Authors: Janelle Johnson
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: The Establishment of the Ballarat Youth Services Network (BYSN); A professional support network for workers providing services to young people in Ballarat and the Victorian Grampians regions.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Janelle is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years’ experience working with infants, youth, adults and families within mental health, education and disability support organisations. Janelle currently Manages headspace Ballarat, is a passionate advocate for supporting those who support others, and provides supervision and mentoring to clinical and community workers.
Staff are a critical ingredient for quality youth services and research demonstrates that community connection and collaboration can enhance the skills and energy of both new and long-term clinicians (1).
In response to increasing requests from the Ballarat sector to reestablish a Youth Services Network, the Highlands LLEN and headspace Ballarat collaborated to survey the Ballarat Youth Worker cohort in 2017. Whilst we anticipated approximately 30 responses, there was a total of 71 respondents . The data collated, both rich and interesting, we believe is a first in our community.
BYSN has been running for more than 12 months now with 40 participants on average attending each meeting. Its aim is to bring together a diverse range of professionals, strengthen worker relationships, provide professional development and promote new services, programs and staff. Evaluation and future planning processes are underway.
BYSN has been an extremely successful collaboration of Highlands LLEN and headspace Ballarat, with active support from BGT Jobs + Training and The Smith Family. This presentation will focus on how to collaborate, developing a new network with limited funding, gaining the support of management and community stakeholders, and creating innovative responses to the challenge of rural and remote Youth Workers.
Learning Objective 1: Attendees will learn how to establish a professional support network in their location, strategies for gaining diverse youth worker input into development of professional support goals, and attaining management and stakeholder support from competing youth service agencies. Attendees will learn how to improve organisation and worker collaboration, decrease possible duplication of services and reduce worker isolation in a rural setting.
Learning Objective 2: We recognise that staff are a critical ingredient for vibrant youth services; positive staff mental health has an impact on the quality of service and support they can offer their clients, and reduces worker burnout. Programs often attribute their success to effective youth workers, and the research shows that community connection and collaboration can enhance the skills and energy of both new and long-term clinicians.
Peake, K., Gaffney, S., & Surko, M. (2006). Capacity building for youth workers through community-based partnerships. J Public Health Management Practice. s65 – s71.
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