Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - 31 October 2018



Debates Day 5 - 31 October 2018

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Parliamentary Record 15


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Wednesday 31 October 2018 4777 The royal commission noted that until 2015 the recruitment and training of staff was ad hoc and driven by crisis management with insufficient emphasis on skills and training required to perform their role. In order to meet the recommendations of the royal commission and transform a failing and punitive system run down under the CLP, we had to invest in a major workforce redevelopment and training. This has involved the recruitment of a new workforce and skilling up the existing workforce, focusing on working with young people rather than adults. The emphasis on ensuring the rehabilitation and the physical, psychological and emotional welfare of children and young people is front and centre in youth detention work. This is a move away from a punitive approach to one focused on therapeutic trauma-informed care. All youth justice staff are now required to obtain or upgrade to a Certificate IV in Youth Justice. Territory Families has been working with the Australian Childhood Foundation to design a course that provides foundational skills and knowledge to complete a Certificate IV. This new training program has been designed to create a well-trained, multidisciplinary workforce that is able to transition between roles. This is a good example of where a trainee need was identified and a specialist skill was required. That is why we went with the Australian Childhood Foundation, which is a very skilled and specialist group of practitioners focused on trauma-informed practice. This is what we need in providing nimble advice and focusing on what skills are required. The skill set of that workforce needed to change and made a significant difference. All new staff receive intensive training prior to commencing work in the detention centre, including in de-escalation, mediation, trauma-informed practice and responding to self-harm rather than using force. Cultural awareness is also an important skill being delivered in the course. The de-escalation and mediation skills have made a big difference. Annual and ongoing refresher training and upgrading of skills has been introduced to ensure all workers have up-to-date skills and can respond to new policies, changes in legislation, evidence and learnings in the field. Management training has also developed. This is a practical example of needing a specialist skill to advise the department. You have a specialist workforce and training circumstance that needs a special set of skills. We needed to do this quickly. We have invested in a large new youth diversion workforce to undertake outreach support and intensive case management to keep young people on track to prevent offending and break the cycle of crime. High-level skills are needed to undertake these roles and ensure ongoing development in clinical practice, not only amongst the Territory Families workforce but across government agencies working with young people at risk. The royal commission also found that investment in training and skill development is needed for a child protection workforce where there is high staff turnover and a number of new social workers. They need high-quality training and ongoing professional development support in clinical practice. In its response to the royal commission, our government invested $2.8m over four years to set up the Clinical and Professional Practice Directorate with experienced child protection practitioners to improve child protection practice and assist case managers in working more effectively with Aboriginal families and families with a high level of complexity. This is a specialist area of skills and training where we need to ensure we get the right skills into our workforce. We also need to invest in our workforce. Workforce training is required to skill up workers across agencies and organisations, particularly those who work with women and children experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence, as well as children at risk. The 10-year Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Reduction Framework identified building a capable workforce as a priority. During the debate last week, the Deputy Opposition Leader raised concerns about training and the skill sets within the sector. Making sure we have a capable workforce in the domestic and family violence sector is a big focus for us. That includes delivering training to frontline services that work with and support people who have experienced trauma or violence. The workforces under Territory Families, such as Youth Justice, child protection and domestic and family violence are undergoing major reforms and require high-quality and industry-focused training. The Aboriginal and NGO sectors also need ongoing training and support to gear up and meet the needs of the youth justice and child protection reforms.

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