Practice Leader Wala Yarka Program Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care (ACAC)

  • Base/Location:Njernda Aboriginal Corporation Family Services Unit
  • Reports To:Out of Home Care Manager
  • Hours:Full Time (37.5 hours per week)
  • Award:SCHADS Level 5
  • Position Scope:

    The Wala Yarka program, which means “Water children” in Yorta Yorta language, operates under section 18 of the Children, Youth, and Families Act 2005, which offers a new model of child protection practice that involves Aboriginal organisations working in partnership with Aboriginal families. The Wala Yarka programs works with Aboriginal children and young people on specific Child Protection orders and works with a holistic wraparound approach to strengthening and empowering families.

This is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Identified Position


Organisational Values:


The Wala Yarka Practice Leader will embrace Njernda’s vision for empowering our Aboriginal community and the organisations values:

  • Respect – Establishing relationships based on respect and trust.
  • Resilience – Encouraging cultural and spiritual growth to enable personal growth.
  • Cultural Sensitivity – Welcoming and serving our community with understanding and without judgement.
  • Advocacy – Working to transform the disadvantaged and challenge the causes that impact on our community.
  • Accountability – Taking ownership and initiative of Njernda values to ensure trusted collaborations are formed.


About our Wala Yarka Program:

The Wala Yarka program commenced in October 2019 where the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing commenced transferring statutory responsibility of Aboriginal children on children’s court protection orders to Njernda Aboriginal Corporation. This means that all decision making in relation to the care, case planning and case management of the child or young person could now be made at the community level (through the ‘principal officer’ or CEO of the ACCO).

Practice within the Wala Yarka program is guided by the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 which includes best interests’ principles and Aboriginal policies such as the Aboriginal Child Placement Principles. A goal of the Njernda Aboriginal Corporation is to be a leader in the care and protection of children and young people and in working with families and communities to build capacity, resilience, and independence. The Wala Yarka Practice Leader will be part of a ground-breaking team and involved in:

  • Being creative, innovative, and work collaboratively with families and services to find solutions for supporting Aboriginal children, young people, and their families.
  • Working in a holistic wraparound approach to strengthening and empowering families.
  • Quality training in line with Victoria’s Child Protection workforce.
  • A unique experience of statutory work through an Aboriginal perspective.


Key responsibilities:


The Wala Yarka Practice Leader will be highly motivated, enthusiastic and have a sound knowledge of Aboriginal culture and community. In particular the use of cultural ways to promote healing with Aboriginal families and children involved with the Child Protection system.

Reporting to the OOHC Manager the Practice Leader is responsible for three main focuses:

  • Support and mentor program staff in their work with families, children, and young people, through individual consultations, supervisions, training, and leading reflective practice discussions.
  • Lead the development, documentation, and implementation of the Wala Yarka way of working with families, children and young people involved with the Child Protection system. This practice approach will be based in cultural ways of working to promote healing and restoration for children and families whilst administering the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005 for these children.
  • The Practice Leader will work alongside the Program Manager and Team Leader to actively support the program, taking on a range of leadership activities, with a particular focus on ensuring the program is a great supportive environment that allows staff to do their best work with families, children, and young people on their healing journey.

The Practice Leader will be responsible for:

  • Provide expert advice on Child Protection matters and procedures.
  • Provide Leadership and Supervision to Case Managers with particular focus on staff practice development including, Interviewing practices and worker self-care.
  • Provides consultation on all Wala Yarka Cases.
  • Participate in performance management processes.
  • Contribute to practice development of the Wala Yarka program.
  • Attend outreach visits with Case Managers.
  • Oversee the review of case plans in line with legislation.
  • Support staff in preparation to represent the Wala Yarka program at Children’s court including court reports.
  • Conducting and leading reflective practice sessions with the team
  • Mentor staff to work collaboratively and with a culturally sensitive, strength based, and solution focussed approach with families and children.
  • Ensure interventions are guided by the Best Interest Case Practice Model and Wala Yarka practice principles.
  • Oversee the preparation of plans, letters, emails, and reports and write case notes using clear, concise, and grammatically correct language. Ensure written communications contains necessary information to achieve their purpose.
  • Research and explore cultural ways and contemporary practices to address trauma and promote healing for families and children involved in the system. Ensure the practice approach includes up to date research and is firmly based in cultural practices.
  • Supporting Family Led Decision Making and ensuring the input of Elders and community into the decision-making processes.
  • Actively seek opportunities to review and challenge current Child Protection practice and procedures used by Wala Yarka to improve outcomes for Aboriginal families and children and promote self-determination.
  • Support staff with Cultural planning for children and young people in the Wala Yarka program.
  • Contribute to the orientation, training, and support of staff in the program.
  • Able to be flexible and work after hours.
  • Participate in training to develop practice.


Key Selection Criteria:


Applicants must possess:

Required Education, Experience, and Competencies

  • Understanding of Cultural ways of working with Aboriginal children, young people and their families to promote healing, cultural identity, connection to family, community and culture.
  • Understanding of and ability to lead practice development and evaluation.
  • An understanding of the legislative framework of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, and the core principles of the Act and experience in care and case planning with the ability to empower families to set goals and tasks to address safety concerns.
  • Understanding of Aboriginal families, children and young people’s culture and values and a demonstrated knowledge of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community including issues that have an impact on the safety and well-being of Aboriginal children and young people, including intergenerational trauma and experience in working in the child and family sector.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of trauma, child development and attachment theories and an understanding of the issues relating to families who are in contact with Child Protection.
  • Demonstrated ability to deliver best practice and guide staff in culturally appropriate assessments, case planning and case management, including court work, in accordance with the Program service delivery framework.
  • Ability to provide advice and clinical and cultural consultation to support staff working through serious/complex case issues, critical incidents, worker safety issues and quality of care concerns.
  • Well-developed verbal and written communication skills including experience in effective problem solving, dispute resolution and advocacy for clients, court report writing, case notes, incident reports and the use of a range of electronic data systems. Demonstrates effective and culturally appropriate interpersonal skills e.g., active listening, empathy in all verbal and non-verbal communications.
  • Practice guided by the Best Interests Principles that is child centred and family focussed, working towards solutions and healing through a culturally safe therapeutic approach and advocating for the child’s voice.

Personal Qualities:

  • Ability to achieve results – takes initiative to proactively crating solutions and solving of problems.
  • Decisiveness – Makes rational and sound decisions based on consideration and facts.
  • Resilient – responds thoughtfully, seeks guidance, communicates effectively. when working with children and families in crisis and who have experienced trauma.
  • Adaptable – willing to learn.


  • A recognised Social Work Degree or Diploma of Community Services qualification which includes:

(a)           primary focus on child development, human behaviour, family dynamics and/or impacts of trauma; and

(b)           preferably a practical component such as counselling or case work practice

  • Appointment is subject to a satisfactory National Police Records Check and Working with Children Check & Driver’s License check.
  • Commitment to equal opportunity and occupational health and safety principles and practices is required.
  • You will need to disclose any pre-existing illness or injury you know about which could be affected by the described work duties.
  • Under section 82 (7) of the Accident Compensation Act, failure to disclose such a pre-existing illness or injury will mean that, if employed, you will not be paid compensation for that condition.

Written applications should include:

  • a covering letters.
  • resume
  • must address the selection criteria otherwise interview will not be given
  • Please include the names and telephone contacts of at least two referees and forward to:


All applicants must address the Key Selection Criteria and include a recent resume


Address your application marked: “Private & Confidential

To:                   HR Manager

Njernda Aboriginal Corporation

307 High St, Echuca Vic 3564

PO Box 201, Echuca Vic 3564



All applications close: January 12, 2024

Please check the closing date to ensure your application is received within the specified time. Applications may be posted, emailed, hand delivered or faxed (provided that a hard copy is posted on the same day).

Applications may be posted, emailed, hand delivered or faxed (provided that a hard copy is posted on the same day).


All applications close: 12th Jan 2024

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