Helping protect children and families

Helping protect children and families

02 Jun 2009

La Trobe University has been chosen to deliver two new courses in child and family practice – part of a State Government initiative to boost professional development and leadership capabilities of Victoria’s child protection and family services workforce.

 Minister Lisa Neville, centre, with Associate Professor Margarita Frederico, right, and senior lecturer  in Social Work and Social Policy, Dr Patricia McNamara. The new courses and a scholarship scheme were announced last week by Community Services Minister, Ms Lisa Neville. The courses, conducted part-time, are a one year Graduate Certificate in child and family practice and a two year Graduate Diploma in child and family practice leadership.

They were developed by the State Government and La Trobe University in conjunction with the University’s Bouverie Centre, the University of Melbourne School of Social Work, Berry Street Take Two and the Victorian Aboriginal Care Agency,

Minister Neville said: ‘Child protection and family services workers deal with many complex and distressing circumstances, and they do it well. The development of these courses will build on work already being undertaken by child protection and family services by furthering their skills to better support families and strengthen the workforce.’

Head of La Trobe’s School of Social Work and Social Policy, Associate Professor Margarita Frederico, said the new courses build on the University’s national and international reputation in family and child welfare studies.

‘It is particularly exciting that we have a unique consortium of key academic and service organisations collaborating in developing and delivering these courses. The consortium is consulting with the local, national and international child and family services sector to enrich curriculum development and course delivery,’ she said.

The Graduate Certificate will equip students with broader knowledge and skills to help them build relationships with families, work with them to make decisions and plans for their children’s best interest and take care of themselves. It also offers advanced training to help deal with situations where there has been abuse and neglect.

The Graduate Diploma focuses more on management skills. It emphasis the latest research and skill development, and how to support and promote the best interests of children to make sure they are at the heart of all decision-making and practice.

The courses are for child protection and family services workers who have a degree or equivalent and a minimum of two years’ practical experience.  Applications are now open. Teaching begins in August. Details from Lynne McPherson, Department of Human Services, Tel (03) 9096 2878 or Email:

Media queries: Margarita Frederico, Tel (03) 9479 2407 or Email




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