Give us a rundown of a typical day for you on the job and what you deal with through the day.
At the moment, I manage 14 children spread across 8 households. The day I will share with you is a particular Thursday where I came in and thought that I was going to do my usual thing which would consist of ensuring case notes are up to date and ensure that all appropriate applications which would consist of educational, medical and therapeutic supports are lodged or up to date. On this particular day when I arrived there was an issue that had arisen for one of my colleagues which warranted for the children to be moved from their carers due to issues, I cannot disclose. When we arrived in the morning it was around 0900hrs when we were pulled into an emergency consult to appoint which case managers would be appropriate to execute this move for the children. Due to one of my caregivers having the capacity to take all three children I was the one picked to go so that the children can be spoken to about how these new carers are.
This day went from being a 7.5hr day to being a 12-12.5hr day and required a lot of empathy and accountability not only for myself but for the children. The one thing I have learned about this role of social work is no matter which area you’re in is that you can never be sure how your day will go until you go into the office for the day. I can say this move was successful and the children were happy to have us until 2200hrs. I helped the 5-year-old twins get ready for bed they asked me why I was working so late when I told them it was to ensure they felt safe and happy I was met with a big cuddle which was a reward not found easily in this field. Although challenging this role has presented itself with many rewards and golden gems.
Can you give us a brief overview of yourself and your background and how TaylorCare helped you find employment?
Talofa, my name is Olive Hunkin and I am a qualified Social Worker with a Care and Protection and Family Violence background. I have been out in the field for 4 years as a social practitioner, however, have been a social activist for nearly 8 years with experience from Samoa and New Zealand. In January 2017, I moved to Sydney and was blessed to be supported by TaylorCare who helped me get a job before moving over for personal reasons. Since being out in the field TaylorCare has never ceased to check in from time to time to see how I settled in, due to me being new to the country and the country’s social service industry they have helped me settle in comfortably. I was first in touch with TaylorCare in 2016 around July when I applied for another role in Melbourne which I wasn’t successful in obtaining however when I needed support to move in January over half a year later they didn’t forget me ?.
Do you have any top tips or inspiration you would share with someone thinking about working in NGO social work in Australia?
Be responsible for the work you do, be accountable to our young people and encourage them to follow their dreams no matter how big they are.
Never lose hope that people’s lives can change from where they’ve come from, however; don’t lose sight that they hold the power to make those changes.
As a social practitioner, you can’t change anyone who doesn’t want to make those changes themselves.
Get regular supervision and ensure your self-care plan is up to date.