The Andrews Labor Government is introducing a new wellbeing program for child protection staff to ensure they have the mental and emotional support they need while looking after vulnerable kids.
Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan said new resilience training has been made available to all child protection practitioners.
The $1.24 million Child Protection Wellbeing Program is a support program that responds to the specific needs of the child protection workforce and will create a workplace culture that addresses occupational stress.
As part of this program, child protection practitioners and managers will undertake training to build their awareness of trauma and develop strategies to counter the impacts.
A specialist support team will also proactively work with practitioners and managers to improve resilience and build their capacity to respond to complex and challenging situations.
Child protection staff get up to six dedicated counselling sessions a year with qualified health clinicians that understand their work environment.
They will still be able to access the four one-on-one sessions provided through the Department of Health and Human Services’ general Employee Wellbeing Support Program.
The establishment of the program directly responds to recommendations made by the Victorian Auditor General Office’s report released last May on maintaining the mental health of CP workers.
The Labor Government invested $225.5 million in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 to employ more than 450 child protection workers, the largest ever expansion of the workforce in Victoria’s history.
In total, more than 610 new child protection positions have been funded in the last four years – increasing the workforce by 43 per cent – to provide more support for children suffering abuse or neglect.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Child Protection Luke Donnellan
“Child protection staff are on the frontlines every day looking after our most vulnerable kids – there’s no work more important than this.”
“They’re often dealing with difficult and complex cases and we want to make sure their mental and emotional health is a priority.”
“This new program is tailored to their unique work environment, helping them continue their vital work keeping children safe from harm.”