Name: Dovetail
Location: Queensland
Employees: Jeff Buckley – Principal Consultant, Cameron Francis – Social Worker, Leigh Beresford – Clinical Nurse, Ben Dougherty – Project Officer

Focus areas: The youth alcohol and drug sector in Queensland

What is Dovetail’s mission?

Dovetail supports youth alcohol and drug services in Queensland to better respond to the needs of young people aged 12-25 years. We promote collaboration, shared unity and networking across the state.

What services does Dovetail provide?

The Dovetail Websiteincludes latest information, resources, tools and examples of good practice in youth and alcohol and drug work from Australia and across the world.

The Dovetail Magazine is a quarterly online and print publication where workers can share their learnings, stories and perspectives with the rest of the sector.

Dovetail offers Professional Development Mini-Grants to contribute towards the costs of up-skilling staff from Queensland in youth and alcohol and drug practice.

Dovetail partners with communities across Queensland to deliver free Professional Development Forums designed to address youth and alcohol and drug issues relevant to that area.

Dovetail is developing a Service Practice Improvement Toolkit containing Good Practice Guides designed specifically for frontline youth and alcohol and drug work (due for release in 2012)

Dovetail offers general support and assistance to workers and services across Queensland in youth and alcohol and drug practice and policy

How does Dovetail contribute to the youth sector?

  • By mapping the youth and alcohol and drug sectors in Queensland
  • By identifying, building and promoting good practice
  • By increasing workers’ access to professional development opportunities
  • By supporting and assisting improvements in youth and alcohol and drug service delivery
  • By developing high-quality and accessible practice improvement resources
  • By promoting collaboration, shared unity and networking

How long has Dovetail been around and how did Dovetail come about?

Dovetail was established in 2009 by a Consortium of government and non-government agencies who received funding from Queensland Health to establish a state-wide youth alcohol and drug sector development unit. We support and resource frontline services across Queensland, including 10 organisations who simultaneously received Queensland Health funding to employ dedicated Youth AOD Workers.

What are the major challenges Dovetail is facing?

As a fairly new project our major challenge is getting ourselves known and recognised across the state (particularly given the tyranny of distance in Queensland) and ensuring that we provide the right type of support and assistance in the right areas. We knew from the outset that there is no one-size-fits-all approach so we have taken the time and pace to develop good relationships and trust with the sector.

There are also lots of differing opinions, approaches and politics within the youth AOD sector – which is great – but it requires us to retain total neutrality and non-bias in our work dealings to ensure that all services feel encouraged and supported, and that the health and wellbeing of young people remains at the heart of what we do.

What does the future hold for Dovetail?

Dovetail is a 3-year trial project funded until June 2012 - so we are gearing up for a solid final stretch of program delivery accompanied by a comprehensive evaluation process. This evaluation will be used to inform what Dovetail should look like into the future and where to best focus its resources.

Top of the list is the development of a Service Practice Improvement Toolkit in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology. When completed, the toolkit will contain a series of Good Practice Guides alongside practical checklists, instruments, templates, resources and other handy items.

We are also gearing up to deliver tailored training forums across the state in partnership with local communities and other programs across both government and community that have a state-wide training and development focus.

And then there’s our bread and butter, which is compiling and producing our quarterly magazine, keeping the website updated and distributing Professional Development Mini-Grants to workers across the state.

What is Dovetail’s most important achievement to date?

Anyone who has been at the helm of setting up a new program or organisation will know how much time and effort is required in those first years – from the big things like developing funding contracts and MOUs, all the way down to sorting desks, phones and even preferred fonts and letterheads, set-up takes so much time! So simply getting the Dovetail program up-and-running and then rolling it across the state has been a big achievement. Being able to produce a colourful, varied and user-friendly magazine and website which is full of contributions from workers and services in the sector has also been really useful in getting Dovetail known across the state.

If anyone wants to know more about Dovetail please check out our website at or call us on (07) 3837 5621.

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