Ruby had never thought of working in child protection but then one day stumbled upon an advertisement for a child protection job based in Horsham.
The 27-year old who grew up in the outer suburbs of Melbourne had just finished her psychology studies at Monash University. She’d always had a passion for caring roles and enjoyed working with kids. While studying, she worked as a private nanny and at a day program for adults with disabilities.
Horsham was 3.5 hours from her home, but Ruby was ready for a shake-up. She applied for the role and when she got it decided to try it for a year.
Ruby loved the job as soon as she started. Beginning in the investigations team, she worked with hospitals, police, community organisations and schools to gain information and build plans to support children and their families.
“You can’t know exactly what kind of situation you’ll be walking into based on the intake report alone – a fairly straightforward report may reveal significant risks to a child under closer investigation”, she says.
Because of Ruby’s psychology studies and personal experiences, she understands how children's early life experiences have a profound effect on later life outcomes. Which makes early intervention all the more important to start healing from trauma.
Ruby now works in case management, where all the children are on existing court orders following substantiation of investigated concerns.
“The part I enjoy most is building relationships with the kids and their parents and carers, sharing the joys of success when parents are able to make positive changes in their lives for their kids.”
“It’s always challenging to be making the big decisions for kids about their futures, holding their immediate safety in balance with their long-term wellbeing. At times, the workload feels impossible, but holding on to the ‘wins’ – like successful reunifications or seeing my traumatised teenagers getting back to school and gaining employment – keeps me motivated.”
Ruby has been in Horsham for two years now. The support of her team and its positive culture is another important factor for her decision to remain in this field.
“I never expected to last in Horsham so long but I love the community and have settled here”.
Reviewed 21 September 2022