In her mid-twenties Riak is a social worker with definite enthusiasm for her work. With a couple of years professional experience already behind her, working with both child protection and immigrant and refugee family resettlement with the now defunct Humanitarian Settlement Service, Riak is looking forward to her position with Uniting Launceston.

Still working with the Migrant Resource Centre three days a week, Riak is new to the Uniting PYPS (Pregnant and Young Parent Support) programme. Viewing the appointment as a continuation of her experience of working with families, Riak wants to continue to expand on her knowledge of relational aspects of social work especially between parents and children.

Consumers of Uniting’s PYPS services are referred through the Gateway system with goals already identified to work towards. Riak is eager to help parents achieve these goals which commonly include parenting skills with emphasis on attachment and bonding between parent and child. Hoping to improve her own knowledge of the impact and stages of learning in child development Riak is a willing help and companion to walk with the families that she is assigned. The chances to learn as well as support are evident in her approach and demeanour.

When asked about her goal in the PYPS area Riak is definite in her reply; “For them to achieve what they want for the safety of both the children and the parents.” In this she is insistent that the process be mutually respectful in reliability and flexibility encourages the parents to be equally responsible in the success of the outcomes. One of the best outcomes would be to “watch the parents grow.” Riak enjoys working at Uniting because it is a hopeful space in family services.

Originally from Sudan, Riak has lived most of her life in Australia and understands some Arabic and Dinka. Her ongoing work with migrant teenagers in her other job, and work with Healthy Tasmania, bring an engagement with wider community and broaden her experiential knowledge base. Future professional interests may include growing an understanding of family violence and mental health. Private goals are sleep, television and hanging out with friends!

Still new in her position with Uniting, Riak is looking forward to long term results and happy outcomes for families she works with.

Annetia Goldsmith