports findings from public housing, community housing and state owned and managed Indigenous housing tenants.
Download the report
2017 Child Aware Approaches Conference
15-16 May 2017, Brisbane QLD
Organised by Families Australia, this two day national conference aims to advance the goals of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 – 2020, the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022, and advance the well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The event will do this by encouraging thought leaders to stimulate discussion on how to make Australia an even better place for children and young people. View the program for the full presenter line-up.
Click on the position title for full details
Child Protection Rural After Hours Opportunities
Department of Health & Human Services
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the recently formed, highly motivated Rural After Hours Team (Mildura) as Child Protection Practitioner (CPP3), Advanced Child Protection Practitioner (CPP4) or Team Manager (CPP5). Program Manager
Wesley Brighter Futures (Dundas, NSW)
The Brighter Futures program provides voluntary child focused targeted support to vulnerable families with children aged 0-8 years to prevent them from entering or escalating into the child protection system.
CPP5 Mildura Opportunities (Child Protection)
Department of Health & Human Services (Mildura, VIC)
Located in the Mildura Office, outstanding opportunities currently exist for highly motivated senior practitioners to join the vibrant Child Protection Team in the capacity of Team Manager & Senior Child Protection Practitioner.
Advanced Child Protection Practitioner – Targeted Care Package (TCP)
Department of Health & Human Services (Bendigo, VIC)
As a Child Protection Practitioner (CPP3) or Advanced Child Protection Practitioner (CPP4), you will work with children who are at risk of abuse or neglect.