Staff Development and Mentoring

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My name is Colby Pearce and for the last twenty-eight (28) years I have provided a direct psychology service to children and young people recovering from a tough start to life and who could not be safely cared for at home, and adults who interact with them in care and professional roles.

I began my career in child protection working out of an outer suburban office of the Department for Families and Community Services (FACS), in 1995. In 2002 I was seconded into an Unaccompanied Humanitarian Minors Program and was one of two Psychologists in the team who visited the Woomera Detention Centre in the aftermath of the 2002 Easter Riots to report to State and Federal governments on the welfare of children and families in immigration detention. In the same year I led the process to develop and deliver in-service Attachment training to employees of the Department.

In January 2003 I moved across to my private practice. However, I remained closely involved in the work of the Department as a contracted provider of psychological assessment and therapy services. I was regularly called upon to make assessments in the more complex child protection and intercountry adoption matters case managed by the Department. I continued to accept referrals to deliver psychotherapy. I was referred many of the most complex young people case managed by the Department. In 2005, and with initial funding from the Northern Wellbeing Program, I established psychology training clinics that operated under my leadership as a joint initiative of the University of South Australia and the Department, from January 2006 to July 2008. Most recently, I developed and delivered the Kinship CARE Project from March 2018 to March 2020, with funding from the Out-of-Home Care Directorate and Psychological Services of The Department for Child Protection (DCP; Formerly, Family and Community Services – FACS).

In collaboration with the Department, and in support of its work, I have continuously delivered psychological services to children and young people for whom the Department has authority to place, and adults who interact with them in care and professional roles, for twenty-eight (28) years. I currently deliver psychotherapy services in support of the work of the Department through my clinic in Belair and two regional clinics based out of the Kadina and Port Pirie offices of the Department.

In addition, I currently deliver expert training and supervision to staff of an Aboriginal kinship care program and the carers they support. I also deliver regular supervision to a local social enterprise that delivers kinship stabilisation and reunification services on behalf of the Department.

Alongside this work, I have written three (independently published) books, periodical articles, and training programs. The TUSLA (Child and Family Agency) Fostering Service in Donegal, Ireland, has rolled out the Triple-A Model of Therapeutic Care to their general and relative foster carers continuously for the last eight (8) years. My trained trainers in the Service have also delivered my program for trauma-responsive practice in schools, Connected Classrooms, for the last two (2) years. I recently delivered my program Responding Therapeutically to Complex and Challenging Behaviours: A Triple-A Approach to the Service. I have delivered training to professionals and carers across Ireland, including in Northern Ireland. In 2020 I had been engaged to deliver training programs to relative foster carers in two TUSLA service areas in Dublin, before the pandemic halted international travel.

I maintain a successful blog site, where I write mostly about child protection: I have begun making a number of my recent training offerings available on the Secure Start® site.

Away from my direct service provision in child and family welfare, across the last thirteen (13) years I have held statutory appointments in the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Scheme (NRAS). I am currently the national co-chair of the Psychology Notifications and Compliance Committee (PNCC1) and Deputy Chair of the Psychology Immediate Action Committee (IAC).

I believe that this snapshot of my professional activity across the last twenty-eight (28) years attests to my knowledge, experience, and professionalism.

I offer a range of staff development and mentoring options for individuals and groups, in organisations and practice settings that service children and young people recovering from a tough start to life, and adults who interact with them in caregiving and professional roles.

Whether you are a leader, decision-maker, or front-line worker, I undertake to develop and extend your knowledge and practice and, in particular, your capacity to reflect on, answer, and implement key deliverables in relation to these three fundamental practice questions:

  • What is really going on here?
  • What can I/we do to respond to what is really going on here?
  • What does success in my/our endeavour look like?

To find out more about how I can assist you or your organisation in your practice with children and young people in out-of-home care and adults who interact with them in care and professional roles, contact me at: