In her 15 years as a social worker, Tegan Tregea has helped support and advocate for some of the most disadvantaged in our community. Tegan is currently the team leader for the First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Program at Hope Street in Melton, which provides specialty support for young people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Driven by a strong sense of social justice, Tegan is passionate about working with young people. We sat down with her to gain an insight into the rewards and challenges of her job.
As an adolescent, I was always against injustice and wanted to do something with advocacy. I probably always knew that I wanted to be doing something that supported other young people but just had no idea how that looked. I jumped feet first into it, loved it from day one, and have never looked back.
A social worker has professional training, usually either a Bachelor Degree or Masters in Social Work from a university. As a professional, social workers maintain a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy with some of our most vulnerable groups in local communities including young people, people experiencing homelessness, and people who require support with education, employment, drug and alcohol issues, mental health and trauma. A social worker utilises practices that centre clients, are strengths-based and solution-focused. You also need to be able to meet the individual and/or family needs of the client through effective assessments, planning and support with the aim of achieving appropriate outcomes as identified by the client.
I am currently the team leader for the First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Program with Hope Street, delivering an emergency response to vulnerable young people and young families who are homeless across Melton and the Melton LGA.
In managing the First Response Youth Mobile Outreach Service team of professionals, we ensure an effective service that responds to the needs of some of our most vulnerable youth within the Melton region. In my role, I am required to create and maintain already established relationships with community agencies to ensure we all work holistically towards minimizing homelessness and the traumatic impact of homelessness on young people across Melton.
First and foremost, I really love working with young people. I don’t think it matters whether they’re disadvantaged or not, it’s an absolute pleasure. I enjoy being a good role model for young people and a strong advocate for them – letting them know what services they can access in their communities. I’m here for one reason, and that’s to ensure I work effectively so that young people have appropriate care and support that will lead to better outcomes.
I am honoured to be working for Hope Street and overseeing the development of the First Response Youth Mobile Outreach program across Melton. I love that I work for an agency that is passionate about youth homelessness and young people across Victoria, and that has other program areas that my team can connect with to assist and support our clients. Some of these programs in Melton are the Hope to Home Program and Transitional Housing.
Even though Melton is such a booming area, there can be a lack of services available to meet immediate needs of young people e.g. housing, mental health, youth friendly G.P etc.
I have also found that young people and/or their families don’t really know where to start when trying to access specific services within the Melton area – a sense of frustration often develops. I have taken phone calls in previous roles within Melton where I can hear the frustration and often despair in young people’s and parent’s voices as they don’t know what to do or where to go. I can empathise with young people or their families as knowing how to access services can be overwhelming.
Enter the industry because you believe in people, because you want to encourage change and growth, because you are dedicated, non-judgemental and most importantly want to create pathways for youth so they have the power and knowledge to create their own futures.
It is important that people entering the industry understand that they will be exposed to many challenges, barriers and heartache. However, I’ve found there are many positives and rewards. The industry is for those that see change coming and will become a part of it. Individuals wanting to enter the industry should complete a Bachelor of Youth or Social Work, which will open more doors. Overall, social work is a pathway that requires strength, continual learning and perseverance.
Find out more about Hope Street’s work here