Darcy Cavanagh, co-founder and manager of REFOCUS Inc on the Sunshine Coast, gives an insight into working in the community service sector. REFOCUS is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that works with children, young people and families to keep them together, safe and well within community. Their support workers support families to reduce child protection concerns with the intent to empower families to become strong and reliable family and community networks.

Darcy talks about his work with REFOCUS, and his journey to enter the sector.


Hi I'm Darcy Cavanagh, manager of REFOCUS, so REFOCUS stands for redirecting and empowering families through opportunities and culturally unique services. I've been co-founder of that and the director of that organization now for six years. My role is management, so in that is team-leading as well because we're only a small team we don't have budget for a team leader or senior practitioner or anything like that.

My journey in life I suppose is one of the things, I had been a child in care for a period of time - myself and my two brothers. Coming in I just wanted to be a social worker really, and so I started off as a trainee admin at an Aboriginal service called ACRA in Brisbane - that's where it's lead me today I suppose, being a part of setting up an organization that gets to the depth of the issues of our people and really works with them and sort of builds those relationships and gives people their voice.

We've got some feedback letters from our families to write how we've been going with them and just what we make them feel and I suppose the thread in those 20 letters that we got back that we read was that they felt they had a stronger voice. And I suppose that achieves our full outcome of you know REFOCUS, what that stands for, redirecting and empowering families, but I think it's just always too, as long as you just change one little thing, help them see something in a different light, just one, I think my job's done in a sense, you know what I mean, because you're starting to change that cycle.

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