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Encompass Family and Community is In the Spotlight

by PeakCare Qld on 19th May 2016

Home -> Articles -> 2016 -> May -> Encompass Family and Community is In the Spotlight

The Encompass Family and Community team works with organisations and individuals who share their passion for excellence in child and family work. Their interest and experience includes the arenas of child protection, family support, youth services, domestic and family violence prevention, homelessness support and community health. Promoting excellence in child and family welfare and community services is their vision.

Encompass Co-Director, Anne Elliott is clear that her passion for the work she and her organisation undertakes has never faltered: “I have worked in the child protection field for nearly forty years now and my passion for this work has never waned. I think it is because I am continually learning from the organisations and clients with whom I work and to keep abreast of this continually challenging field. Together with my extremely talented Co-Director, Chris-Maree Sultmann, I have been part of Encompass for sixteen years. We often comment that it is gratifying to see that concepts and ideas in child protection practice which were cutting edge when we first began training in them are now part of mainstream practice.”

Since 2000, Encompass has been offering expertise pertaining to the provision of services to children, young people and their families. Directors Anne Elliott and Chris-Maree Sultmann lead a team of highly competent professionals. These consultants proffer various learning and development opportunities to organisations, government departments and other key stakeholders both in Queensland and across Australia committed to the wellbeing of children, young people, families and communities.

Amongst the myriad of services offered in Queensland and across Australia are:

  1. Training - This is targeted to individuals or groups and includes both the Annual Calendar of workshops provided by Encompass as well as on-site workshops designed as required by organisations.
  1. Professional Development - External supervision, mentoring and incident debriefing are all options provided.
  1. Program Development - Program design, the development of policies and procedures, child-safe policies and procedures, and preparation for standards audits and licensing are all within the capacity and scope of Encompass.
  1. Evaluation and Review - Service evaluation and review, performance measurement, action learning and targeted research.
  1. Organisational Development - Strategic planning, team functioning, funding submissions, event management.
  1. Case Services - Including expert case consultation, complex case reviews, mentoring case workers, team leaders and managers, family assessments, time-limited in-home work with carers and/or families.


Change is certainly afoot in Queensland post the implementation of some of the recommendations of the Carmody Report: Taking Responsibility: A Roadmap for Queensland Child Protection (June, 2013).  Anne makes particular note of the Strengthening Families Protecting Children Framework for Practice in that it: “brings an emphasis on working respectfully with families that fits well with the inclusive relationship-based practice that we have always espoused.  Whole-of-family work is still in its infancy in the related youth and domestic and family violence sectors and we have been pleased to be involved with both these sectors as well as with child protection services to help meet the challenges of ‘new ways’ of working.”

In further reflecting on the recent changes and the myriad of issues those working in child protection and family support grapple with, Anne notes both the positive uptake she and her team have noted in the sector as well as the further challenges of truly embracing early intervention: “We have loved seeing the enthusiasm with which the changes, especially those related to more collaborative work with families have been embraced. It is as if some workers feel they have finally been given permission to work in a way that is true to their hearts. There are challenges however in ensuring ongoing skilled risk assessment and risk management while working inclusively with families. We also wonder whether early intervention and support services will ever get the impetus they deserve, when funded services continue to be required to prioritise complex cases that might otherwise require statutory responses.”

Whilst many in the sector are well aware of the impact of the 3 Inquiries into Child Protection in Queensland that occurred within a span of 15 years, the reality of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is also significant. The Encompass team have observed positive signs that opportunities are being sought out in order to pay attention to the issues highlighted thus far through the work of the Royal Commission: “We have noted of late an increase in requests from educational and community-based services wanting to ensure that they have excellent child-safe policies in place. It is good to see that this pre-empting of the outcomes of the Royal Commission is already leading to improved practices.”

Whilst Encompass is Brisbane based, they work throughout Queensland and nationally with individuals, teams, programs, organisations and inter-agency groups across non-government and government agencies: “We work inclusively with high levels of consultation so that our services are tailored to the specific needs of each client” says Anne Elliott.

A recent example of Encompass engaging with organisations and government around program development and research is evidenced by their partnership with PeakCare Queensland and Paul Testro Consultancy Services in the Trauma-informed Therapeutic Framework for Residential Care Project contracted in 2015 by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS). The reports of that project are in three parts:

Final Report (Stage One): Trauma-informed therapeutic framework for residential care project

Click here to view the report

Final Report (Stage One) attachment one: Proposed Hope and Healing Framework for Residential Care

Click here to view the report

Final Report (Stage One) attachment two: Implementation

Click here to view the report

Encompass schedules about 16 workshops a year and receives upwards of 60 to 70 further requests each year from non-government organisations and government agencies for in-house training or the development of specific workshops.

Upcoming training opportunities include:

Tuning in to Acting Out—responding to the behaviour and needs of young people on Thursday 2 June 2016. Working with young people with challenging behaviours can be a source of both frustration and reward. As a practitioner you can be left wondering what will really make a difference and allow for positive change. This one-day workshop is for those of you wanting to respond effectively to the sometimes ‘challenging’ behaviour of young people. In this workshop, we move beyond censure and reactive responses to a place where young people are truly heard, as part of building trust and secure connections. This very practical workshop explores the causes of typical behavioural communications. We consider the roles of trauma, loss, attachment and security and how these shape the young person’s view of the world and their role in it. Practical links are drawn between trauma and attachment theory and their application in everyday practice.  

SaFa® (3) training – The relationship route to safe families: complex case planning on Thursday 23 June 2016. The SaFa® training series is underpinned by Encompass’ special expertise in working to help create safer families, able to meet children’s and young people’s needs for safety, security and self-worth. The shared theme of each of the SaFa® training sessions is relationship as the medium for building the capacity of families to be safer families. Working with families to help them achieve goals for improved family functioning means staying focused on the possible. SaFa (3) explores hopeful practice in complex case planning.

To see more training opportunities click here

To visit the Encompass website click here

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