• Print this page

Residential Services

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.

 

Residential Units

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.

Amaranth/Spence

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.

Cornwall/Fox/Conrad/Steane

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

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.

Orbital

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.

Residential Services Case Study: Heidi*

This quote is from a former resident, a 17-year old who resided at a Westcare therapeutic unit for 16 months. It is her response to the question: 'What has Westcare Residential Services meant to you?'

'The world! My unit [sic] is my family and without one of you it doesn't feel right. You have taught me skills from cooking and cleaning, to my manners and vocabulary becoming better. You all have shown me what love is, and what it's like to be cared about. You let me have the childhood I missed out on, but kept me long enough to mature and be ready to leave. I've received the best love, affection, and experiences imaginable. You took me out on my first holiday, gave me the best birthday and Christmas - so many memories created. You put up with my sh** just to help me, you did everything for my benefit. You did more than what your job title [sic] is, you are not just youth workers but incredible people. I would love to thank you all, for the time and dedication spent, to make me a better person, and to help me really understand who I am. I will miss every single one of you...'


Residential Services 2011 Statistics:

 

General Statistics

 

 

Total 

Total Clients 92  
Client Intake 61  
Male 52 57
Female 40 43
Aboriginal 10 11
Average Stay 136  

With a capacity of 33 placements per night, on average 30.42 were occupied.

Where residents moved to from Residential Services

 

 

Total

 %

Family 21 31
Residential  14 21
Lead Tenant 5 7
Incarcerated 3 4
Other  24  36

 

Length of staff service in Residential Services

 

Length of Service

Staff

%

0-3 Years 25 38
3-6 Years 14 22
6-10 Years 11 17
More than 10 Years 15 23