Karen Dini-Paul has established herself as a well-respected professional within the Far North Queensland community. She has mixed heritage, Aboriginal – a decedent of the Arrernte People of Alice Springs on her Mother’s side, her Father was an Italian immigrant. Currently the Far North Queensland Regional Manager at UnitingCare, Karen oversees the delivery of several programs funded to support vulnerable children and families through counselling, in home support and advocacy, out-of-home-care and both residential and family-based care.
Skilled Staff + Supported Carers = Improved Outcomes for Children in Out of Home Care. (Poster Presentation)
The out of home care service system and non-government agencies in it face many challenges to meet the placement needs of children in the system, including recruiting and supporting family based carers. Agencies and government are increasingly considering innovative approaches to respond to these challenges.
In 2018, Uniting Care, implemented a project designed to influence, innovate and strengthen the local out of home care service system. With the overall aim of improving outcomes for children and young people in care in the Cairns region, objectives of this project included:
• increasing foster carers numbers;
• strengthening carer retention and support
• building both carer and staff capacity and skills
• Improving placement stability in out of home care
To achieve this UnitingCare partnered with Social Care Solutions, to review relevant research and utilising a user-centred approach, worked closely with carers and staff to develop and implement a range of different solutions including:
• A carer consultative committee
• An evidenced informed peer mentoring and shared care model
• An internal assessment panel for review of assessment reports
This presentation outlines the learnings, challenges and outcomes encountered during this project together with how it can be duplicated across other foster and kinship care services to influence the out of home care service system.