A day in the life of a community visitor - Office of the Public Guardian

A day in the life of a community visitor

What do you spend most of your time doing?

No two days are ever the same. I’m a Child Visitor, so I visit children and young people in foster homes, residential care facilities and other institutions. It’s all about building a relationship and talking with them. We talk about things that are going well in their lives, their worries and fears and their wishes and needs. I also advocate for the child if there is a concern for their safety, speaking with their Child Safety Officer or other service providers on behalf of the child.

What are your key responsibilities?

All Community Visitors, whether they’re visiting children or adults are responsible for visiting, advocating, inspecting and reporting. When visiting, it’s all about sitting with the adult or child in their home and listening to what they have to say. Sometimes I use different tools (such as board games or activities) to help them feel at ease and open up to me. Advocacy is about raising and resolving issues, ranging from simple oversights to complex legal issues including when the person is harmed or at risk. In all our interactions we are also inspecting their surroundings and making sure they have access to everything they need. Finally, it is important that all of our interactions are documented and reported.

Why did you choose to become a community visitor, what was your background?

I was drawn to the job due to the flexibility of the role compared to other organisations I had worked for. I have previously worked in a variety of local government and non-profit community organisations. In this role, while I am busy, I am able to work from a home office and have the flexibility to schedule appointments around my family life. What also keeps me here is the importance of our work to the vulnerable children and adults we visit – through our role we give them a voice.

What is the most rewarding part of being a community visitor?

When I’ve helped someone feel safe, when I’ve helped a child change a decision they didn’t like, or when I’ve helped a person get access to the support that that they need. It’s a rewarding feeling to know I’ve helped make a difference in someone’s life. It’s also rewarding to see and hear the happiness of a child when they greet you at the door. The client’s we visit – both adult and child -  need a whole network of people they can confide in and trust, and when they greet you with such excitement you know you are a part of that helping network.

What has been the most challenging part of your role?

It is hard when a decision doesn’t go the way a child wanted it to go. Sometimes that happens when what a child wants may not be in their best interests. However that still doesn’t discount the importance of giving the child a voice in the process. It is also challenging hearing about the traumatic events these children have experienced. I am continually amazed at the strength and resilience of the children and young people I visit.

What is your favourite memory as a community visitor?

Some of my best memories are when a child starts to trust you and opens up about their thoughts and feelings.  One young child recently thanked me for being the person who always understands what she is trying to say.  Another phoned me unexpectedly, after moving out of the area, to thank me for all the help I’d given him as his Community Visitor.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you offer those thinking about becoming a CV?

If you’re interested in protecting and promoting the rights and interests of vulnerable Queenslander’s than the role of a Community Visitor might be a great fit for you.  We have a range of people from different backgrounds, what’s really important is that you can work autonomously from home, that you’re able to remain objective and have strong written communication skills for our report writing.

What education or experience would you recommend people need to get this job?

Our team of Community Visitors have a diverse range of backgrounds, all of which bring a different perspective. We have psychologists, social workers, teachers, early childhood educators, lawyers, nurses, youth workers and many more. Above all, it’s about being able to engage with vulnerable people and communicate their rights, needs and wishes.

If this sounds like the role for you, find out how to apply for current opportunities here.