By Alesha Capone
Emily Ellis says that making a difference in the lives of families is a major reason why she loves working in child protection.
Miss Ellis is team manager of the child protection case management team based in Footscray, as part of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
Her team, of 10 staff members, covers an area including the Maribyrnong and Wyndham municipalities.
She said that while completing her master’s degree in social work, she did a 14-week placement in child protection.
“I instantly fell in love with it and knew that’s what I wanted to do,” Miss Ellis said.
She has been in the field for five years and a team manager for two years.
“It’s an absolute privilege to be able to work with families in the community,” Miss Ellis said.
“I think to a degree it was what I expected, but I think I just underestimated how much of an impact I’d make on families and how invested I would be in that.
“The memories are something you really cherish.”
Miss Ellis said the daily tasks of child protection workers included visiting clients in the community, attending court hearings and meeting with community services employees.
She said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of these visits and hearings are being conducted online.
Miss Ellis said that while seeing sad and unfortunate situations was part of the job, “the good balances out the bad”.
“I work with an incredible group of people and I call them my work family,” she said.
Miss Ellis said that she would encourage other people to consider working in child protection, as there are great opportunities for career progression, training and development.
“Every day in this role you learn something new and I can say that after five years,” she said.
The state government has launched a recruitment drive, calling on new graduates and people changing careers to join the ranks of Victoria’s child protection workforce.
Child Protection Minister Luke Donnellan said the Go Where You’re Needed campaign aimed to recruit more than 280 child protection practitioners.