Meet our South Otago Team Leader, Katherine

By Anglican Family Care | Posted: Sunday April 30, 2023

Recently, we had a new face join us in our South Otago kapa (team), so we asked Katherine to tell us a bit about herself.

Our South Otago Team Leader, Katherine Chamberlain — Image by: Anglican Family Care

What’s your background?

I did my social work qualifications through Otago University as a postgraduate. My bachelor’s degree was in primary teaching and although I enjoyed teaching and loved the time and interactions with kids, throughout my placements I became more and more aware that there were issues like poverty, family harm and what we would now call trauma, that impacted on kids’ ability to learn and just be at school in the first place.

I really wanted to do something about addressing those underlying needs so that is how I came into social work and I haven’t really looked back since. I’ve worked in a number of fields including child protection, school social work, and most recently supporting foster parents with high-needs placements.

Whatever role I’m in, I’m always looking to keep the needs of the child at the forefront of planning and intervention and I’m always asking my team to think about what the impact on the kids is and how can we make life better for them.

What attracted you to the role?

That is probably what attracted me to this role – the opportunity to support a team doing work that I am passionate about while drawing on my leadership skills and experience. I really want us to be known for providing good quality services to children and families. Having a good fit in terms of values is also really important to me and I felt I found that in Anglican Family Care.

The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

“Enjoy every stage” was sage advice given to me by an aunty when I was pregnant with my daughter but I think it applies in so many areas of life. 

To me, enjoying every stage means noticing what is happening and how it fits with the bigger picture, not wishing the time away when it’s hard going or even a bit boring and having gratitude.

At the moment, I’m enjoying this stage of forming and building the team here in South Otago. We are still on the lookout for another social worker to join us on a part-time basis so yeah, enjoying that process, holding the space and keeping an open heart and mind ready for that right person to fit with our team and kaupapa.

Image by: Sarah Thornton