Executive report: CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning

The lifeblood of our service delivery is through the continued passion, dedication and hard work of all our CatholicCare staff and I thank everyone for their support in ‘making things happen’.

2016 produced positive results for CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, most notably through our expansion of services for the people we support. 

The three pillars of unity, quality and sustainability continue to underpin CatholicCare. This is evidenced by our ongoing commitment to offer whole-of-community support and empowerment options to those in need regardless of religion, age, gender, physical and intellectual capacity or ethnicity.

CatholicCare’s progressive approach is person-centred and where feasible, works from an early intervention perspective. We support people to define their goals, identify their strengths and access resources by developing collaborative, open, honest and transparent relationships with clients in a multidisciplinary environment.

Our expansion of services is in line with the identified needs of the communities within which we operate and is evidence-based. Accordingly, in the past twelve months, CatholicCare has introduced clinical assessment services, with an added focus on autism assessment; recruited our first foster carers in the Manning region; created a dedicated Early Interventions team (see page 40) and expanded our NDIS activities into the Manning. Our integrated approach in offering a suite of programs driven by the client is an example of the success of our unity drive.

Unity across the diocese has resulted in programs being offered in Catholic schools and continued opportunities for volunteering by the students in our Community Engagement programs. We have also built on our relationships with local parishes in office co-locations and joint program development.

Over the past year our organisation has also been buoyed by the introduction of a number of new positions to strengthen our quality focus, including a restorations co-ordinator, registered nurse (read more on page 26), behavioural support specialist and quality and compliance administrator. These positions have enhanced the quality and flexibility of our service delivery. We have been granted a 5 years re-accreditation status by the Office of the Children’s Guardian for our Out of Home Care services and continue to re-engineer this program area to focus on keeping kids safe.

A sustainable future in a sector of disruption remains a challenge. We are excited to have opened the doors to the Taree Community Kitchen, which serves lunch to people in the Manning community free of charge, five days a week. The kitchen was bolstered by a generous $30,000 donation from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation and is supported in an ongoing capacity by the generous support of local businesses, schools and individuals, who combine to signify the positivity and reward that come from unity in action. You can read about this service on page 33. The lifeblood of our service delivery is through the continued passion, dedication and hard work of all our CatholicCare staff and I thank everyone for their support in ‘making things happen’.

For CatholicCare, success is building capacity and delivering on empowerment opportunities for the people using our services in a merciful manner. Their goal is our focus. As we look forward as an organisation to 2017 and beyond, we intend to continue our delivery of quality services to ensure our future sustainability and holistic support of our community.

We seek to echo the hopes Pope Francis expressed in Misericordiae Vultus, his letter introducing the Year of Mercy. “A `year of the Lord's favour' or `mercy': this is what the Lord proclaimed and this is what we wish to live….to bring to the fore the richness of Jesus' mission echoed in the words of the prophet: to bring a word and gesture of consolation to the poor, to proclaim liberty to those bound by new forms of slavery in modern society, to restore sight to those who can see no more because they are caught up in themselves, to restore dignity to all those from whom it has been robbed.” (MV 16)

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Helga Smit

Helga Smit is the Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning. Helga is an authority on disability services, Indigenous issues and other social services.

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