Psychologist careers

psychologist with child

Psychologists (including clinical and forensic) employed by Community Services play a vital role in shaping and supporting new approaches to child and family support services in NSW

What type of work will I be doing?

Psychologists work with children and families in both child protection and out of home care to address the effects of trauma, grief and loss. They also provide support to caseworkers, managers and other specialists on complex cases.

Psychologists work with vulnerable and disadvantaged families in the community, where risk factors such as abuse, alcohol and drug misuse, domestic violence and psychiatric illness can impact on a child’s development, safety and wellbeing.

They also work with issues relating to psychosocial development and learning across all ages from children and young people, to parents and families.

Community Services Psychologists may undertake an assessment of a family which focuses on the child’s needs and relationships. This type of assessment may provide advice and recommendations to a Caseworker about how best to support the parent(s) to care for their child and by understanding the child’s behaviours and relationships. This type of assessment would identify the child’s strengths and needs within the family or care system and will assist the Caseworker to identify where specific supports may need to be focused.

They may provide a range of psychological interventions such as cognitive behaviour therapy, trauma/attachment focussed interventions, motivational interviewing, parenting and behaviour management, family work and psychoeducation. The type of evidence informed intervention will depend on the reasons for referral and is informed by assessment and case formulation.

Intervention services for children may be implemented across a variety of settings, such as school, foster home or residential settings.  CS Psychologists may also request to see the child or young person at the Community Service Centre where they work. 

Psychologists may also provide ongoing consultation which includes psychoeducation to parents or carers on issues such as managing the behaviour of children or young people in their care and trying to understand the reasons for it, especially in the context of trauma and abuse histories.  Psychologists may also intervene directly with carers regarding their own personal or past issues arising from their roles as foster parents and they may help prepare a family for a new foster child. Likewise, they might support parents with mental disorders and drug & alcohol problems in their parenting roles.

Some Psychologists offer group programs with children, parents and/or carers.  A Caseworker may draw the Psychologist’s attention to a need for a particular target group. All interventions are documented and a report is formally placed on file.  

Community Services Psychologists undertake evidence based, time limited interventions and will provide progress reports and an intervention report to the Caseworker at the conclusion of the intervention. The report specifically outlines the purpose of the intervention, the identified goals and the measured outcome(s) and will often make recommendations for further support for the family.

Part of the Psychologist’s role is to provide training to caseworkers, foster carers and other groups. Issues covered in training depend on the particular needs of the Community Service Centre but may include subjects such as contact for children in OOHC, personality disorders in parents, adolescent development, as well trauma informed care, managing behaviour, attachment, grief and loss in the context of trauma, abuse and neglect.

Where will I be working?

You will work closely with caseworkers in one of 85 Community Services Centres across NSW, combining office and home consultations, and sometimes where necessary, appearing in court.

What qualifications do I need?

The minimum qualification is eligibility for Provisional Registration by the Psychology Board of Australia. Because of the complexity of the role very few provisionally registered psychologists are accepted. Most successful applicants are fully registered psychologists.

A post graduate degree in clinical or forensic psychology or an equivalent is highly regarded.

What are the employment conditions?

Employment with Community Services offers a variety of career prospects, training opportunities and excellent conditions.

Find out more about Community Services employment conditions.

Will I get on the job training?

Community Services psychologists are provided with both group and management supervision and peer consultation. Provisionally registered psychologists are also provided supervision to assist them to meet the requirements of registration with the Psychology Board of Australia.
There are regular planned professional development opportunities.

Community Services provides study assistance in the form of financial and study leave and encourages staff to undertake further training to enhance knowledge and skills.

How do I apply for a position in Community Services?

All vacant psychologist positions in Community Services are advertised on www.jobs.nsw.gov.au

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To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)