Talk to us about fostering 01722 442 725

A Day in a life of a Residential Childcare Worker

residential carer

A day in the life of a residential childcare worker

Today is Professional Care Worker’s Day (4th September). We would like to thank all of the childcare workers at Five Rivers for all the amazing work that you do. 

We’re also sharing information about this exciting and rewarding role for people who might be exploring the idea of becoming a residential childcare worker. While the variety of the job means no two days are ever the same, we’re also sharing the story of a day in the life of a residential care worker at Five Rivers. Read on for insight into what it’s really like to be a residential childcare worker. Could it be the job for you? 

What does a residential worker do?

At Five Rivers, our residential childcare workers hold the needs of the young people at the heart of everything they do. They work in a variety of settings with varying working hours and work with children and young people of differing ages and needs. We have eight residential children homes, where day-to-day residential workers:

  • Do household tasks and take children to appointments, to activities and on trips.
  • Support children with schooling.
  • Help children to learn better ways to cope with and express their emotions and self regulate.
  • Model life skills and routines to children and young people.
  • Complete admin and keep documentation up to date.

A day in the life of a residential care worker at Five Rivers 


Arriving at work to start the day

“A face appears in the sitting room window, head swivelled away from Tintin and Snowy’s exciting adventure on Netflix.

“It’s Helen!” declares a voice. It’s said in such an upbeat manner, that any thoughts of what else I could have done with such a gloriously sunny day slip away in a second. No one comes to the door and when the young person watching Tintin realises this, he runs to the door himself and throws his arms around my waist in a spontaneous hug.

“Come and watch…Tintin is looking for Red Rackham’s treasure.” I promise to be in there as soon as I’ve put my bag away and make my way to the office, aware that Tintin already has his most faithful viewer back on the sofa.”

Challenges of the day

“In the office, I’m given a brief handover by the team leader. One young person has declined going to ‘Family Timet’ with his mum, another has yet to get out of bed because he is struggling with his forthcoming transition to live with foster carers, one is already out for the day and two are watching TV.

“True to my promise I watch the rest of the Tintin adventure before myself, another member of staff and two young people head off with lunches, tarpaulins (for den making), kindling, matches and the all-important marshmallows for roasting. In the car, there is bickering despite attempted distractions and at one point I’m not sure we’re even going to make it to the woods.”

A day of fun and adventure

“However, once there, adventure and exploration are more compelling than arguing and the boys enjoy a day wading down the stream, trying to find a good place to make a den and egging each other on to jump off the bank into the water.

“Stood in the water, close but not too close. I am impressed with how the earlier bickering and antagonising comments have developed into having fun, taking risks and trusting each other as one boy assures the other that if he jumps into a certain spot in the stream. It’s flat and rock free. He jumps…and lands with a splash. A lot of laughing ensues as the boys make their way to the bank and take their wellies off – calling to us to see how much stream water was in them.

“On the way home, there’s mild bickering but the fun of the day isn’t forgotten as once home I’m called into the bathroom to see a graze that was gained during a daring jump off ‘Whale Rock’, it’s shown to me proudly and I comment on how even Tintin would be impressed!”

Reflecting on a day well spent

“After tea, and a house meeting where two tired boys thank me and the other member of staff (as well as each other) for taking them to play in the woods, I snuggle up on ‘Tintin’s’ bed to watch a film.

“All the boys go to sleep unusually early, allowing the staff team to catch up with each other’s days as they type up paperwork and squeeze in last minute jobs. As well as fun and giggles there have been blips and averted crisis but it seems to help to share and I leave to go home thinking how genuinely lucky I am to be able to both bring opportunities to our boys as well as to share their affection and love of adventure and fun. I do, however, sleep well!

What qualifications do I need to be a residential care worker?

For residential child care careers, the most important thing is having characteristics such as empathy, patience and reliability. The role can be challenging at times but it’s also very rewarding. The National Careers Service provides some useful information about preparing for a career as a residential care worker. However, as a Five Rivers employee, you can expect to receive ongoing training. We invest in the progression of our staff and give you the chance to pursue goals for personal development.

Would you like to become a Five Rivers residential childcare worker?

If you can see yourself in the role of a residential childcare worker – connecting with children and young people and changing their lives, you can read about vacancies in residential childcare at Five Rivers, including our unique employee benefit offering. Or learn more about our values and how we create positive outcomes for young people.

Enquire Today

Do you feel you have the energy and true commitment to make a positive difference to a child’s or young person’s life?

Get in Touch
Request a Call