Right man for the job
By DAVID BANCROFT
YOU get the feeling speaking to Jim Brock that he is the perfect fit for his job.
Quietly spoken, calm, considered and gentle are the attributes that are immediately apparent. They are attributes he will need.
Two weeks ago Mr Brock took up a position as the new Grafton manager of the Department of Community Services (DoCS) and, although he is not new to the North Coast, is still getting a feel for the issues of the Clarence and how to deal with them.
Community services work is often heartbreaking and thankless.
It almost always involves intervention in families facing crisis and attempts to provide a better future for children.
Sometimes, usually as a last resort, children have to be taken from their parents. It places workers right in the middle of difficult family situations. Mr Brock says it takes a special type of person to perform the work and it can weigh heavily on the minds of workers.
"You have to learn how to deal with it," he said.
"You won't last long if you can't.
"In many respects you can't turn it off and you have to learn to cope with that.
"But we have a range of structures available in the department to help."
As the first Clarence Valley-based manager of the service for six years, he is keen to get the service to be more proactive.
"If we continue to just be reactive the community won't become a lot safer," he said.
"I would like the community to access us for support rather than coming to us when problems are getting out of control. I'd like to develop closer collaboration with the community and other agencies.
"And we will be changing the profile of early intervention. That is where you can make a real difference."
There are big changes in store for the Grafton DoCS office with staff numbers expected to nearly double as a result of extra government recruiting and a purpose-built new office in the offing.