Team Leader Wala Yarka Program (Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care – ACAC)

  • Base/Location:Njernda Aboriginal Corporation Family Services Unit
  • Reports To:Program Manager Wala Yarka
  • Hours:Full-time 37.5-hour week
  • Award:SCHADS Award 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.



Organisational Values:


The Wala Yarka Team 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 (pre-authorisation phase) 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). During the pre-authorisation phase this is guided by the support and partnership of the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

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 team 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 Team Leader is responsible for the effective service delivery and management of a small team of case managers in the new Wala Yarka program under Section 18 of the Children Youth and Families Act 2005 during the preauthorisation phase.
  • Oversee the review of case plans and to bring about the changes necessary to ensure the safety, stability and development of children and young people and to promote the achievement of case plan objectives within specified timeframes.
  • Confidently prepare and represent child protection in the Children’s court – support the case managers to prepare court reports, initiates, prepares, and present in Children’s Court, or other tribunals.
  • Work collaboratively and with a solution focus with families and children involved in Statutory Child Protection Program in their healing journey.
  • Interventions will be guided by the Best Interest Case Practice Model; taking inconsideration the need to protect the child from harm, protect their human rights, and will promote their development. Support families and children to build cultural connections in the community.
  • Provide professional, effective, and timely case management which will include conducting home visit and provide contact opportunities for children with their families. Contact may include the transporting the child.
  • Ensure meaningful participation of families and child in case planning and decision making about their lives.
  • Utilise practice resources when working with families including the practice manual.
  • Prepare 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.
  • Support the child and families to access services by referring to other Njernda services or mainstream services to support a family to meet their goals.
  • Manage competing demands able to negotiate and provide advocacy for children and their families.
  • Able to be flexible and work after hours.
  • Participate in Supervision with a focus on professional development, accountability, and worker self-care.
  • Participate in training to develop practice.


Key Selection Criteria:


Applicants must possess:

Required Education, Experience, and Competencies

  • An understanding of the legislative framework of the Children, Youth and Families Act 2005, and the core principles of the Act.
  • Works confidently with Aboriginal families, children and young people 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.
  • Proven experience in completing assessments including assessments of risks and developing, implementing, and reviewing plans for children, young people and families and can articulate risk verbally and written to a range of stakeholders including the parent, children, and other professionals.
  • Experience in care and case planning with the ability to empower families to set goals and tasks to address safety concerns.
  • 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.
  • Proven experience and skills in supervision, performance management and leading a team.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a complex, fast paced team, to demonstrate resilience in managing competing demands and the capacity to work flexible hours according to work demands.
  • 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.


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 letter
    • 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: Friday 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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