The work and wisdom of Centacare practitioners is being shared Australia-wide by national infant and child mental health body Emerging Minds.

The organisation, which leads the National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health (NWCCMH), sought Centacare’s input into key online resources and training, developed in response to the needs of professionals, children and their families.

Centacare Relationship Support Services (RSS) program managers Sally McLaren and Clare Klapdor were invited to reflect on a pilot e-learning course aimed at improving understanding of the effects of domestic and family violence on children, and the need for child focused practice when working with parents effected by abuse.

Launched in August, thousands of participants across the country have completed the course, which is offered at no charge.

“Initially, we interviewed the Centacare practitioners to understand their work context around family violence and children,’’ said Chris Dolman (pictured), NWCCMH Senior Workforce Development Officer.

“We then undertook a post-pilot interview where we asked a lot of questions about their experience of the course, what it offered their practice and areas for improvement.

“It gave us a deeper understanding of what practitioners gained from the content, as well as key learnings for future iterations.’’

A practice paper followed to support practitioners in their work with children who have experienced sexual abuse, with Clare and Sally providing input, together with Centacare’s Sun Dancing program.

“Our interest was in supporting generalist services to do good work with families and children prior to referral to specialist services which often have long waiting periods,’’ Chris said.

“Our conversations with Centacare were significant in terms of shaping the paper and sharpening our focus around areas of importance.’’

In recent months, RSS Family Relationship Counsellor Annette Flanagan has worked with Emerging Minds on telehealth practice principles.

“Practitioner wisdom is one of three types of evidence that informs our work and what I really value at Centacare is skilled people who can articulate their practice and share their extensive knowledge and experience.

“It helps us have confidence that what we are doing is going to be of benefit to the people who will be drawing from it in their day-to-day work.’’

RSS Executive Manager Lisa Osborne commended Centacare’s involvement.

“It has enabled Centacare to influence a national network of evidence-based practice; skilled practitioners who are doing fantastic work can make a contribution to the work of others in their sector,’’ she said.