Uniting Country SA: Hearing country voices

Authored by:

Status: Completed March 2022

University Partners:

Authors: Catherine MacKenzie and Ian Goodwin-Smith

As part of a larger body of work, the Hearing Country Voices research is in partnership with Uniting Country SA (UCSA) and Centre for Social Impact Flinders.

Report one: 'To do this job you have to have the heart for it'

‘To do this job you have to have the heart for it’ examines the factors that optimise current practice to support the best outcomes for people living in country areas, who have multiple and complex needs.

One of the key research findings was the importance of relationships. The research found that when strong relationships exist, they outweigh the importance of education levels. Additionally, staff training and support were identified as crucial elements for staff satisfaction, staff retention and ultimately, client outcomes.

Report two: Country children in care

This report examines the experiences of children in care, who are living in country areas, and the factors that help them flourish.

Key findings:

  • An expectation that adults are supportive and provide safe environments
  • The unintentional consequences of rigid constructions of risk in child protection systems which can place children and young people at greater risk
  • Improved experiences in care and outcomes if decisions about children in care were child-centred and coupled with a good relationship between the carer and the child

Report three: The effects of pastoral care workers on student wellbeing in regional and metropolitan schools

This research investigates the effects of Pastoral Care Workers (PCW) on student wellbeing in regional schools within South Australia.

The research findings also provided recommendations for school wellbeing leadership teams, providers and the Department of Education to assist PCWs to support young people to flourish.

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