A worker in a social care job provides day-to-day support for some of the most vulnerable children in the country. These can include children who have experienced trauma, and children with serious physical and mental disabilities or learning disorders. People considering this role must have strong relationship building skills and a lot of patience. Personal qualities can be just as important as qualifications.

To qualify for residential childcare worker jobs, it is necessary to be listed on the childcare register and candidates will normally be expected to have experience working in other types of childcare role.

What does a residential childcare worker do?

Working in residential childcare is necessarily child-focused. It involves getting to know new children and helping them begin to feel secure, then providing ongoing care and support to build their confidence and teach coping skills. It also involves liaising with health and education personnel in order to ensure that they get proper access to other services.

Typical clients when working in residential childcare jobs.

Different children’s homes have different functions. Some are dedicated to looking after children with particular disabilities, with a focus on providing a stimulating environment where they can reach their potential. Others provide a more general place of sanctuary for children who have suffered abuse or neglect, or who have lost their parents. Children may be withdrawn and disinclined to communicate, or may deal with their stress by becoming aggressive. There is a risk of self-harm and of violence toward staff members and other children, so workers need to be familiar with de-escalation techniques and it helps to have good first aid skills.

In some cases, children in residential care homes still have good relationships with their families, and may return to them after temporary difficulties have been resolved. In these situations, workers need to be able to communicate effectively with those family members and ensure that important emotional connections can be maintained whilst minimising the upset that can occur if children feel they are being repeatedly abandoned.

Working in social care jobs with children with learning disabilities.

Many children with learning difficulties end up in residential care because their parents cannot cope with looking after them, or cannot provide the type of environment they need. Residential workers caring for them need to be able to understand and anticipate the particular difficulties they experience, as well as helping them to deal with any feelings of rejection.

The childcare workers working with children in this capacity are their first line of communication with the wider world. It is through the relationships these children develop with their carers that they will learn their most basic social skills, and this can make all the difference to the opportunities that will be open to them in adult life.

Few careers require more responsibility than working in residential childcare, and every day can be a challenge, but few careers come close to being this rewarding. Capable childcare workers will see the children they work with grow happier and more confident every day, with their futures growing brighter.