The role of a Child and Youth Worker (OPS3)

As a Child and Youth Worker within residential care, you will work with children and young people to develop specific programs and services to meet their needs, this includes ensuring that their daily care needs are met whilst living within our Residential Care facilities. In this role you will be also be assisting children and young people to develop their social and living skills which will help them to transition successfully into the community and /or reunification or reconnection with their families or other suitable care options. In this role, you will have the opportunity to assess and respond to their individual needs and ensure their safety within this setting as well as within the community.

This role is open for you to apply at any time, however we do undertake regular sweeps of the applications received to enable us to prepare for our intakes. We will sweep our candidate pool a couple of months prior to our scheduled intakes. These dates are flexible and can change depending on the needs of the business so we would encourage you to complete and submit your application as soon as you are ready to apply.

Should you undertake a selection process through to completion an you are unable to commence in the next available intake, your application will remain active in our Recruitment pipeline for 12 months.

If you are interested, please read the information below, and refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 887.1 KB) for additional information.

The DCP Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2019-2022 aims to increase the Aboriginal workforce across all roles, but particularly within Residential Care as the number of Aboriginal children in care is disproportionate with the general population. DCP is therefore committed to identifying and promoting employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants. As an applicant, you can identify yourself on the application form that you complete for this role. You will be provided with additional support to assist you through the selection process. Please refer to our frequently asked questions (PDF, 887.1 KB).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are encouraged to read this Psychological Assessment information sheet (PDF, 502.2 KB) which contains further information relating to this process.

To achieve best outcomes for the children and young persons in your care, you must be able to think quickly on your feet, and use assertive communication and problem solving skills to help guide and determine solutions which keep everyone safe. On a daily basis, you will face challenges which will enable you to use the skills you have learnt in your training to make a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in South Australia.

When considering this role, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can I deal with complex children and young people across a full shift and deal with their complex and competing demands?
  • Can I deal with children with special needs and behaviours without judgement?
  • Can I work in a highly stressful environment, where I am required to problem solve constantly to resolve issues?
  • Can I deal with one crisis after the other, understanding that I must follow the principles and practices of DCP in the management of children and that I cannot impose my own values or ideals on the children in care?
  • Can I act and behave without judgement to maintain a stable relationship with the children and young people in my care?
  • Can I deal with trauma during every shift which can impact my emotional wellbeing?
  • Can I work within a rotating roster of 8 hour shifts, day or night, which involve weekends and public holidays, understanding I may have to miss family/social events?
  • Am I fit and active so that I can meet physical demands of this role?

We are currently recruiting! Our job vacancy remains open on an ongoing basis so you can apply at any time. Please go to our DCP JobsBoard to see the vacancy and apply. We process applications as they are submitted.

Please refer to the Recruitment Process section below for further information on how your application will be managed.

We’re looking for people who have experience or training in environments where you may have supported children and young people, particularly those that are vulnerable. This may include some transferrable skills from work or training in the following areas:

  • child care
  • early childhood development
  • child and youth work
  • education
  • health and social work

Some of your skills from these areas may be transferable (caring with children and young people, solving problems, etc.); however, this is a very different environment. Children in care are currently not living with their immediate families therefore this environment can be very challenging. It is very different from caring for babies and children in a child care setting or for children that have a direct trusting/loving relationship with you as a parent.

The role description outlines all of the requirements of the role. You are encouraged to consider this information before applying.

You are employed as a Child & Youth Worker, at the Operational Services Level 3 (OPS3). You are employed under the South Australian Modern Public Sector Agreement Salaried: 2021. This agreement outlines your salary and conditions.


The OPS3 remuneration level is between $64,636 - $68,886 per annum.  Your commencing salary will be determined when an offer is made.  This is 24/7 shift work, therefore shift penalties apply to weekday afternoon and night shifts, weekend shifts and public holidays.

In a full-time position you will work 76 hours per fortnight. You are required to work a 24/7 shift roster which includes and am shift, pm shift and night shift. This also includes working weekends and Public Holidays. Penalty rates apply to public holidays, weekday afternoons, weekday nights, and weekend shifts.

Part time positions are available and may be requested. Your salary will be adjusted to actual hours worked, however you will still be required to work shift-work. Casual positions are available and should you work casual, you will receive a casual loading to compensate you for this working arrangement. Casual work is available across all shift rosters and days, including Public Holidays.

Residential Care has locations all across metropolitan Adelaide, and many regional sites as far as the south east (Mt Gambier) through to the Mid North (Whyalla).  Should you be successful and recommended to the Pool, your location will be considered should offers be made.

From time to time we may specifically advertise for positions in our regional locations. If you are interested in a Regional role, please indicate this in your application letter.

Being a Child and Youth Worker in one of our regional locations offers many personal benefits whilst providing terrific opportunities for professional development.

Affordable housing, great schools, short commute times, fresh country air and a relaxed community lifestyle are some of the benefits that can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance in our regional locations.

Professionally, you will have the experience of working in a small, close-knit community, providing a unique opportunity to gain valuable skills and experience whilst developing your team-work and leadership capabilities.

We are looking for candidates who:

  • hold a Working with Children Check (WWCC) and can maintain this whilst working for us
  • hold a current Australian driver’s licence (P2 or above)
  • undertake and maintain a satisfactory psychological suitability assessment to work with children and young people whilst working with DCP – refer to Psychological Assessment Section below.
  • hold (or be willing to obtain prior to commencing) HLTAID004 – Provide Emergency First Aid in an Education Care Setting (Unit of Competency) prior to commencement – refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 887.1 KB) for further information.
  • if you do not already hold this certificate you can successfully complete the CHC40313 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention within 12 months of commencing with DCP (this is paid for by DCP).
  • Are available to attend the first 8 weeks of training on a full time basis. This includes a combination of training days and work shadow shifts. Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (Section 4 – Training and Induction) (PDF, 887.1 KB) for further information.

We are also interested to hear from you if you have:

  • 12 months’ relevant experience working with children / young people in a residential or related care setting;
  • hold CHC40313 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention or related discipline.

The Role Description outlines all of the essential criteria, special conditions and essential qualifications and experience required for this role. The Role Description is available in the Job Pack and it is important that you have read and understand this.

As someone who will be working with young people and their families it's important that the department employs individuals who can ensure the safety and high quality of interactions with young people and staff.

It is a requirement under the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 that any person employed in Residential Care undergoes a psychological assessment. If you progress through the selection process you will be invited to attend a psychological assessment.

Psychological assessments are made up of two parts - a psychometric assessment followed by a one-to-one interview with a psychologist.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People are encouraged to read this Psychological Assessment information sheet (PDF, 502.2 KB) which contains further information relating to this process.

If you are assessed as unsuitable to be employed in a children's residential facility, you may not be able to undergo a further psychological assessment for employment in a children's residential facility for at least 12 months.

This will impact on your ability to work with children in DCP and other residential care facilities (paid or unpaid).

See the Chief Executive's determination (PDF, 28.4 KB) for more details.

The legislation specifies that no person can work within Residential Care if they have been deemed psychologically unsuitable. This includes volunteers or individuals who are employed via another organisation and are contracted to work in Residential Care.

Your basic personal information, including assessment results may be shared internally within DCP, or with organisations across the sector where it is legislatively required.

This information will only be shared for the purposes of employment within Residential Care (including volunteer positions).

As part of the assessment you will be required to acknowledge and sign a consent form, authorising the sharing of this information. If you choose not to sign the consent form, you will not be able to progress in the recruitment process.

Approved providers for this service are PsychCheck and PsychMed.

You are required to undergo a Medical Assessment to ensure that you meet the inherent requirements of the role. This is performed by an external provider. You are required to complete this medical prior to any offer being made to you.

Should advice be provided of a medical condition and/or injury that may impact on your ability to undertake the role, you may be requested to provide additional information, or invited to undertake a Functional Capacity Assessment to further assess your suitability. This will be communicated to you should the need arise by the Recruitment Team. You are strongly encouraged to read the Demands of the Role Information Sheet (PDF, 730.9 KB).

The below steps provide you with an overview (indicative) of the selection process. The sequence of the below activities and the time taken can vary from process to process. This may be dependent on the number of positions available, the number of candidates who applied and when we have intakes.

The process will be split in to two stages; the first stage of the process will include Steps 1 to 6. Steps 7 to 9 will only occur once vacancies have been determined and there is a requirement to facilitate an induction/ training program (or intake).

For recruitment in our regional locations, the steps may change or be adapted. Every attempt will be made to support local recruitment activities.

Recruitment stage 1: online application, then eligibility checks, then telephone interview, then suitability assessment, then psychometric assessments, then referee checks. Stage 2: assessment centre, then final pre-employment and medical screening, then selection outcome.

The selection process and outcomes can take some time. We will only complete Stage 2 when we are looking to process another intake. Stage 1 will likely move relatively quickly. Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 887.1 KB) for further information in regards to the selection process and all the steps.

We establish a pool of suitable candidates who have been recommended. If you proceed through the selection process and complete all elements, you will be advised of the outcome in writing. If you are successful, you will be advised that you have been recommended to be on this pool.

The pool is active for 12 months and during this time you may be contacted an offered employment and an opportunity to undertake the training. We will always try to give you as much notice as possible, but we do aim to provide at least 3 weeks’ notice. You may also be required to undertake some further pre-employment screening activities. This will be explained to you at that time.

If you are unsuccessful, you will be notified in writing. All your assessment results are valid for a period of 12 months; therefore, you will only be eligible to be reconsidered after that expiry time.

If you are offered employment as a Child & Youth Worker, you will automatically be enrolled into CHC40313 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention. This is a nationally accredited course. Similar to any nationally accredited course, you will be required to complete all subjects and assessments to be eligible to receive this qualification. This accredited training is provided by TAFE SA as the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) that DCP has partnered with.

You do not have to pay for this course, and you will also attend all scheduled training components in paid time.

As part of you completing this program, the first 8 weeks of your employment will involve you doing a combination of work shadowing and attending training days. You may be required to attend anytime between 9 am and 5.30 pm on your nominated training days. During your work shadowing placements, you will be required to work a combination of AM or PM shifts in any one of our properties. This information will be provided to you during week 1 of your training. The training will provide you with an understanding of how our properties operate before you commence your first shift.

An indication of the 8-week training schedule can be viewed in this Example Training Schedule (PDF, 778.4 KB).

Over the remaining months (up to 12 months), you will complete the rest of the training units, which includes completing all required assessments, this is generally during your probationary period. Please refer to Section 4 of the FAQ’s (PDF, 887.1 KB) for further information. An indication of the roster a Child and Youth Worker could work can be found in this Example 24hr & Night Shift Roster (PDF, 368.4 KB). Typically employees work through lines 1-3 and then it keeps repeating. Please note, these rosters are only examples and are subject to change and individual circumstances.

Our Information Sessions

We regularly conduct information sessions. These are split into 2 modules – Module 1 outlines the role of the Child & Youth Worker and is generally conducted by a current staff member of Residential Care. In this session you will be provided with a general overview of the role, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions specific to the role.

Once you have attended this session, you can book into Module 2 – Module 2 relates to the Recruitment & Selection process. In this session you will hear from the Recruitment Team who will take you through the process, and answer any specific questions you have.

Information Sessions will be scheduled regularly, please return to this site for any updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before making contact with us, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, 887.1 KB). This document provides you will all the information on this role and what is required. If you are still unsure you can contact the Recruitment Team via email at:

Bruno is a Senior Child & Youth Worker for our Department. Read more about Bruno.

Working in the public sector allows career development by offering continuous training for staff in a safe, secure and inclusive environment


Department for Child Protection Recruitment

Related links

Careers in child protection

Vacancies in the Department for Child Protection