Home' Careers in Care and Support : Careers in Care and Support Contents NATAGE H002
Care and Support
Paul Quarmby's team works towards the successful reunification of families. Picture courtesy of the Department of Human Services.
Child and family focused
Standing up for the rights of those least able to stand up for themselves
By SUE GOSS
It's not easy working with families in
severe distress but the many rewarding
situations make it worthwhile. Paul
Quarmby, team leader of the Outer
Reunification team based at Box Hill, has
worked in this field for more than 20 years as
youth worker, social worker and child
''It fits the sort of person that I am,'' he
says. ''I have a strong belief in the welfare
and wellbeing of children in society.
''This means personally standing up for the
rights of those least able to stand up for
themselves. My work is child-centred but also
''I'm passionate about families. They are
part of the entire process of what our system
is doing for them.''
Paul's team is called 'reunification' because
it is about bringing children safely back into
the home after families have been
empowered to resolve their issues.
He works with all professions including
teachers, police, elders, medical and youth
workers in a holistic team who support the
family to make their own changes.
''An African proverb, 'It takes a whole
village to raise a child' and for us this is our
community,'' says Paul. ''This must include the
family who come to our team meetings and
reviews. They have a right to question us and
are an integral part of all planning.''
Child protection practitioners must have
resilience because they often see people at
their lowest point and are dealing with a
variety of heightened emotions. But there is
also the joy of seeing a family which has
achieved successful reunification.
Wherever possible, the Department of
Human Services utilises the extended family
so that children are able to stay in familiar
surroundings with at least some of the
people who have been central to their lives.
Although many of the people on Paul's
team are highly qualified and experienced
practitioners, he says that they could not do
without the case support workers who
support families with access arrangements.
''They are a crucial part of our work,'' he
says. ''They could come from any background
as long as they have outstanding
communications skills. We give them plenty
of on-site training about managing a
situation, the same supervision as we all
Apart from key partners, the DHS has
strong links with other community and
support organisations which may already be
working with the families and are able to
come to DHS meetings.
As long as the welfare of the child remains
central, their family can usually work out a
solution to difficult issues with the help of
Links Archive Navigation Previous Page Next Page