Job Title: Plan Support Coordinator
Strong understanding of the needs of people with disability and experience in leading programs to enhance community participation
As a senior Social Worker, with extensive experience across the health and community services sectors, I have led, or contributed to, a number of programs aimed at enhancing member community participation. Currently I am employed as a Family Violence Program Facilitator, where I work with Indigenous offenders to educate, and provide alternative strategies, for addressing issues which result in family violence. The program is an alternative sentencing option to imprisonment, and it aims to give offenders the skills, abilities and supports they need to stay in their community, and remain linked to their family, without violence.
I also have extensive experience working in the Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) sector, providing a range of treatment and education services to clients, families and community members. My role was to provide the structure and support that clients and their families needed to allow those with alcohol and drug issues to reintegrate into their community and lives. I also worked with a range of lifestyle and relapse management groups, as well as other treatment and education programs, to enhance the support structures for clients back in the community.
Working within the ATOD field has also provided me with an excellent understanding of a range of disabilities that are often linked to clients with alcohol and drug issues. This can include psychiatric disabilities that predate ATOD issues, physical disabilities, such as acquired brain injuries caused by, or linked to, addictions, and intellectual disabilities, once again caused by or pre-existing substance abuse. My experience in this area includes, providing care coordination, counselling, advocacy, mediation, referral and support for individuals, families and groups in the inpatient, outpatient and community setting. This has given me a clear insight into the impact of disability on daily living, and the implications for the family and friends of the person with the disability.
In my current and previous roles, I have looked at the support needs of individuals, taking into account a range of information about the person’s issues, as well as their personal circumstances and contextual issues. In my present position this can incorporate poverty, inadequate housing, transitory family members, chaotic living conditions, and isolation from mainstream services. I need to be able to provide realistic and practical advice to clients and their families in situations where there is limited support available, and to help individuals to build their own capacity to deal with these situations.
Strong communication skills with the ability to adapt and negotiate in a flexible and changing environment
I have excellent communication skills, and have led negotiations and consultations with a diverse variety of clients. This has ranged from liaising with senior management within the health sector to establish service delivery partnerships, through to managing community engagement strategies in remote Aboriginal communities. As a Family Violence Program Facilitator, I work with representatives from Indigenous communities to modify the content of the program, and with Indigenous co-facilitators, providing them with training, support and guidance to deliver the program.
I also need to adapt the program that I deliver in response to requirements of the participants. This means working with all the participants (usually between 6-12 people) to determine their focus, needs and level of engagement with the process. I need to be flexible with regards to content delivery, while still remaining focused on achieving the goals of the program. This includes listening to, and exploring the diverse views of participants. This ability to integrate diverse views, also applies to the community liaison work that I undertake before I deliver a program. I will often consult with community elders, local service providers and other relevant stakeholders to ensure that the program is relevant and accessible to the participants.
I also deliver the program to people for whom English is not their first language. I need to keep my language clear, and ensure that the key messages are reaching my audience. I am focused on ensuring that I impart skills and knowledge in a way that is accessible and engaging to my audience. I have also worked with clients with significant hearing loss. Once again, I ensure that key information is being taken on-board, and use various strategies to confirm this.
Working within the fields of family violence and ATOD services, I have also developed expertise in handling complex and sensitive conversations. I often deal with individuals and their families in emotionally charged situations, where the issues are complicated by anger, guilt, fear and shame. I have to manage conversations with clients that are impacted by these emotional issues, while still staying focused on achieving successful outcomes for them.
It is also relevant that I have utilised my communication skills to work effectively within multidisciplinary teams, ensuring the provision of integrated services and programs to individuals, and within regions and communities. This includes providing information, education, and guidance to relevant community stakeholders, such as local support groups and service providers.
Demonstrated ability to build productive relationships with a wide range of people internal and external to your organisation
Throughout my professional career my strong interpersonal skills have enabled me to develop collaborative and productive partnerships with relevant stakeholders. They have also allowed me to consult and negotiate effectively with both internal and external community and health care professionals to facilitate the delivery of improved service outcomes for clients and families. In my current role, my clients are referred to the program through a variety of channels, including the court system, Community Corrections, Police, and Department of Children and Family Services. I liaise with all these stakeholders regarding the participation of clients, and provide advice and information to these, and other relevant organisations, to facilitate an integrated approach to this service.
Working within the ATOD sector I also gained experience in delivering appropriate training and ongoing support to health service staff, community members and support groups in prevention and harm-reduction models and techniques. I also collaborated with allied service delivery partners in the provision of specific initiatives, such as the Needle and Syringe Program with Queensland Health, and the Queensland Illicit Drug Initiative Program (which provided early intervention services to offenders diverted from the criminal justice system). These collaborations required that I work in alignment with a range of community, government and NGO stakeholders. I also needed to leverage the expertise and knowledge of these stakeholders to ensure that programs were effective, and responsive to the needs of the community. I respect the knowledge of my professional colleagues, and always focus on ensuring that we are working together in the best possible interests of our clients.
I also develop productive relationships with the participants of the programs that I run in relation to the prevention, or reduction, of family violence. My role is to engage all the participants in the program, encourage their contribution, and facilitate their discussions and involvement. I am very clear about the outcomes of the program. I tell participants that I don’t have all the answers, rather my job is to work on the problems, issues and roadblocks with them, helping them to come up with strategies that are realistic and sustainable.
I also work with local communities to ensure they understand the goals of the program, and how they can be engaged and involved in the process. This has included incorporating Indigenous co-facilitators into the program, and encouraging community elders to participate in specific activities.
Exemplify personal drive and integrity
Working within rural and remote locations often incorporates being solely responsible for the development and delivery of programs and services. I have often had complete carriage of projects, and in my current role I coordinate and manage every aspect of the programs I run. This includes determining participants, scheduling, organising venues and accommodation, developing and modifying content, facilitating the course, training co-facilitators, and liaising with various stakeholders across government and community groups. I have also driven all aspects of the community engagement processes required to ensure the successful implementation of programs.
Working within the ATOD sector, I also was often solely responsible for determining goals, and delivering training and education initiatives to allied community organisations and support workers, to meet those objectives. While working within this field I also managed case work independently, assessing, counselling, and providing a range of therapeutic interventions to clients and their families.
In my various roles, I have been required to provide impartial and forthright advice. In my current position, I have to be extremely blunt with clients, clearly explaining to them the consequences of any breach of conditions during their participation in the programs I run. As this can include imprisonment, I can’t afford to be anything other than direct in my communications. I have also had to deal explicitly with issues such as suicide and self-harm, ensuring that, if necessary, people confront and deal with the often disturbing and stressful issues associated with family violence and ATOD issues.
I have learned to be resilient and to maintain momentum in the services I provide, regardless of the set-backs I encounter. The fields I work in necessitate the ability to deal with clients reoffending, or reusing, regardless of the work that I do with them. I set clear boundaries with clients about what my role is, and I accept that I am part of the client’s journey, not responsible for it. This enables me to continue to strive to deliver positive outcomes in difficult and stressful environments.
Finally, it is relevant that delivering programs in rural and remote communities requires the ability to deal with ongoing change and uncertainty. Often events or issues occur that are beyond your control, and that no amount of planning or organisation could have anticipated. I am flexible and adaptable, and have learned to see the humour in some of the strange circumstances that my job presents me with.
Proven professionalism and integrity in contributing to a highly productive team producing quality outcomes
As mentioned previously, I have substantial experience in negotiating and consulting with a wide range of organisations across the government and community sectors in relation to services for individuals and their families. In my current role, I have a proven record in gaining, and utilising, the input of local service providers, community representatives and Indigenous elders to develop and deliver family violence prevention programs. In the ATOD sector, I worked collaboratively and productively with other government agencies to deliver key community strategies and initiatives. I also provided education and training activities within the clinical area for government and non-government agencies, and liaised with related health professionals to deliver a coordinated approach to the case management of clients experiencing alcohol and other drug issues.
I also worked as a Correctional Counsellor at the Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, where I was a member of a multi-disciplinary programs unit, providing consultancy services to, and accepting referrals from, other unit members, including Psychologists, Education Officers, Activities Officers and Custodial Correctional Officers. I also contributed to sentence and case management, classification, case planning and parole processes. Throughout my career I have been part of several multi-agency, multidisciplinary teams, focused on delivering quality service outcomes, to a range of clients.
I am a proven professional within the health and community services sectors, with in excess of ten years’ experience as a Social Worker. I have held senior clinical roles, and have worked as part of large, complex teams to ensure service performance objectives are met and exceeded. I have also worked with a variety of internal and external stakeholders in managing the coordination of programs and services, across regional and remote locations. In all these roles I have encouraged feedback from colleagues, clients, and relevant community representatives regarding service and program outcomes. I focus on an approach of continuous quality improvement in the delivery of services.
I pride myself on always behaving professionally and maintaining the highest level possible with regard to ethical standards and integrity. I am extremely discrete about discussing information related to clients, and ensure that I only talk about these items with directly relevant staff. I always show the highest respect for the confidentiality of the information I deal with, and see myself as being personally accountable for ensuring client privacy.