SHERIDAN Kennedy has dedicated the last decade to giving kids a voice.
The Bendigo woman discovered her tenacity for child protection after an taking a placement while studying social work at university.
It was there her gift for the challenging work shone and she decided to carve out a career in the sector.
"Since (placement) I have worked way around (the sector) and stayed until 2019 before I had a little break," Ms Kennedy said.
"But I missed the pace and challenges that come along in child protection and was back 12 months later."
Ms Kennedy said while there were challenges that came with the job, the satisfaction of building relationships was once of the positive upsides to her work.
"I don't know what drew me to doing the (initial) placement but I have always had an interest in it," she said.
"I got opportunity to see the kind of relationships you build and what the work entailed.
"My biggest thing was around the engagement with children (and) to give them a safe space to have voice heard. Hopefully, it is a tiny moment in their life.
When I say 'a moment' it is always ideal if there isn't one - the preference is to have no need for child protection - but (we have) to be able to get in and do effective work to support the family and address issues.Sheridan Kennedy
"My current role is community-based team manager, which is is more preventative and supports families not involved in child protection to help them remain out of system. Where there are family operating issues they can consult with us and we pro-actively go out speak with families.
"The biggest reward is being able to keep families out or from re-entering the program."
The state government is calling for more people to get involved in a career in child protection as part of its Go Where You're Need campaign.
Ms Kennedy said while the work could be challenge, there were a lot of positives that came with it.
"There is no shying away that there are challenges in working in child protection but the positive things are the engagement you have with agencies and families alone," she said.
"You walk through journeys as team and always in close knit. You become like little family.
"You need to have a strong passion for supporting the well-being of children and to be the voice for children.
It has its hard days but we keep coming back because we are driven to ensure kids have the best opportunity to be safe in their own environment and feel supported.Sheridan Kennedy
"My view is you need a strong connection and passion for working with children."
To learn more about available child protection jobs and to sign up, visit childprotectionjobs.dffh.vic.gov.au
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