Interstate social worker arrives in Dalby to help youth
AN INTERSTATE social worker has landed in the Western Downs to assist at risk youth in Dalby.
The partnership between youth intervention charity Youth Insearch and Dalby State High School contributed to the employment of Adelaide social worker Samuel Weightman.
Leading up to his arrival, their school counselling program worked on a volunteer basis, with youth leaders mentoring students.
The introduction of a new social worker means there'll be a community worker based in the area to help create better outcomes for young people, and to facilitate peer to peer support groups.
Mr Weightman's said his move from South Australia was organic, following his time in residential care with disability support provider Novita.
"While I was there I specialised in disability services and the child protection department, where I had exposure to skills to help deal with escalation behaviours due to trauma, and rapport building strategies," he said.
"I felt ready to transition into a more clinical role, and had a great experience with Youth Insearch, and eventually moved here with my wife."
The partnership has shown promising signs, with Mr Weightman saying the school has an excellent platform for youth who might be searching for involvement in healthy peer groups.
"Peer to peer groups have been successful because sometimes a clinical adult suggesting what should be done might not be as helpful," he said.
"People who do go through the programs and then become involved such as Chantelle Fog, they come through and they're able to connect with the students.
"It's organic and its sustainable."
Dalby State High School's principal Dr Dean Russell said Mr Weightman is the first social worker they have had as part of their partnership with Youth Insearch.
"Schools are starting to realise that kids' mental health issues and student wellbeing is important, and if you stay on top of that stuff it has a major positive impact on all parts of their schooling," he said.
"A social worker can be a really important part of that, and that's why this partnership is very valuable, and we're looking forward to it."
Youth Insearch is an Australian organisation dedicated to empowering young people to take control of their lives by giving them the skills to develop their self-esteem, and help face trauma through peer group support.