To recognise National Child Protection Week, we chat with social worker Raji Jacob, who reminds us that child protection is everyone’s responsibility. Raji has been working in the social work team at the RCH for over seven years and shares her insights into advocating for children.
How did you get started in social work?
I am passionate about caring and supporting people, especially children and their families. I followed my heart and went on to study and pursue a career in social work. I am so grateful I did!
Can you tell me a bit about the work your team does?
Our team works with children and their families to support them in adjustment to diagnosis and hospitalisation, grief and loss. We provide trauma and bereavement services. We identify psychosocial complexities, assess risks, keeping the best interests of the child as paramount. We liaise with the multidisciplinary team to identify risk factors, barriers to discharge and work closely with community services and Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) child protection / family violence services to ensure safe discharge planning.
The theme of this year’s National Child Protection Week is ‘Every child, in every community, needs a fair go’—what does that mean to you?
To me, this means treating all children fairly—equal access to services for every family and community to support children with their needs to keep them healthy and safe.
What are some of the challenges you face in this job?
I find it challenging at times when protective concerns become an isolated social work responsibility. Child protection really is everyone’s business! I am also challenged by the sometimes limited understanding of the social work role, the therapeutic work and risk assessment we provide.
What do you enjoy the most about working in the team?
I love working with a fun-loving team, that support and care for each other. I am proud to be part of a social work team, who are strong advocates and champions for children.
What has been your proudest moment working at the RCH?
My proudest moment working at the RCH was when a young person told me that she would like to explore social work as a career option as she would like to help young people feel ‘safe’ just the way she did.