Community Services is part of the Child Protection, Permanency, Districts and Youth Justice division under the Department of Communities and Justice. Community Services works in collaboration with government, non-government and community partners to improve the lives of children, adults, families and communities who often experience disadvantage and live in varied and challenging circumstances.
Caseworkers employed by Community Services build relationships with children, young people and their families and carers to influence change and bring about support, protection and safety. Community Services Caseworkers can be assigned into three key streams:
“Be part of a close knit team, who support and trust each other”
I work for the Department of Communities and Justice. And my specific role is I work for the Joint Child Protection Response team. And prior to that I was a caseworker in out of home care.
I do therapeutic casework where I work with young people 12 and over who are with high complex needs.
There might be domestic violence, there could be physical harm, there could be sexual abuse. That's happened and our main goal is to look at the safety of the children and their families and offer any support that we can.
One of my most memorable cases was with a young mum who was taking drugs at the time. This mum was so willing to work with us. Once we overcame the hurdle of the drug use, we worked alongside her and what she needed to do to keep her young daughter safe. In the end, we were able to see her daughter was going to school, her daughter was going to all the needed hospital visits. And it was just incredible to see somebody that was so willing to work.
I know that a lot of people think that maybe families never want you to be a part of their life or they don't want the help. But a lot of the times a family are very thankful and appreciative of our involvement. One of the best times was when I was able to restore some children to their parents. And just the smiles on the kids faces when they realise that their home was now going to be where they originally belonged with their family.
I think a good caseworker is someone that is a good listener, and a good observer. They need to be transparent and they need to be able to tackle the really tough questions.
The kind of cases that we work with can be quite complex cases, and you need to be able to have a good level of resilience. So when you first start as a caseworker, there is a whole kind of training programme that you go through. You are very supported within your role to progress into higher roles within the department.
I had a boss that really inspired me and who used to say in the most impossible situations and in a realistic way, she would say, no, we can work with this family. If we work together, we can have very positive outcomes. Especially for young children, and especially for parents who are willing and want their children to stay within their care.
Child Protection Caseworker
Child Protection Caseworkers help keep children safe and support them to reach their potential. They do this by working directly with children, their parents and extended networks. They work with families to assess their strengths and needs in order to support the family to create the change required to keep children and young people safe by improving their social, emotional, health and educational outcomes. They build lifelong connections for children by working closely with their family and culture.
Helpline Caseworkers operate within a contact centre environment and are the first point of contact to take concerns about a child. They interact directly with professionals and community members, hearing their worries and gathering the necessary information to determine if children require a statutory child protection response. Helpline caseworkers play a vital role in assessing a child’s safety and work swiftly to ensure that the child and their family are directed to the most appropriate part of the service system for support.
The Joint Child Protection Response Program (JCPRP) is a tri-agency specialist program delivered by the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), the NSW Police Force and NSW Health. JCPRP provides a comprehensive and coordinated safety, criminal justice and health response to children and young people alleged to have experienced sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and/or extreme neglect. The JCPRP Caseworker works alongside its police and health colleagues to undertake a holistic assessment of safety and risk, and works directly with the family to mitigate these risks to support children to remain safely at home.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Caseworker
Community Services provides services to various communities across the state, making it important to have a diverse and inclusive workforce that contributes to better outcomes for our communities.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make a significant impact to the organisation by improving the way we interact with Indigenous communities and help inform and shape cross-cultural services.
If you identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person, have at least two years’ experience working with Indigenous children, young people and families and have a current driver’s licence, we encourage you to apply.
- Display resilience and courage in challenging situations
- Committed to children and work with family and culture
- Work as a supportive and accountable/ethical team member
- Think and solve problems by identifying issues and finding appropriate solutions
- Displays empathy, and has the ability to create relationships with a range of people including children, their parents, and other professionals
- Refined child protection assessment skills
- Good time management skills and the ability to manage competing priorities
- Have a general understanding of computer office applications
- Tertiary qualifications in a Social Work, Psychology, Social Science Welfare or related discipline with demonstrated commitment to ongoing professional development
- Current driver’s licence
- NSW Working With Children Check Clearance
- Qualification and Visa checks
- Reference checks (minimum of 2 referees)
- Conduct and performance checks (for existing public service employees)
- DCJ Helpline reports and personnel records
- National Criminal History Check (for external candidates)
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