Katherine

Manager, Youth Justice

Department for Communities and Social Inclusion

How did you get to where you are today?

I am a registered psychologist. I have worked for many years across the public sector, in areas including corrections and in health, working with clients in a service delivery role.

I now work in a strategic policy and management position which provides me with an opportunity to be more involved in designing client service delivery.

What does an average day look like?

Working in Youth Justice, I help design policy and programs that aim to ensure young people in the justice system are given an opportunity to take responsibility for their future whilst helping them build positive lives.

As a manager, my day involves a combination of checking in with staff about their individual projects and how those are going.

I am involved in a range of initiatives from data reporting, policy development, strategic planning, project management, and also rewards and recognition practices within the department.

What do you find rewarding about your job?

Over the last three years my division has been responsible for the development of a brand new Act, and for the first time, bring stand-alone legislation into the youth justice system. I was able to oversee the development, drafting and introduction of that piece of legislation.

That legislation provides a framework for the way in which our division works with young people, all the way through assessment and case planning, to their management while they are in the Adelaide Youth Training Centre. That was a terrific project to be part of because it required really in-depth and extensive consultation with a range of stakeholders including the young people themselves. We received great feedback from the stakeholders about our ability to provide a balanced piece of legislation that met not only the needs of community safety but the needs of individual young people in the youth justice system. We were really proud of that achievement.

Why do you do what you do?

Throughout my career, my priority and core job satisfaction has come from being able to see how I am contributing to improving the circumstances of vulnerable members of our community. That has seen me work with people in the justice system, people experiencing post-traumatic stress, and vulnerable young people who are experiencing multiple complex life challenges.

For me, it’s very motivating to be able to make a difference for those people and I really enjoy getting stuck into complex social problems and engaging with other agencies and stakeholders in coming up with multi-faceted solutions to those problems.

What do you see are some of the benefits of working in the public sector?

I believe there is fantastic mobility in working in the public sector. I get to see how other agencies work towards issues and what other opportunities there might be – where there might be a good match between my skillset and interests - and ways in which I might be able to make a difference.

So for me there is a terrific combination of working with lots of interesting people, whilst at the same time being exposed to lots of opportunities for career progression and expansion.

Why have you chosen to work in South Australia?

I’ve always lived in South Australia. I find that it’s a really easy and enjoyable place to raise my children. The schools are excellent and there’s a fantastic diversity of experiences both in terms of our festivals and state culture but also our natural environments like our beaches and the Adelaide Hills.

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