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Kellene Lambert | Team Leader

Kellene Lambert and family at the markets

I didn’t know much about Darwin coming here, so it was a nice surprise. I’m originally from San Diego, California but I have travelled and worked all over the world.

Kellene Lambert with a young girl I had always wanted to come to Australia. My family and I had spent two years living and working in London, which was entirely too cold and busy, when I saw that the Northern Territory Government was hiring.

I decided to give it a go and here we are six years later. We were so excited for the sunshine and warm weather, and the Northern Territory Government were so supportive in helping myself and my family transition. At the time, I had a son in the military who was still in California. They even helped us bring him over to join us in Darwin.

I came over as an advanced practitioner and was able to move up into higher roles really quickly which is something I hadn’t experienced in other bigger jurisdictions. I’m currently a Team Leader within Residential Care, we look after young people who are in the care of the Chief Executive Officer within Territory Families.

"It’s such a unique work environment to anywhere else I’ve ever lived. You’re servicing such a large, dispersed area and you’re helping to effect change on a very grassroots level."

It can be challenging, and every day is a new day. Within Residential Care we are working with some of the Territory’s most vulnerable children to stabilise them and move them into a less restrictive environment, which is almost always with family. We work to mobilise our community, reaching out to services and other people within the community so that we can care for our young people in a very holistic way. It’s about co-ordinating all of those services so that they wrap around the child and support them in the best way possible.

Kellene Lambert at a cafeKellene Lambert with a teenage girl at the markets Kellene Lambert at the cinema

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"Children do much better with families, and at the end of the day, that’s our goal within territory families, to always try and get them back to family."

It’s very fast-paced and I love working with the children; they’re quite funny. Seeing them grow, achieve and do really well; that’s the reward in the job.

The department has always been very supportive of my professional development. I’m encouraged to move around to different work units to build experience, and I’m supported in developing my skills to become a well-rounded social worker.

My work can be quite stressful but Darwin offers the kind of environment where once you leave work the stress just melts away. The weather is warm and beautiful, and the people are so friendly and welcoming. We’ve made some incredibly close friends here and they’re like family.

Moving here has been great professionally but it’s also been a great adventure. From lazy weekends at the Parap markets with my family to kayaking, fishing and exploring the outback, there’s no other lifestyle quite like our life out here.