After completing a university degree, Helen Wale found entry-level government jobs hard to come by.
Thanks to the Advanced Specialty Certificate in Community Care Licensing program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), she was able to focus her career direction and find a role as a quality service analyst with Community Living BC (CLBC).
A provincial Crown agency, CLBC funds day programs, individualized supports, and residential supports, including licensed group homes, for adults with developmental disabilities. In her role as quality service analyst, Helen monitors the government-funded services and conducts site visits similar to the community care facility inspections carried out by licensing officers. She also negotiates and reviews contracts with the service providers.
Helen’s interest in the work stemmed from her experience during and after her bachelor degree studies at the University of Victoria when she worked as a registered care aide in group homes for adults with developmental disabilities.
“While I worked through my degree I saw a lot of examples in group homes of wonderful care and some examples of care that weren’t wonderful. I developed passion for quality assurance and quality care.”
What I really loved about this program is that it was online so that I could work and study at the same time. Also, there was the practicum so I could get some experience in the field working as a licensing officer
When she researched career options, Helen discovered and enrolled in JIBC’s Advanced Specialty Certificate in Community Care Licensing program, the only program of its kind in Canada.
Community care licensing officers are employed through provincial health authorities, providing regulatory oversight to support the health and safety of the most vulnerable members of our society – children, seniors and people with disabilities – in licensed facilities such as child care, youth residential care, adult residential group care and long-term care facilities in BC. Licensing officers conduct inspections, complete investigations and provide education and support to licensees of such facilities.
“What I really loved about this program is that it was online so that I could work and study at the same time,” Helen said. “Also there was the practicum so I could get some experience in the field working as a licensing officer.”
She particularly enjoyed learning about why legislation is the way it is, and the use of progressive enforcement skills which emphasize working with care providers to bring them into compliance rather than taking a punitive approach. Students in the program also learn how to conduct investigations, including collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, writing reports and determining the likelihood of an allegation being substantiated by the evidence.
JIBC’s Community Care Licensing program gave her skills and confidence, Helen said. The program’s practicum helped her decide that she wanted to work for CLBC.
Helen completed the JIBC program and practicum in December 2015 and started applying for jobs. In less than two months, she started work with CLBC.
Helen said her experience with JIBC’s program helped point her toward a career direction that incorporates her passion for quality care for adults with developmental disabilities into a role where she can make a difference.
For more information visit: JIBC’s Advanced Specialty Certificate in Community Care Licensing.