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How to Become a Child Protection Officer in Australia

How to Become a Child Protection Officer in Australia: As a Child Protection Officer, you may elect to specialise in Residential Care, you play a critical role in assisting children and families at risk. You’re no doubt highly passionate about helping the disadvantaged and have a special connection with helping protect children.

Regularly, you will find yourself in highly challenging situations where you’ll need to make difficult decisions for the protection of a child at risk of harm, which can, of course, be quite stressful and confronting.

You’ll also find yourself dealing with children that need help to make the right decision, for example not to steal or damage property but to instead simply walk away.

Your role is to support them to make the right decisions, to protect them from dangerous situations, while at the same time, imparting the correct values into them and support them in feeling safe.

The overall goal is to assist children of all ages, make them feel safe and supported while helping them to develop a sense of self-worth that will enable them to grow up into responsible adults who contribute to society.

Your role as a Child Protection Officer with Residential Care will involve working both out in the field as well as meeting with children and families helping them to work through their issues, assessing the fitness of one or more parents’ ability to take care of their children. You’ll work through a process of investigating a range of facts then make recommendations. You’ll create casework files and over time monitor the family situation and where necessary you may have to make the difficult decision to remove the child, or children, from the custody of their parents.

If you enjoy working with and helping young people and children, protecting them from harm and making a positive difference to their lives, then you’ll likely enjoy Child Protection. Covered below in more detail for you are the key steps to becoming a Child Protection Officer in Australia specialising in Residential Care.

Step 1: Select Your Course

In recent years, each state has enacted legislation which requires that you hold a minimum level of qualification to become a Child Protection Officer in Australia specialising in Residential Care.

The first state to pass legislation was Victoria, and each state subsequently followed suit during the ensuing years.

Given that the assistance and supervision of children often is carried out in a residential setting, the legislation takes into consideration the requirements of Residential Care Workers. For more information about what is required to become a Residential Care worker, then read our recently published article entitled “What Is A Residential Care Worker? – How To Become One”.

In Queensland, the state government outsourced part of the required training, known as the ‘Hope and Healing – Queensland framework for working with children and young people living in residential care’ to an organisation called PeakCare Inc, a membership-based Not For Profit Organisation.

The minimum legislative requirements vary slightly from state to state; however, it’s generally accepted that if you’ve completed either a Nationally Recognised CHC40313 Certificate IV Child, Youth and Family Intervention or CHC50313 Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention then you’ve met the minimum standards.

In these courses, you’ll gain the skills and knowledge needed to work effectively with a diverse range of clients in child protection and family intervention services. You will learn how to successfully manage all aspects of case management working under supervision or within a team environment, and provide support for children, youth and families that may be at risk.

Step 2: Volunteer Placement

A component of your training will be the mandatory completion by you of up to 120 hours of Placement. This Placement requires that you are working with children, youth or families in appropriate organisations where you can gain direct access to, and practice and complete tasks which you will be required to do when you become a Child Protection Officer.

Although the Placement in your course is mandatory, it will provide you with two additional benefits. Firstly it will give you a range of relevant skills and achievements you can add to your resume. Secondly, if you do an excellent job during your Placement, you could be offered ongoing employment with the organisation.

We recommend that, where possible, to carry out your Placement at multiple organisations as this will boost your resume and also increase ongoing employment opportunities upon the completion of your course.

Step 3: What is a Child Protection Officer’s Job Role

A Child Protection Officer specialising in Residential Care covers a vast number of tasks. Some of which can be completed in a single day. In contrast, others are more complex and require ongoing management and reviewing, such as the monitoring of an individual family situation over several months to ensure that the safety of the children remains intact. The behaviour of the parent(s) is at the level necessary to maintain custody to the children.

Child Protection Officer specialising in Residential Care work collaboratively with a range of critical stakeholders including the children, parents, other support networks from which assistance has been sought by the family, medical practitioners, and a variety of other government-based organisations including the Police.

They create comprehensive casework files to track progress over time, to log any incidents, regular reports on the parent-child(ren) interaction. Officers are also required to generate casework-related reports from time-to-time and to provide these to their superiors and/or third-party agencies requesting updates on casework files, especially in the event of an incident.

Child Protection Officers specialising in Residential Care will often spend time visiting families in their homes observing general behaviour and interactions between the parents and child(ren) to ensure that these interactions are in keeping with set standards. Also, the officers may spend time talking with each individual in the home to provide an opportunity for say, a child to speak confidentially without the parents influencing the answers.

Another critical aspect of home visits is to be able to observe the condition of the home, i.e. cleanliness as well as the child(ren), for example, do any of the children have bruises or cuts that may indicate the possibility of mistreatment.

Typically, these home visits are conducted on short notice so that the parents have minimal time to clean up and hide any abusive behaviour or perhaps any illegal activity, for example, drug use.

Below is a table that summarises some of the tasks that are being a Child Protection Worker in Australia:

Meeting children with their families in their homeCreating Casefiles on each family and monitoring these over time for compliance
Assessing the family home, it’s cleanliness and suitability for childrenLiaising with other agencies to both obtain information as well as share information to ensure the best decisions are made for the children
Spending time with children to observe their behaviour and how they interact with adultsPreparing reports for your supervisor or other agencies
Develop a strong bond with children so that they trust you and will share their experiencesAdvocating for children and intervening if required

The job of a Child Protection Officer specialising in Residential Care is highly varied, with no two days the same. For those individuals who enjoy working in an environment where child safety is paramount, and they want to make a difference in the lives of young people, then this will be an enriching career.

Step 4: Apply for a Job as a Child Protection Officer

Now that you have a sound understanding of the training qualifications required to be a Child Protection Officer in Australia completed your mandatory Training and Placement. Given this, you should now have a good knowledge of the day-to-day tasks of a Child Protection Officer, so it’s time to begin applying for jobs.

Given that you’ll be working with children, it will be a requirement that you have an up-to-date Blue Card, which is a check by the Police that you do not have any child-related convictions. The Queensland Blue Card is administered by ‘Blue Card Services’, which has been designed to ensure the safety of children by preventing anyone who has committed an offence deemed to place a child in danger from receiving a card. Each state has a similar system, in NSW it’s referred to as the Working With Children Check, and in Victoria, it’s also called a Working With Children Check.

Generally speaking, to gain the ability to work with children you’ll need to undergo a Criminal History Check which is undertaken by the relevant state Police and is linked into a national database to ensure you have not committed an offence in another state.

Once passing this check you’ll be free to apply for jobs relating to working with children. With the said though, if you have recently undertaken your studies, then it’s likely that you’ll have already have undergone your check as it’s a requirement to complement your Placement. One of the first places to start looking for a Child Protection Job in Ausralia is Seek.com.au and of course asking the organisations with which you competed your Placement.

How to do I Enrol?

Our enrolment process is easy! You can enrol any time and start studying shortly after enrolment.

To enrol:

  • Phone 1300 887 991 to speak to a Course Consultant, OR
  • Complete the online  Application Form, OR
  • For group enrolments, contact our Enterprise team on 0438 099 041 or enter your details here.

Financial Assistance

At Australis College, we have the following options to help ease the cost burden.

CHC40313 Certificate IV Child, Youth and Family Intervention

Option 1: Interest-Free Monthly Payment Plan
12 equal monthly payments.

Option 2: Queensland State Subsidy – Co-contribution Fee
The Queensland Government will, for eligible Queensland residents, subsidise your course fee and reduce your enrolment cost down to only:

  • $16 for concession cardholders
  • $32 for non-concession

For more details on the Queensland Certificate 3 Guarantee, including eligibility requirements, click here or call us on 1300 887 991.

Option 3: Corporate Enrolments – 15+
For Corporate (15+ enrolments) programs and pricing contact our Enterprise team on 0438 099 041 or enter your details here.

CHC50313 Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention

Option 1: Interest-Free Monthly Payment Plan
18 equal monthly payments.

Option 2: VET Student Loan from the Commonwealth Government
This course is available under the VET Student Loans scheme effective from 1st January 2017, therefore is subject to eligibility and entry criteria. VET Student Loans are not approved for students that do not meet eligibility requirements. VET Student Loans result in a VETSL debt, are a loan from the Australian Government and continues to be a debt until repaid to the Commonwealth.

Option 3: Queensland State Subsidy – Co-contribution Fee
The Queensland Government will, for eligible Queensland residents, subsidise your course fee and reduce your enrolment cost down to only:

  • $16 for concession cardholders
  • $32 for non-concession

For more details on the Queensland Certificate 3 Guarantee, including eligibility requirements, click here or call us on 1300 887 991.

Option 4: Corporate Enrolments – 15+
For Corporate (15+ enrolments) programs and pricing contact our Enterprise team on 0438 099 041 or enter your details here.

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