Professionals working with some of the most vulnerable children in Victoria are now better equipped to understand the impacts of the trauma they may have experienced, thanks to specialist training delivered by Berry Street Take Two.
Take Two’s Clinical Practice Development team recently completed an innovative training project with legal and child protection professionals working within the Children’s Court of Victoria.
The tailored program was developed after Take Two was approached by the court’s multi-disciplinary training board. It focuses on understanding the impacts of trauma experienced by many of the children and young people encountering the court.
The training was offered to:
- staff from the Children’s Court and Magistrates’ Court of Victoria
- Judicial Officers (such as magistrates and judicial registrars)
- child protection practitioners from Department of Families, Fairness and Housing
- lawyers and staff in child protection specific roles from the operations support group
- Victoria Legal Aid and community legal sector child protection lawyers, and
- private lawyers and barristers working in child protection.
Children’s Court Magistrate Francis Zemljak said he thought the training was incredibly interesting.
‘As chair of the multidisciplinary training board I attended the sessions put on by Berry Street as a show of support for our 2022 initiative,’ he said.
There was an expectation on my part that, at most, the program would serve as a useful refresher; however I soon found myself actively participating in dynamic, relevant and fascinating discussions which made me reflect on my own role and gave me new insights as to how we can enhance children’s voices in our jurisdiction. It was a most impressive and thorough series of presentations.
Jessamy House is Take Two’s Clinical Practice Development Consultant who wrote and project managed the training and has previously worked in the child protection and youth justice systems in Victoria. She says she created the course to improve trauma-informed practice for staff working with children in the interconnected systems.
‘In Australia, around half of the children and young people under youth justice supervision have also received child protection services,’ she said. ‘It’s really important that the professionals working in systems understand the trauma these young people are likely to have experienced, and how that can impact on their behaviour and offending.’
The training sought to provide a solid grounding in trauma-informed engagement and communication approaches to the diverse professional groups in attendance. Learners were supported to understand the impact of trauma on early brain development, and how this might play out in child behaviour. The fundamental role of relationship building and engagement was explored in detail, along with practical strategies to help children feel safe in interactions with professionals. The professionals too were asked to think how their own approach may be experienced by children, and how cross-discipline groups can work more together more effectively to meet the needs of these vulnerable children.
The course comprises a 90-minute online learning program, followed by two workshops of four hours each. The workshops were delivered face-to-face in six locations around the state, plus online, to make it as accessible as possible.
The professionals working with the children who come before the courts hold incredible power at crucial junctions in their lives. If we can support them to understand the impacts of trauma, they can make decisions that can change the trajectory of these kids' lives.
If you’d like to discuss potential tailored training or clinical consultancy services, please read more and get in touch via our website so we can discuss what you might need and if we can help.
Berry Street’s Take Two program is a therapeutic service helping to address the mental health impacts on children of the trauma they have experienced from abuse, neglect or adverse experiences. At Take Two we see who the child is, not just the behaviour.
We use clinical frameworks, neurobiological research and evidence-informed approaches to repair family relationships and develop networks of caring adults that focus on what the child needs.