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Social innovation takes career transformation full circle for child welfare worker

Social innovation takes career transformation full circle for child welfare worker

Published:10 July 2017

The chance to travel to Miami with CQUniversity for the Ashoka U social innovation conference helped CQUni graduate Susan Morey realise her true passion for helping people transform their lives.

In 2016, CQUniversity Biomedical Science graduate Susan Morey was planning a career change.

Passionate about scientific process, the former police officer and child welfare worker had returned to study to gain her Medical Science degree, and find a new job in the field.

But earlier this year, the chance to travel to Miami with CQUniversity for the Ashoka U social innovation conference sent Susan back to the drawing board – as she realised her true passion for helping people transform their lives.

“Going to Ashoka and meeting all those fantastic people, who were so inspired and passionate about changing the world – and suddenly I thought, that’s how I feel about taking care of kids and helping families!” Susan said.

Susan had been working as a medical laboratory scientist for Queensland Health since January this year, but recently quit the role to return to her previous career.

“I’m going straight back to my old job in Mt Isa, at the Department of Child Safety and Communities,” she said.

“I realised I can’t be in a job where there aren’t people involved in it – and being in remote communities is where I can make the biggest impact.”

Susan has spent her life working with disadvantaged communities, with six years at NSW Department of Community Services, including three years in a team investigating criminal offences against children.

She then entered the Queensland Police Service, confident that her experience in child welfare would ensure she could make a difference.

“Every move I made, it was about increasing impact – joining the police, I felt like I’d seen both sides of the system, but it also gave me the power to intervene, to take out a domestic violence order, for instance.”

Living and working in Bundaberg, she started her first CQUni degree during her 10-year career with QPS, serving as a police prosecutor, school-based police officer, and senior constable.

Now based in Roma, Susan said her most recent studies have given her new tools for returning to child welfare.

“I have such a huge understanding of nutrition and health now, and having a better understanding statistics and data is a huge part of interpreting medical documents for children,” she said.

“Even things like assessing risk, I’ve realised that’s a big part of working with families."

Although it’s been a big decision, Susan said she’s never been happier now she’s heading back to remote communities.

“I really missed seeing families getting better, and making progress – it’s such an intensive process, and you have to really work with people and show them that you believe in them,” she said.

“I especially missed the community of Doomagee. It’s was so remote and had plenty of challenges, it was surprising that I missed it, but I guess that’s how much I loved the amazing people there.”

With three subjects to go in her current degree, Susan hopes to eventually finish the study – and to grow her social innovation experience.

“I definitely want to find a way to mesh both these sides of my life, both the science and working in child welfare, and I really believe social innovation can make this happen.

“The thing I like about DoCS in Queensland is that they are always striving to improve, they’ve brought out good new frameworks, and some of the staff that work there are the most knowledgeable, skilled advocates for children that you’ll find.

“I’d definitely recommend that CQUni students consider a placement in Mt Isa – it’s definitely eye-opening, and great experience.

“There’s so much potential there for transforming children’s lives, and I’m so excited to be part of it again!”

To discover more about social innovation opportunities at CQUniversity, visit cqu.edu.au/socialinnovation.