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Cass - Victoria University

Over the past four-and-a-half months I have had the opportunity to complete my 'Direct-Practice Placement' with Westcare as a part of my final year of the Bachelor of Social Work at Victoria University.

Prior to commencing my placement with Westcare in July 2013, I had spent the first part of the year completing a placement at the Department of Human Services, Child Protection. Child Protection was definitely a full-on and fast-paced experience which gave me an insight into the nature of working with a Government agency.

It was certainly a big change transitioning into a community based organastion (CSO) which was evidently smaller, had a different pace and allowed more reflection for learning styles.

Upon entering my placement with Westcare I had a warm welcome from everyone in my team in the Adolescent Home Based Care program (AHBC) and everyone was such a great support when looking at opportunities that they thought might be beneficial to my learning.

I had such positive support from my supervisor and Program Manager who were always looking out for my best interests. This made my time at Westcare even more enjoyable!

As a part of the AHBC program a camp is organised once or twice a year to give young people the opportunity to go away with other young people who have had similar experiences and living in foster care.

I was given the opportunity to help plan and participate on the camp to Healseville as leader with 14 young people. Over the three days at camp I played a role of managing the day-to-day activities and dealing with any issues that arose, as well as working directly with young people who have had a history of trauma.

This camp allowed me to build a relationship with all the young people who are in the program and to observe a variety of different personalities and behaviours.

It is evident that as a CSO, everyone who works with Westcare are all very close and maintain strong relationships with the young people in care and the carers.

Westcare has been such a great experience and learning curve for me in regard to my educational and personal development and there are so many things I have learnt at Westcare that I couldn’t learn from a textbook.