Issue 9
Monday, 04 November 2019
Charles Darwin University
From left: Dr Janine Joyce, Dr Gretchen Ennis and Julie Uren discuss program delivery
From left: Dr Janine Joyce, Dr Gretchen Ennis and Julie Uren discuss program delivery

CDU hub for social work in the NT

By Kaye Hall

The College of Health and Human Sciences’ Social Work team has won two tenders for social work training design and delivery with Territory Families and Top End Health Services.

The Social Work team views CDU as a real hub for social work in the NT. Teaching, research and community engagement brings the team into contact with the community and practitioners across many fields of social work practice. 

Associate Professor Gretchen Ennis said: “Tendering for work with organisations such as Territory Families strengthens our networks and helps us keep our finger on the pulse of child protection work in the NT.

“Contract work provides real life teaching and learning opportunities, and we can build current practice trends and challenges into coursework,” Dr Ennis said.

“It also leads to research aimed at improving practice.”

The team is halfway through its first contract with Top End Health Services to deliver six months of supervision training to allied health practitioners working in communities across the Top End. The contract is valued at $50,000.

Lecturer in Social Work Dr Janine Joyce said: “We are half-way through the delivery of workshops to allied health staff in Darwin, Katherine and Nhulunbuy, and the response from participants has been very positive. 

“It is a strength of the Social Work team that they can provide professionally valuable training for community-based colleagues,” she said.

The workshops are hands-on, giving participants the opportunity to watch demonstrations and practise their skills. Feedback has been consistently positive and there is demand for more programs in East Arnhem region. 

The Social Work team also has been awarded a $20,000 contract under a CDU Memorandum of Understanding with Territory Families. In partnership with the Northern Institute’s Dr Anne Lowell and Elaine Maypilama, the project group will complete a 20-week evaluation of Mikan, an indigenous child protection reference group in East Arnhem Land. 

Mikan includes 17 Yolngu leaders who volunteer their time to discuss child protection concerns within the East Arnhem region. The group was established in mid-2017, before being funded by Territory Families earlier this year. 

Members requested an independent review of their work and the result is a qualitative participatory research project, co-designed with the group.

“The team is designing the evaluation in collaboration with Mikan and developing the ethics application, which is really innovative,” Dr Ennis said.

“Gaining this tender reflects well on our long history of community engagement and integration of industry and community in our teaching, and many years of collaborative research.”