KEEPING all children safe and Aboriginal young people connected to culture were among core focus areas when foster care staff from across ac.care’s regions gathered for three days of intensive development and learning opportunities.
Staff from the Limestone Coast, Riverland, Murraylands and Adelaide Hills gathered in Murray Bridge in May to develop their practice skills and gain valuable knowledge and awareness.
A core component of the staff development event was a full day dedicated to child sex offender awareness and profiling training delivered by Carl Collins of Child Protection Solutions.
The founder and director of CPS is a former senior child protection investigator, team leader and departmental children’s court prosecutor with DHS Protective Services in Victoria.
He was also the co-founding director of Child Abuse Consultancy Education and Training Global, providing training and consultancy to schools, colleges, welfare agencies, government and non-government agencies, as well as police forces throughout Australia, the Asia Pacific region and the United Arab Emirates for over a decade.
Mr Collins is in high demand by Australian-based church denominations and other organisations as a trainer, consultant and child sex offender profiler and he has streamlined operations in order to specialise in more strategic areas of child abuse training.
“Although the material was very confronting and challenging, it was an important opportunity to increase our awareness in this important area to ensure we have extensive processes in place and staff highly trained in being vigilant around protecting young people from harm,” ac.care out of home care executive director Dan Mitchell said.
The final day of the forum featured a cultural panel of guest Aboriginal speakers, including Dan, ac.care senior Aboriginal advisor Kathy Rigney and foster carer Ray Love sharing their knowledge and experiences.
“We heard about the importance of keeping children connected to their culture, stories from out of home care and first-hand experience from a foster carer who also credits a foster carer from their own childhood as a pivotal inspiration and mentor in their life,” ac.care foster care manager Dani Atkinson said.
The forum also involved sessions on practice development, including exploration of real-life experiences of children in care with a focus on identifying the needs of carers.
Staff also welcomed opportunities to network and build connections within our team across the regions we serve.