Pathways Practitioner Department of Human Services SA


The SA Government has committed to reforming the child protection system in South Australia. The Department of Human Services (DHS) has lead responsibility for implementing the Child and Family Support System (CFSS) reform, in which Safer Family Services (SFS) plays a key part.

Safer Family Services (SFS) provide help and support to children and their families at risk of harm, neglect and family violence, by deliberately and strongly intervening to disrupt the patterns of intergenerational trauma, and increase the number of children able to be cared for safely in their homes, connected to culture and community. This is particularly relevant for children and families with multiple and complex needs.

SFS have established a centralised triage team for referrals to services provided by SFS across South Australia for key partner agencies to refer vulnerable, and at-risk children and their families. The Pathways Service Team are a critical ‘front door’ service to provide initial ‘triage’ assessment of safety and risk for vulnerable children and their families, to ensure the most appropriate intervention pathway is identified and sourced.

The Pathways Practitioner is accountable to the Supervisor, CFSS Pathways for:

  • Providing efficient and quality initial assessment for the purposes of triaging from the centralised referral line for key stakeholders.
  • Strengthening communication and understanding between key stakeholders for timely and effective service responses to meeting the needs of vulnerable and at-risk children and their families.
  • Demonstrating effective initial assessment to respond to child protection risks, including family violence, and needs of vulnerable children from pre-birth through to 18 years old and their families.
  • Promoting and developing partnerships with government and non-government support services, to identify and implement responses to mitigate child protection risk and improve safety for vulnerable children and their families.
  • Creating opportunities to work in collaboration with other services to effectively link vulnerable children and families to relevant services.
  • Identifying risk and assessing the needs of vulnerable children and families, planning and delivering focussed initial assessment for referrals (or case practice interventions including home visits if required) to safeguard children and young people within their families and communities to promote positive outcomes.

Key outcomes and accountabilities:

  1. Develop local, regional and state-wide networks with a broad range of government and non-government agencies, to promote outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families at risk of a statutory response.
  2. Contribute to the professional knowledge base; reinforce professional ethics and standards in decision making. Integrate contemporary information and research evidence with practice/assessment experience to support decision making, innovative thinking and objective analysis and case work.
  3. Consult with Cultural Elders, Cultural consultants and other relevant community members, to enhance culturally appropriate and accessible services to all client groups (with particular focus on Aboriginal children, young people and their families).
  4. Lead or co-work the delivery of supportive triaging responses to children and their families, identified as at risk, and recording all client related activity in identified data systems.
  5. Engaging with the Supervisor, Senior Practitioner, and other specialist practitioners (as required), through supervision, regular case discussion and reflective practice sessions, and implementation of evidence-based practice which provide high quality clinical assessment for vulnerable children, young people and their families. Using professional judgement to determine the most appropriate service pathway to meet the risk and safety needs of vulnerable children and families.
  6. Work in, and with, the Safer Family Services, to contribute to the objectives, and strategic direction.

Note: Any other responsibilities in line with the classification level of the role as assigned by Line Manager and/or the Department. The responsibilities as specified above may be altered in accordance with the changing requirements of the role.

  • National Police Check required.
  • Employment-related Screening Check required.
  • Some out of hours work may be required.
  • Some interstate and intrastate travel may be required.
  • Must hold a current Australian issued driver’s licence (equivalent to minimum class C).
  • Incumbent will be required to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination status prior to engagement with DHS, unless it would be medically unsafe for the employee to do so.
  • Role Status: Term up to 06/09/2024 (Multiple positions available.)

The Pathways Practitioner position is an AHP2 Level role for an experienced Social Worker. It is an opportunity for Social Workers with demonstrated ability and experience to conduct psychosocial assessments, with strong written assessment skills who have had experience of direct service provision with clients.

Essential Qualifications:

  • An appropriate Social Work qualification from a recognised tertiary institution giving eligibility for full membership with the Australian Association of Social Workers.
  • Persons of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, who have the appropriate background and skills but do not hold the essential qualification, may apply for and be engaged/assigned to the role of Social Worker and will be entitled to apply for any Allied Health Professional roles requiring a qualification in Social Work within the Department of Human Services.

The South Australian public sector promotes diversity and flexible ways of working, including part-time. Applicants are encouraged to discuss the flexible working arrangements for this role.



Department of Human Services SA

Job Salary

Full time