About Us

Our purpose is to provide wraparound support and compassionate care to vulnerable youth, adults and their families in South East Melbourne

Since 1973 TaskForce has provided specialist support for people in serious need in Victoria.

The people who access our services have experienced significant disadvantage or a crisis in their lives and as a result are prevented from reaching their potential. Many have fallen through society’s cracks and all too often have been placed in the “too hard” basket. They are people who have a long term range of complex issues or a single issue with a high degree of severity.

Our core services focus on addressing social issues of alcohol and other drug dependence, unemployment, youth disengagement and high risk taking behaviours, supporting our clients to transition back into “mainstream” services and supports. We assist young people, adults and families. Funding for TaskForce is primarily through Federal and State Government and Local Government tenders, plus your donations.

Our Stories

Read about our clients' journeys

Michael’s Story

Youth alcohol and other drug services client

When TaskForce reached out to Michael, his life was in crisis. At just 19, Michael was forced to leave his family home in country Victoria. He was able to live with family in Melbourne, until he was made homeless by family violence. With learning difficulties, a history of heavy alcohol misuse, and no identification to apply for Centrelink support, things were grim for Michael.

With TaskForce’s support, however, Michael was able to turn his life around. Meeting him intensively, supporting him for up to eight hours a day in times of crisis and speaking to him daily, our youth worker was able to help Michael start breaking down barriers.

Michael was able to access housing and Centrelink supports. With the support of our youth worker he completed a diversion order, keeping him out of the justice system. With housing arranged and his order completed, Michael was able to start looking for work. Most importantly, he was supported to reconnect with his family, and return to the family home. Now Michael is living back in country Victoria, and in stable employment. He volunteers in the community to give back, and still calls regularly to let us know he’s doing OK.

Sam's story

Family services client

Sam was 38 weeks pregnant when she first met with a TaskForce Alcohol and Drug Liaison Outreach Worker (ADLOW). Sam was living with the father of the baby, although they were no longer in a relationship, and he was ambivalent about her pregnancy. She had wanted to terminate the pregnancy earlier, but was unable to as it was too late into the gestation period.

She had been using methamphetamines for the past five years and, although she’d reduced her intake, was still using a point of ice each week.

Sam was able to stop using ice for a couple of weeks before we saw her. During her assessment, we worked with Sam on her triggers, helping her identify the immediate causes of her drug consumption. We explored self-care options, with Sam attending regular check-ups and asking her mother for more support in order to maintain her abstinence. We also offered her to connect to our Care and Recovery case management team, which she accepted.

Sam gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Evie. Sam proved to be a caring, compassionate mother. Child Protection engaged on a voluntary basis, but exited Sam quickly after she engaged in long-term AOD treatment and completed clean drug screens. Sam still sees her TaskForce Care and Recovery outreach worker to help her manage her and Evie’s support needs, and she remains healthy and substance free.

Dylan’s Story

Youth alcohol and other drug and tranisition services client

At 17, Dylan had a severe problem with drug misuse, compounded by undiagnosed mental health issues. Dylan was in crisis. But in 2016, he was connected with a TaskForce youth worker, and with their help, things started to change.

TaskForce linked him in with a psychiatrist, and after a stay at a residential rehabilitation centre, worked with him towards recovery. Dylan was supported with strategies to minimise harm caused by his drug use, reduce his drug cravings and stay connected with the community, and he was able to start turning his life around.

But Dylan still didn’t have a job. So he was introduced to our Transition to Work team, and they began to work on his dream of getting in to the construction industry. Dylan successfully completed TaskForce’s work readiness course, learning the vital skills to support finding and keeping employment. Dylan’s Transition worker helped him set up an ABN, and he was almost immediately connected into a firm as a concrete labourer.

Six months later, his new employers are impressed with his work, and plan to keep him on for a long time to come. Dylan remains free from drug harms and happily employed, and has the supports he needs to live a fulfilling life.

Nic's story

Alcohol and other drug services client

Nic left a residential rehabilitation facility in New South Wales and came down to Melbourne, after being bullied and harassed for his sexuality. Nic attempted to end his life, but was found on the beach by a passer-by who called an ambulance.
Nic was brought to the Alfred where, after medical treatment, he was transferred to the mental health unit so he could receive support for bipolar disorder. It was here he came into contact with our Alcohol and Drug Liaison Outreach Worker (ADLOW). During assessment, Nic disclosed that he had been drinking more than one bottle of vodka daily since leaving residential treatment, and had no supports in Melbourne.
TaskForce’s ADLOW clinician met with Nic multiple times before he was discharged from hospital, and helped him find local temporary accommodation. We connected him to dual diagnosis rehabilitation, to support him with his mental health and substance misuse issues, as well as community supports. We also linked him into a support group at Thorne Harbour Health, as well as a GP specialising in LGBTI health.
TaskForce will keep working with Nic, helping him settle into these services and making sure all his support needs are met.

Annie’s Story

Youth transition services client

Annie stopped coming to school this year. A chaotic home life and a severe anxiety disorder made it hard to keep up, and her school couldn’t offer the support she needed. Occasional absences became more and more frequent as Annie found her mental health deteriorating. She felt all alone, and overwhelmed by life.

When Annie was 15, her school referred her to TaskForce’s Navigator program, and things started to turn around. Reaching out when and where she needed help, her worker became a reassuring presence in her life, breaking down the barriers to her engagement in school and everyday life one by one.

With the Navigator program’s help, Annie was able to start rebuilding her confidence and skills to start attending school again, and had support to go to GP and mental health counselling appointments. Her worker helped her to think about her goals and future plans, and the ways that she might achieve these. With the worker’s help, Annie’s family, her school and her community were able to come together based around her needs, and Annie was able to reconnect with education knowing that this time she had support. Now Annie is on track to successfully complete Year 10, with a bright future ahead of her.

Claire's story

Alcohol and other drug and family services client

When Claire* came to TaskForce in 2015, life looked bleak. A drug addiction triggered by a violent former partner had seen her lose custody of her two sons, her family home and her job. Her six-month-old son had been placed in foster care, while her four-year-old was living with a family member. She was emotionally empty, only allowed to see her children on supervised visits.

But the 38-year-old was determined to get her life back on track. She created a list of goals and with TaskForce’s support, began to gradually tick each off.

In just two years, Claire worked to improve her mental health and overcame her addiction. She is currently studying nutrition with the aim of pursuing a career in the field. Best of all, in June 2017 she regained full custody of her sons, achieving the number one goal on her list.

Claire is currently working with domestic violence resource centre WAYSS to find a house and is on track to move into a three-bedroom home, providing her with the independence, safety and stability she craves.

our vision
our mission
our values

Our Vision

Giving life changing opportunities for those most in need.

Our Mission

How do you get a second chance when often society doesn’t care about you in the first place? TaskForce is committed to creating positive outcomes for people disengaged or living on the margins of the community. Whether they have been born into poverty and disadvantage, overwhelmed by a major crisis, trapped by addiction, mental health, circumstance or are simply seen by some as “too difficult to deal with”, it is our goal to help provide them with the life changing opportunity to meet their full potential no matter how tough the circumstances. We never give up on giving people a chance to realise their true potential.

Download TaskForce Rules here.

TaskForce has current QIP accreditation. QIP conducts reviews every 3 years aiming to benefit the Australian community by enabling continuous quality improvement in community and health organisations.

Our Values

Our Values are the cornerstone of the TaskForce culture. They reflect the behaviours that shape how we work with our clients, our partners and each other thereby creating a culture that maximises the organisation’s effectiveness and relevance.

CLIENT CENTERED:

We strive to support our clients and their extended networks to change their circumstances. We will collaborate so that our full range of services and supports are wrapped around them enabling each to reach their full potential.

INNOVATION AND BEST PRACTICE:

We will be cutting edge in all that we do leading to evidence-based best practice within the sector. Our people will be passionate and motivated to make a difference.

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP:

We are committed to addressing the tough moral challenges faced and sensitivities that abound in our sector, leading consequent debate and adapting as broader positions held by society evolve.

HONESTY AND INTEGRITY:

We do our utmost to communicate openly, honestly and respectfully. We collaborate and share accountability with colleagues and clients alike. We acknowledge that as we learn, mistakes may be made but that this learning will make us stronger.

TRUST, RESPECT AND SELF-CARE:

We collaborate to create a work environment built on trust and respect where our people and consortium partners are supported and challenged to lead best practice. We recognise that responsibility for self-care is also a foundation to achieve excellence in the services we deliver.

Our wraparound model of care

Our wraparound support model aims to provide the support necessary to help our clients achieve their goals which often include reducing substance use, improving health and wellbeing, gaining further education and skills and achieving long-term employment.

Wraparound support means providing integrated support to meet a variety of our client’s needs in a convenient single location such as our Youth Hub or other sites.

The benefit of wraparound care is that clients can get the referrals they need from their counsellor when they need them, and have a number of co-located services that can help them on site with specific needs beyond the primary purpose of the visit.

Wraparound also enables us to support clients at all stages of their life, from early learning and adolescence to adulthood, further education, employment and parenthood. Having our suite of wraparound services enables us to support clients through the unique and associated challenges arising at each part of their life.

Our wraparound model has been evaluated by Latrobe University and Burnett Institute expert Associate Professor Peter Higgs, with strong support for our use of the model and support of continued rollout of the model across our sites.

Our People

TaskForce Board of Directors

Rosetta Isma – President

(Board Member: 1998 - current)

Rosetta is a long serving Board Member with professional experience in community corrections. She has a particular interest in art therapy and is a passionate and compassionate advocate of new ideas to address social issues facing the community.

Chester Allan - Vice President

(Board Member: 2012 – current)

Chester has extensive experience in general management and marketing primarily through an international career with the Gillette Company in South Africa, South East Asia and Australia. Chester has filled various roles with Lions Clubs, including President and Chair of District Strategic Planning.

Bill Reynolds – Treasurer

(Board Member: 2016 - current)

Bill qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Anderson in the 1970s and has spent his career in the accounting profession and with a large Australian public company. He specialised in corporate taxation and has considerable senior finance experience.

John Bower - Board Member

(Board Member: 2008 – current)

John is semi-retired after a long career in international business with the Gillette Company in Australasia, Europe and Asia. He is now a part-time management consultant and company director. John was President of TaskForce from 2010 until 2018.

Deborah Dobbie - Board Member

(Board Member: 2008 - current)

Deborah is a qualified psychologist with considerable business consulting experience. Her areas of expertise include leadership/management coaching, training and development, change management and psychometric testing. Deborah also lectures in management in MBA and undergraduate programs.

Kaylene Dawson - Board Member

(Board Member: 2018 - current)

Kaylene has a diverse background in legal, commercial and non-profit advisory roles. Having commenced her career at Allens Linklaters, Kaylene has also worked in investment banks, as a barrister, as Associate to a prominent Federal Court judge and in various Corporate Counsel roles. Corporate governance and risk management is a particular area of interest.

Trevor Williams – Board Member

(Board Member: 2013 – current)

Trevor is a former investment banker with Deutsche Bank and HSBC. He has extensive experience as a funds manager with a particular interest in the not-for-profit sector assisting clients with strategy development, asset allocation and overall financial management. Trevor is also a Charter Member of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Hyacinth Hancock – Board Member

(Board Member: 2013 – current)

Hyacinth has significant experience in human resources management in a variety of companies. In her corporate career, Hyacinth has often been the principal contact with not-for-profit organizations that the company has supported. Hyacinth is also an active volunteer with AMES, assisting new migrants with their English skills.

Carrick McLellan – Board Member

(Board Member: 2013 – current)

Carrick has much senior management experience in the food and grocery industry in Australia and New Zealand, managing some of Australia’s largest food manufacturers. Carrick is also involved in not-for-profit youth services, volunteering as an education mentor for disadvantaged people through Ardoch Youth Foundation.

Strategic Plan

Our 2018 - 2022 Strategic Plan lays out the strategic direction for our organisation, now and into the future. Read more below

Friends of TaskForce