This procedure relates to support of young people on supervised court orders.

 

When to use this procedure

When undertaking the role of community support worker.

 

What else you need to know

 

Practice context and legislation

  • Community support (or sessional) workers are employed by the department to provide task-specific supervision and support for young people case-managed by a youth justice worker.
  • The area youth justice service is responsible for supervision of the community support worker to support the young person’s participation in community work or other activities.
  • The Youth justice community work guidelines provide detailed guidelines
  • Community work or another activity directed by youth justice is a mandatory component of a youth attendance order, and may be included as a requirement or special condition of a youth supervision order for young people aged over 15 years.
  • Community work, or other activities, refers to structured and supervised community work, tasks or activities that benefit a community organisation and/or individual, and provides a means for reparation for offending.
  • Community support workers provide a positive role model as well as intensive and sustained support to young people for the duration of the community work component of the order. They often work alongside the young person during community work or other activities. The role of the community support worker is to help the young person to:
    • develop an increased sense of responsibility
    • learn new skills
    • contribute to the community in a constructive way
    • develop relationships within their local community.
  • Occasionally, community support workers may also be directed to accompany and supervise a young person at community work organisations’ work sites. Young people can also work within a community work organisation under supervision of a representative of that agency.
  • In addition to community work, community support workers can be involved in a range of other activities such as transporting a young person to appointments and skill development activities.
  • The community support worker should be familiar with the client service plan. The community support worker's role is primarily to support the practical implementation of the client service plan.
  • Community support (or sessional) staff must meet youth justice requirements for employing staff with responsibility for direct client services.
  • The youth justice supervision standards set out minimum supervision standards for community support workers.
 

Roles and key tasks

Community support worker

  • Develop a supervision agreement with community support work coordinator.
  • Undertake appropriate training as required and as discussed in supervision.
  • Regularly communicate with case manager to stay informed of risk issues and participate in development of safety management plan.
  • Provide community work support and supervision.
  • Provide feedback, observations and information from young person’s involvement in community work.

Community support work coordinator

  • Develop a supervision agreement with community support worker.
  • Conduct regular supervision with support worker.
  • Ensure community support workers have knowledge, practical experience and awareness of safety procedures.
  • Provide consultation and supervision to community support workers.
  • Endorse 'Community work program site registration' form.
  • Sign memorandums of understanding for community work sites and ensure they are current.

Case manager

  • Provide information about the young person to the community support worker.
  • Identify appropriate community work activity and the role to be undertaken by the community support worker.
  • Participate in safety planning.
  • Provide case management and consultation regarding young person.

Team leader / team manager

  • Provide consultation and supervision to case manager.

Assistant Director / Manager Individual and Family Support

  • Provide oversight, direction and monitoring of the area youth justice service.

Youth Justice Senior Practice Advisor

  • Provide case consultation and dispute resolution in cases of disagreement between community work sites and area youth justice. This should occur subject to local area agreements between assistant director/manager Individual and Family Support and the Senior Practice Advisor.
 

The procedure in detail

Appointment of a community support worker

The skills, abilities and characteristics sought in community support workers are similar to those of a youth justice worker.

The community support worker's level of experience and knowledge is not expected to match that of a qualified youth justice worker.

A diploma of welfare studies or other approved qualifications, and/or relevant experience is preferred.

Community support workers are required to have a:

  • standard police criminal records check
  • current Working with Children Check
  • current level one first aid qualification
  • drivers licence.

Supervision of community support workers

Negotiate and document a supervision agreement between the supervisor and supervisee as specified in the 'Youth justice supervision standards'.

Schedule supervision for a minimum of one hour every three weeks and a pro rata basis for part-time workers. Record, sign and store supervision session notes in accordance with Youth justice supervision standards.

Training requirements

Discuss opportunities for training during supervision sessions.

Supervisors need to ensure community support workers have knowledge, practical experience and awareness of safe operation of all equipment, tools and machinery used on community work sites.

Community support workers are to be included in occupational health and safety training as deemed appropriate and consistent with minimum standards.

Safety planning

Safety plans for client management are developed by the youth justice worker and must be communicated to the community support worker.

The youth justice worker provides information to the community support worker before contact with the young person and discusses any alerts or potential safety issues and safety management plans.

Community support workers require a mobile phone for out of office contact.

The youth justice worker gives the community support worker a copy of the department's 'Occupational health and safety policy', and makes sure they understand it.

If a young person appears impaired by substance use when they arrive at work, the community support worker must notify the youth justice worker to make a decision as to whether to continue community work or other activities.

Refer to the Department of Human Services' Occupational violence prevention policy to assess and plan for potential risks.

Details of work placement

When identifying an appropriate community work activity, the case manager and community support worker should:

  • discuss the types of community work the young person is interested in
  • assess the young person’s suitability or ability to undertake the task
  • determine the types of tasks the young person is able to perform
  • identify any health, physical or offending attributes that might prevent the young person from participating in a specific task.
  • check the young person’s offending history and note any offences that might prohibit the young person from attending a specific community setting or site
  • consider opportunities for specific reparation for offence/s, such as cleaning graffiti
  • clarify the amount and type of supervision required
  • before commencement, ensure the young person has a clear understanding of the task and the person who will be supervising them throughout the activity
  • clarify other commitments the young person might have to minimise clashes of community work with other activities. Take into account any other program, employment or educational commitments
  • consult with team leader, and community support work coordinator, concerning the suitability of the proposed task.

It is the youth justice worker's responsibility to ensure the community support worker understands:

  • the amount of support the young person needs to attend the work placement
  • the level of supervision required from the community support worker to complete the task/s and/or activities
  • transportation requirements
  • the level of risk associated with case management of the young person.

Relevant information from this discussion should be documented on the Client Relation Information System (CRIS) by the case manager.

Site assessment

Once an activity is agreed, a site assessment must be conducted before the young person commences community work, if one has not been previously conducted.

Complete a 'Community work program site registration' form, contained in the Community support work program guidelines in consultation with an organisational representative, and have this authorised by the community support work coordinator.

Community support worker role during community work

Community support workers provide a positive role model as well as intensive and sustained support to young people for the duration of the order.

If possible the community support worker will work alongside the young person.

The young person must never be left unsupervised.

If the community support worker leaves the work site, an arrangement for supervision of the young person undertaking community work must be in place.

Reporting

The community support worker must report to the youth justice worker about the progress of the young person.

Any disputes or problems arising should be reported to the youth justice worker. If the matter is urgent, contact your supervisor immediately.

If during community work or other activities, the young person's behaviour is inappropriate, the support worker must return to the youth justice office with the young person if possible. Provide details to the youth justice worker.

Promptly report to the youth justice worker any injury/accident or incident that may potentially lead to injury.

If a young person discloses information of a serious nature to the community support worker, this must be reported to the youth justice worker.

On completion of each community work session, the community support worker will record a log of hours of attendance and general observations on the Client Relation Information System (CRIS).

After-hours community work activities

Youth justice workers must inform their team leader of regular or one-off after-hours community work or other activities.

After-hours community work or other activities are only to occur when no other alternatives exist.

The youth justice worker and community support worker must make an assessment of the level of risk posed and develop a safety management plan on how best to manage risk, in consultation with the case manager’s line manager.

This should be documented on the Client Relation Information System (CRIS).

As part of safety plan, ensure the young person's youth justice worker or team leader is available for after hours contact by mobile phone.

If a level of risk is assessed, the community support worker must contact the youth justice worker and/or team leader when the visit is completed.

If the community support worker has not made contact within the agreed time, the team leader and community support work coordinator must be notified and all available contact numbers called before contacting police.

Ensure community support workers have a current list of all relevant telephone numbers.

Youth justice and community support workers are advised to record movements on People@DHS (External link), noting expected time of return from all visits within and after hours.

If uncertain about any decision-making or reasonable action to take, contact a team leader or the youth justice manager.

Providing support

As well as scheduled supervision the youth justice worker may be required to provide advice and support to the community support worker during the course of the community work or activities.

Youth justice workers must respond to issues that require immediate attention as they arise.

Safe driving policy

Before transporting youth justice clients ensure the community support worker is familiar with the content, and provided with a copy of the Department of Human Services safe driving policy.

Ensure the community support worker understands departmental vehicle booking procedures.

Aboriginal young people

Consult with the regional Koori youth justice worker about appropriate community work activities for an Aboriginal young person.

 

Additional information