APPLICANT S INFORMATION PACKAGE

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1 APPLICANT S INFORMATION PACKAGE Thank you for your interest in the position of Foster Care Worker available with Mercy Community Services Family Services. This package may assist you with your application. It contains: an overview of Mercy Community Services outlining our goals, values and the way we work; an attached copy of the position description for you information only, which identifies the position objectives, key responsibilities and selection criteria that will be used to determine the most suitable applicant for the position (signature is not required for your application). Your application should include the following: a covering letter; a written response to the selection criteria; a resume detailing career positions held, major responsibilities and results; two recent work related referees including names, positions and contact numbers. Written personal references are not required as part of your application. Applications should be received no later than 9:00 am, Monday, 11 th August 2014 Please ensure the selection criteria is addressed when submitting your application. to: OR Mail to: Mercy Community Services Foster Care PO Box 252 Underwood, Q, 4119 Further information can be reviewed on our web site

2 Introduction Mercy Community Services Family Services programs continue to reflect the strong historical connection between the Sisters of Mercy and the care of families, children and young people who experience social disadvantage. Programs are delivered in a number of areas of south east Queensland and provide: assessment, counselling and support for children and families subject to statutory intervention; family and residential based alternative care programs; education and life skills training for young people subject to statutory child protection and youth justice orders; counselling and support to young people who are, or at risk of becoming homeless; counselling and support for young people who are refugees with few family or cultural connections in the community; work skills training in preparation for employment for young people in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse; men and family relationships. Mercy Community Services is keen to maintain partnerships with those who use our services and with governments to redress disadvantage caused by poverty, inadequate services, discrimination and lack of opportunity. Our core values of hope, social justice, safety, respect and excellence continue to form the basis of our work. Approval Date: August 2013 Implementation Date: August 2013 Review Date: August 2015

3 Our Origins and Traditions Mercy Community Services is sponsored by the Brisbane Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy, a Catholic Religious Order, founded by Catherine McAuley in Ireland in Catherine was born in 1778 in Dublin, at a time when there was vast and abject poverty among many in Ireland. She was orphaned during her teen years and lived for twenty years with the Callaghan s who were wealthy Quakers. In her forties, Catherine became an heiress as the Callaghan s left their entire estate to her. She decided that her inheritance would be used for the relief and education of the poor and that she would build a refuge for distressed women. She wanted the poor to have visibility among the rich and she wanted the young women she was training to be near to suitable employment. She opened a school and initiated visits to the poor and sick in hospitals and in their homes. Other women joined her in this work and so the history of the Sisters of Mercy began. In 1861, Mother Vincent Whitty and five other Sisters of Mercy arrived in Brisbane and established a local congregation that was soon involved in teaching, nursing and caring for homeless children. With the support of the then Bishop of Brisbane, Bishop Quinn, The Sisters of Mercy opened St Vincent s Orphanage at Nudgee on 11 November Forty-seven children were cared for that day and from then until the mid 1970s, 10,500 children spent significant parts of their lives at Nudgee. The Sisters of Mercy at St Vincent s always remained at the forefront of changing trends, faithful to their origins and commitment to making a preferential option for the poor and oppressed. In the 1960s, in response to societal trends away from institutionalised care, children were placed in a number of local schools and were encouraged to have greater involvement with the community. In 1969 a Social Work Unit was established at St Vincent s to be responsible for planning for children s care, improving connections with their family, maintaining standards of care and liaising with the statutory authority, the Queensland Department of Children s Services. In the early 1970s, St Vincent s commenced the first non-government family based foster care program in Queensland. At this time five cottages were also opened at St Vincent s and children were cared for in a group home environment away from the Nudgee campus. Programs were also developed to focus on the educational and employment opportunities for young people transitioning from St Vincent s care. In 1974 the Sisters of Mercy expanded their service to Toowoomba and joined with the local Catholic community in opening the Fatima Home for Children to provide a response to the growing numbers of children in South-West Queensland in need of alternative care. Initially a family group home model, with houseparents caring for small numbers of children in residential cottages, Fatima s programs expanded during the 1980s in response to changing need. By the early 1990s, Fatima had five programs offering a continuum of care - family support, emergency placements for children under 12 years, foster care, adolescent residential placements and an independent living program. During the 1980s the Sisters of Mercy became a significant voice for and leaders in the provision of care for refugees in Queensland. Over the past twenty years, in conjunction with State and Commonwealth governments the Humanitarian Refugee Minors program has provided placement and support services for unaccompanied minors from a diverse range of countries including South-East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe. This tradition of innovative thinking, responsive service planning and positive relationships with State, Commonwealth and Local government funding bodies has enabled Mercy Family Services to become a relevant and viable organisation. Mercy Family Services was formed in 1996 following a decision to amalgamate the three formerly separate programs at St. Vincent s, Nudgee; Fatima, Toowoomba; and the Peace Centre, Goodna. Since that time, Mercy Family Services has focussed on building an organisational identity, promoting community relationships and strengthening partnerships with funding bodies to enable the delivery of high quality services to clients. The Way We Work All of Mercy Community Services programs aim to strengthen family relationship s, build life and parenting skills and provide support so that in times of crisis, family breakdown can be avoided and children are Approval Date: August 2013 Implementation Date: August 2013 Review Date: August 2015

4 prevented from entering the child protection system. Where this is not possible, and the safety of the child is of greatest concern, quality out of home care provides a safe and secure environment for children and young people. Through services such as individual and family counselling, family-based and residential care for children and young people, educational support and development, Mercy Community Services works to prevent abuse and neglect, to enhance personal development and rebuild family relationships. Mercy Community Services is committed to delivering quality services to disadvantaged and vulnerable children, young people, and families. Mercy Family Services recognises that, to do this, it must continuously reflect on and improve both the responsiveness and effectiveness of its programs and the management systems and processes that support program delivery. Mercy Community Services staff are essential to the provision of high quality services and integral to maintaining the organisation s positive reputation in the community. Managers within Mercy Community Services are trained in continuous improvement processes and expected to use these processes in the ongoing development and improvement of the services for which they are responsible. Additionally, Mercy Community Services uses regular program reporting and review systems and undertakes specific quality projects to ensure that programs are both accountable to the intent for which they are funded and demonstrate best practice, including a high level of responsiveness to the particular needs of clients. All staff are expected and encouraged to recommend and contribute to program and system improvements. Our Purpose Mercy Community Services exists to empower and strengthen disadvantaged and vulnerable children, young people and families in a society that is inequitable, diverse and changing. We do this by delivering quality innovative services so that children, young people and families feel valued, connected, strengthened and have hope for the future. Our Values Hope We believe that all children, young people and adults have the ability to achieve positive growth and to participate meaningfully in society. Social Justice We believe that all people have the right to be treated fairly and justly, regardless of gender, age, culture, ability and life situation and we are committed to advocating for change to policies and structures that deny any person these rights. We are committed to upholding and promoting the rights of children and young people as set out in international covenants. When the rights and needs of parents and children conflict, the wellbeing of the child will be paramount. We believe that indigenous Australians as the original inhabitants of this land have a claim on its resources. We are committed to recognising this claim in all areas in which we work. We value and strive to be reconciled with the local communities with whom we have contact. We value persons from diverse cultural backgrounds and are committed to being culturally inclusive in all our activities. Safety We value people's need for emotional and physical safety and we strive to provide a safe and nonharming environment in which children, young people, families, staff and colleagues feel physically safe and confident to share their thoughts and struggles in a culture that promotes openness and acceptance. Respect We value the uniqueness of each person and promote an organisational culture of honesty and respect. Excellence We value excellence in all that we do and aim to maintain a service focussed on responsiveness to children, young people and families through a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. Approval Date: August 2013 Implementation Date: August 2013 Review Date: August 2015

5 POSITION DESCRIPTION Foster Care Worker SERVICE STREAM LOCATION CLASSIFICATION REPORTING RELATIONSHIP/S Family Services (Foster Care) Logan Level 5 - Mercy Community Services Enterprise Agreement. Team Leader OUR PURPOSE AND VALUES Mercy Community Services Family Services exists to empower and strengthen disadvantaged and vulnerable children, young people and families in a society that is inequitable, diverse and changing. We do this by delivering quality innovative services so that children, young people and families feel valued, connected, strengthened and have hope for the future. Our Values underpin all responsibilities of this position, and are based on the ethos and mission of the Sisters of Mercy Brisbane and are in alignment with Catholic Social Teachings. MERCY ACCEPTANCE EXCELLENCE DIGNITY EMPOWERMENT INTEGRITY POSITION PURPOSE This role is responsible for: Developing a pool of competent foster carers, including assessment of kinship carers, to offer a high standard of care to children who are required to live apart from their families for a period of time because of their protective needs. The provision of support to carers, including crisis response out of normal operating hours as part of the program s on-call service and in response to a request from the line manager to attend to a matter out of hours. Monitoring the care, progress, and development of children and young people in placement to ensure the provision of quality placements and positive care experiences to enhance the wellbeing of children and young people KEY PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS 1. Service Delivery Assist with recruitment, induction and associated processes for foster and kinship carers to meet identified placement needs of children requiring out-of-home care. Deliver initial and ongoing training to prospective carer applicants and approved carers, in compliance with legislative or carer approval status requirements. Undertake interviews which facilitate the comprehensive assessment of prospective carers, this may require planned after-hours and weekend home visits to complete such interviews with carers. Prepare and complete reports on carers following their successful completion of training and assessment interviews for forwarding to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services for initial approval. Ensure carers are provided with regular information regarding legislation and policy changes from Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services or Mercy Community Services, where it relates directly to their care role. Provide high quality support for carers and ensure carers are assisted to develop positive solutions to child management problems and crisis situations in compliance with the requirements in the Statement of Standards (Child Protection Act 1999). Approval Date: September 2013 Implementation Date: September 2013 Review Date: September 2015

6 KEY PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS 2. Documentation, Quality Systems & Continuous Improvement 3. Work Health & Safety POSITION DESCRIPTION Foster Care Worker Monitor the care levels and placements of children and young people with carers, conduct regular home visits and observation of children/young people and complete case notes and reports as required by MFS. Establish and maintain a professional and effective working relationship with the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and other government or non-government agencies. Participate in local area support groups with carers, attend Regional Foster Care meetings, forums and interagency meetings, as required by the line manager. Monitor and undertake the process to meet review requirements of carers in accordance with the Child Protection Act 1999 with regard to foster carer agreements, approval review processes and renewal of Certificates of Approval for foster and kinship carers. Maintain confidentiality and provide effective service to both internal and external stakeholders from culturally diverse backgrounds. Work as an effective team member in accordance with Mercy Community Services mission, purpose and values. Comply with all Mercy Community Services policy and procedures. Perform duties in accordance with organisational requirements. Ensure documentation is created, stored and archived in line with organisational requirements. Develop or assist in the development of systems to maintain data and statistics to inform service delivery and contribute to accountability for outcomes achieved, in consultation with the Coordinator/Team Leader or Manager. Assist with the release of personal, private or confidential information in line with the MCS Privacy Policy, privacy legislation and the Child Protection Act, and in consultation with the Coordinator/Team Leader or Manager. Identify improvements to policy, procedures, work instructions, other organisational systems and the work environment. Participate in the consultation and/or the development, implementation and review of relevant MCS policy, procedures, work instructions and other documentation, as required. Assist with the monitoring of compliance with policy, procedures, work instructions, other organisational and legislative requirements. Work collaboratively with relevant stakeholders to prepare, undertake and maintain external licensing/accreditation requirements. Adhere to safe work practices at all times. Implement systems to ensure a safe workplace for all staff and members of the public. Report incidents and hazards immediately, in line with organisational procedures. Take immediate action to address identified/reported workplace health and safety matters in line with the hierarchy of controls/organisational requirements. 4. Other Duties Provide rostered after hours on-call support, in line with organisational procedures. Approval Date: September 2013 Implementation Date: September 2013 Review Date: September 2015

7 KEY PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS POSITION DESCRIPTION Foster Care Worker Participate in staff development and team meetings. Engage in reflective practice and participate meaningfully in regular professional supervision sessions. Other activities as directed. POSITION REQUIREMENTS Required to have Tertiary qualifications in Social Work, Behavioural Sciences, Psychology or other tertiary qualifications relevant to the program. Demonstrated skills and experience in working with children and families, particularly in assisting with the assessment, planning processes and support around the management of children with difficult behaviours. Ability to analyse, evaluate and make objective judgements, and the ability to articulate recommendations for carer assessments within a structured assessment framework. Demonstrated interpersonal skills and the ability to produce clear, accurate and concise written case notes and reports. The ability to work as a member of a team within MCS, the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and with other key stakeholders. Demonstrated intermediate ability to use computer IT systems including MS Word and Excel. Queensland Provisional Green or above Driver s License. Ability to obtain positive notice in the Working with Children Check (Blue Card) and any other legislatively required personal history screening as required. Beneficial to have Skills and knowledge around the issues and practice directions in the area of outof-home care working with children and families. An understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and societies and the issues which impact upon them in contemporary society, together with a commitment to culturally appropriate engagement and practice. Approval Date: September 2013 Implementation Date: September 2013 Review Date: September 2015

8 POSITION DESCRIPTION Foster Care Worker KEY SELECTION CRITERIA 1. A good understanding of statutory child protection processes, including a sound knowledge of, and sensitivity to, the range of presentations likely to be encountered in children and young people who have experienced significant trauma both within their families and through extensive engagement with the child protection system, including cross-cultural awareness. 2. Experience in working closely, creatively and appropriately with families, and engaging with them with a strengths-based focus to meet the social, emotional and psychological needs of the children and young people in their care. 3. Excellent verbal and written communication skills with a demonstrated ability to analyse, evaluate and make objective judgements and articulate such in care plans and reports. 4. A demonstrated ability to produce written case notes and reports that are clear and structured, evidenced with sound theoretical understandings within a structured management and accountability framework, with strict confidentiality considerations. 5. Demonstrated time management skills, with the ability to balance and prioritise various client engagement and administrative requirements. 6. A demonstrated ability to self-motivate and exercise creativity and initiative in your work, as well as participate in structured supervision and receive direction and feedback in relation to work performance and practice. 7. Willing and able to work within a Christian context and Mercy Community Services' mission, purpose and values. EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: I acknowledge that I have read and agree with the position description given, and will adhere to the tasks and performance expectations therein. Signed: Name (please print): Date: Approval Date: September 2013 Implementation Date: September 2013 Review Date: September 2015

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