Westcare’s Residential Services provide nurturing and safe environments for up to 33 young people on any given night. Westcare operate eight Residential Services Units located across the north and west metropolitan region of Melbourne.
Young people who are accommodated with us have been referred through the Department of Human Services Child Protection and come with a myriad of trauma and attachment issues and exhibit quite challenging pain-based behaviours.
With more than 366 years of combined experience in residential care and an average of more than five years per staff member, Westcare Residential Services continue to provide high-quality services to our most vulnerable young people. Whilst we are blessed with some long serving staff we are also lucky to welcome the new generation of youth workers with the assistance of Westcare’s status as a Registered Training Organisation.
2011 saw the continued growth and development of Westcare's Residential Services with the opening of a residential unit in the DHS northern and western metropolitan region. Whilst having this unit geographically seperated from our existing residential rervices, the unit continues to grow and develop, offering care and support for up to four young people.
2011 also saw the continued development of a strong partnership with The Salvation Army in Tasmania and the Australian Childhood Foundation. In conjuction with our partners, Westcare have been involved in the development of four therapeutic residential care units in the city of Hobart. Through the provision of staff training, mentoring and support, Westcare are proud of their involvement in the delivery of a quality residential service program in Hobart and the relationship with Tasmania continues to flourish. 2011 provided our Tasmanian counterparts with the opportunity to visit some Westcare services and develop contacts and mentors across these services. Westcare Residential Services and RTO will continue to provide this role in 2012.
Westcare Residential Services have also continued their partnership with Berry Street Take Two in the delivery of therapeutic care in the North and West metropolitan region of Melbourne. This successful partnership is seeing positive outcomes for the young people and families in our services and has influenced practice and the delivery of our services, influenced practice and the delivery of our services across this program area.
As part of our ongoing commitment to excellence, staff in Residential Services continue to work hard to provide safe, stable and homely environments. Despite budget constraints, our residential units continue to be environments that young people feel proud of and connected to.
Recent data collected at Westcare suggests that up to 48 hours of contact time with former clients occurs with Residential Services each month. This includes client visits, participating in meals or celebrations, phone calls and/or visits to clients in their own homes. None of this work is funded but demonstrates staff commitment to our young people.
2012 promises a new era for Westcare Residential Services with staffing changes creating new opportunities for staff to take on new roles. This changing management landscape will see experienced staff taking on challenging new roles and is helping to build a real sense of excitement about what the future holds.
The Salvation Army operates eight residential units which provide accommodation and support for young people aged 12 to 18 and deemed to have 'high needs' or significant 'protective concerns'.
Residential Services is staffed by a dedicated team who are rostered to provide 24-hour care. Westcare chooses to maintain its own list of relief staff, rather than using agency staff, believing that this provides the most consistent and nurturing environment for young people. The eight residential units are Amaranth, Spence, Cornwall, Fox, Conrad, Steane, Marsh and Orbital.
These units provide accommodation and support to four young people per unit. They operate according to a sleepover model where rostered staff are available from 7 a.m. to midnight, after which a staff member sleeps overnight and is available in case of emergencies. These units are designed to take adolescents with 'high-needs' behaviours.
These units provide accommodation and support to four young people per unit and are operated according to a 24-hour 'stand-up' model where rostered staff are available throughout the day and night. These units are designed to cater for adolescents with 'high-risk' behaviours.
Marsh provides accommodation and support to four or five young people. It is run according to a sleepover model where rostered staff are available from 7 a.m. until midnight, after which a staff member sleeps overnight and is available in emergencies. These units are designed to take adolescents with 'high-needs' behaviours.
In 2008, Orbital was selected as Westcare's Therapeutic Residential Care Pilot Program in partnership with Berry Street Take Two providing a '0.5 Therapeutic Specialist'. After operating as a pilot program for over two years, in 2011 Westcare was successful in securing the tender for Orbital to continue as an ongoing Therapeutic Residential Care provider.
The therapeutic program provides trauma and attachment-informed care, accommodation and support to four young people in the identified age group. Also essential to the success of Orbital is the the opportunity for flexible rostering and support to maximise safety, as well as maximising opportunities for staff, young people and their families. Each young person has a comprehensive therapeutic plan to provide consistent assessments, planning and information and the staff approach care from a position that is trauma- and attachment-informed.