CareSouth’s PIQ team joins industry leaders at ACWA conference

Presenting their work to peers at the recent Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) conference was a highlight for CareSouth’s Practice Improvement and Quality (PIQ) Manager, Dr Kylie Evans-Locke and Practice Lead, Lauren Pengelly.  

Kylie and Lauren showcased the work the PIQ team has been doing with staff using a Tools Down approach, an initiative designed to enhance and improve staff knowledge and casework practice. ACWA is the peak body representing community organisations working with children and families, and the conference brings together experts in the field from across the community services sector. Industry leaders at the conference were keen to hear about Tools Down and how it improves outcomes for children and young people, with a full house tuning in to Kylie and Lauren’s presentation.

The initiative improving CareSouth’s service delivery for families

Tools Down is an initiative encouraging CareSouth staff to reflect on their work, learn, collaborate, and introduce industry best-practice standards. Tools Down improves casework practice across the organisation by sharing knowledge and using research, evidence, evaluation and policy. The benefits we see within our practice, flow on to positively impact those we support.

“Presenting at industry conferences is really important,” says Kylie, who was also shortlisted for an ACWA Service Excellence Award for exceptional service to achieve lasting and positive outcomes for individuals, families and communities.

“The ACWA conference gives CareSouth staff a chance to show off some of the good things we’re doing and look at what everybody else in the sector is doing. I always find that there are some great ideas that come from attending conferences. We have brought many things back from the ACWA conference that our team is keen to implement to enhance what we’re already doing. Many sector leaders at the conference found our work with the Tools Down project really valuable. There were lots of questions at the end of our presentation.”

Along with the weekly Tools Down initiative, CareSouth staff also attend an online activity run by PIQ each month, covering topics that help improve casework practice.

“Last month, we ran a session on case planning,” says Kylie. “Previously, we have looked at Life Story Work and discussed the importance of language in our roles. We look at areas where data has shown us, we need to strengthen our practice. Having access to data and evidence is a game changer for this organisation; it allows PIQ to see where we need to improve and target our efforts to help teams meet those benchmarks through knowledge translation.”

The impact on our families, carers and young people

“Tapping into collective wisdom across the organisation is a really important way of sharing knowledge and expertise,” says Kylie.

“When you’re in the thick of casework, there’s a lot of feelings and emotions involved because caseworkers want the best outcomes for kids. The PIQ team is able to help them achieve that by bringing caseworkers together to share their experiences and provide a distanced perspective where needed. We have no skin in the game; our advice is based solely on evidence, standards and best practice.”

Kylie believes having a PIQ team has changed the practice landscape for CareSouth, adding an extra layer of support to its frontline staff.

“The PIQ team works alongside staff to create a skilled workforce that can embrace continual improvement,” says Kylie.

“Practice and evidence continue to evolve in this sector in response to child protection challenges. Having a dedicated PIQ team to translate the latest research into everyday skills and practice ensures that caseworkers, team leaders and program managers are kept up to date with industry best-practice.

“This allows CareSouth to create meaningful and positive change for our clients and communities.”

To learn more about CareSouth’s services supporting children, young people, families and disability clients, you can give us a call on 1300 554 260 or visit our website