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Farewell, Jill

This week, Jill Wain leaves The Salvation Army Westcare after more than 21 years of dedicated service.

Chris, Karlie and Maja reflected on Jill’s career as our Melton Foster Care program manager.


What qualities have defined Jill’s work over the last 20 years?

 

C: When I think of words to describe Jill I think of someone who is passionate, driven, energetic, creative, colourful, fearless and an incredibly strong advocate. Someone who sees the possibilities and has an incredibly strong sense of family and the importance of connections. Someone who is incredibly good in a crisis. Someone who has spent endless hours on that mobile phone!!

K: Jill is a passionate advocate for children, carers and their birth family. I'm sure that many people at DHS and other agencies have tried to ignore their phone messages when they see it is Jill as she is relentless in getting best outcomes for kids.  Jill questions every decision and does not stop until she gets the answers she needs to ensure a child's best interests.  

M: Jill has always been a great advocate for children and birth families, promoting contact between birth family and children, assisting parents in achieving their goals to have children returned to their care and encouraging parents and carers to meet at the beginning of placement. Jill has always done everything in her power to ensure children's developmental, emotional and social needs were met while in care, by always making sure children attend school regularly, have the correct school uniform, see their parents and siblings, attend extracurricular activities and have their medical needs met.

 

Jill and John

 

What has been her greatest achievement?

 

C: Jill has really made a huge difference to the lives of many babies, children, young people, birth families, foster families and staff over the past 20+ years. She has developed a strong foster care program with a very solid reputation. When Jill started at Westcare she started in a locum position and there were 6 foster families and Jill. She has built a strong program and created an incredibly child and family friendly environment. She has built a very strong team of foster carers and staff and she should be extremely proud of all her achievements over the years. Jill has made an outstanding contribution to Melton Foster Care, Westcare and to the sector.

M: Jill created Melton Foster Care, from a little program twenty years ago to 26 caregivers -household- program it is today. Jill has always been able to look at things from both perspectives, as a professional and as a carer herself. Jill's knowledge, experience, wisdom and enthusiasm are amazing. It is never too late for a phone call, she has never been too tired to finish things, there is nothing too hard to be done, and not many things she couldn't talk about. Ask her a questions, she will know the answer. If she can't help you, she will point you in the right direction.

Jill Wain Farewell

What lessons have you learned from Jill?

 

C: To never give up, to never take no for an answer, to push systems and to be a strong advocate. Jill does this so incredibly well and has achieved so much because of this advocacy.

K: Jill has taught me everything I know-  I started off at MFC as a new grad, and nearly 12 years later I continually learn from her.  Jill has supported me both professionally and personally throughout this time.

M: Jill taught me to be less directive in my practice, to always challenge myself by thinking outside of square, and to stay calm no matter what frustrations come my way.

 

Do you have a memorable moment with Jill you would like to share?

 

C: I've had some crazy experiences with Jill. One memorable moment was flying to South America to the International Foster Care Conference. Not many people may know this but Jill has a fear of flying and Jill spent most of the flight to South America lying on the floor of the plane near the exit row wishing that the flight was over. Once we landed Jill then went on to confidently present at the conference. Jill has no fear in presenting to hundreds of people at a conference but she certainly has a fear of flying!!!

 

What footprint does Jill leave behind?

 

K: Jill's passion at ensuring that children maintain contact with family is impressive, as she goes above and beyond her role to ensure this happens.  This passion really does inform the practice of all workers at Melton Foster Care.

 

C: It is the end of an era with Jill leaving Melton Foster Care and Westcare after almost 21 years. She leaves behind a strong foster care program that she has built over the years and she leaves behind many people whose lives have truly been impacted for the better by knowing and working with Jill. Those people include staff who she has trained, worked with and inspired, colleagues at Westcare and in the sector who she has worked with, foster carers who she has supported, and babies, children, young people and families who she has been a passionate advocate for over the years.