Meet Jess – she’s passionate about a lot of things, but in particular she’s passionate about providing trauma-responsive care for kids and their families… and outside of her profession, she’s passionate about cats (a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady).
Jess joined our Foster Care Team as a Case Worker in 2018. With an incredible enthusiasm for social work, Jess brought her own foster carer experience, as well as experience in therapeutic residential care and various front-end roles in child protection.
Jess thrived in our team from day one, and over her three years with Lutheran Care Foster Care Services she’s been instrumental in establishing our Specialist Care program serving as our Specialist Care Team Leader for 18 months before her most recent appointment as our Therapeutic Support Lead and Therapeutic Life Story Work Practitioner.
“Over the past 10 years I have focussed my professional development on understanding how trauma impacts our brains, our bodies, how we engage with our world and most importantly, what we can do about it to help ourselves and our children grow through adversity.
As part of this learning journey I completed my Master of Social Work and became a foster carer for a young person. Fostering was certainly a steep learning curve and wakeup call about how difficult it can be to apply our knowledge into practice when faced with our own stressors and emotional responses. This experience also taught me valuable lessons about the impact that exposure to others’ trauma can have on us as caregivers and professionals when self-care becomes our lowest priority on our to-do list.
My role as Therapeutic Support Lead involves helping us as a team deeply listen to and empathise with our children’s and carer families’ expert knowledge in their own lived experience. Once we understand their perspectives, we can then apply knowledge from leading experts in the field, the care team, the collective wisdom of our carer community and our own practice experience to help families build on what they are already doing well to overcome challenges and develop daily routines that support their wellbeing.
My role is also about helping us walk the talk as an organisation by working in ways that support us to treat ourselves and our colleagues with the same compassion we strive to provide for our families and children. I am especially excited to now be working together with our Elcies Disability Care Clinical Lead to ensure we are best supporting children and families living with the impacts of developmental trauma and disability to thrive.
I dream of a world where there is a therapeutic family home and a rescue cat for every child in out-of-home care.”
Quite fittingly, Jess is also our resident Student Placement Supervisor for social work students on placement with us. We are so grateful for our most recent students Vandana and Talisha for refreshing our theoretical knowledge, helping us find innovative ways to apply research into practice and representing the next generation of Social Workers!
You’re so appreciated, Jess. Thanks for all that you do. Here’s to all the social workers this World Social Work Day.