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Working in Residential Child Care: Reflections from our Residential Child Care Workers

Tiffany and Connor were both new starters during the pandemic, Tiffany started in June 2020, and Connor in December 2020. Here, they reflect on their journey in Residential so far.

“It is even better than I expected to be fair, the gratification that I get, just knowing that I do a good job with the children, it’s worth anything”. – Tiffany

There’s no denying that working in Residential Child Care is challenging, but for many of our Residential Child Care Workers, knowing the difference they can make to the lives of our children and young people it’s all worth it. The Orchard’s Registered Manager, Chelsea Bryan, recently reflected on her job saying “I can’t describe the feeling, knowing we’re going to change someone’s life, the minute they walk through the door we have the ability to change their life. It’s amazing. Who gets to come to work and do that and get paid to love people?”.

For Connor, who used to work in a bank, he reflects on how the role matches up to his perceptions of Residential Child Care.

“At the interview, Chelsea (the home manager) and Regional Ops Manager, Chris, were open and honest about the job. I knew the background of the role and the importance of being resilient to the pressure you may get off the child. All the staff understand that the behaviours the children show are symptoms of the trauma, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect their mental health. The role isn’t for everyone and you can’t just walk in there and be excited for everything – like with all jobs, there are good days and bad days. It isn’t flowers and happy days – but it is massively rewarding, and I come home knowing that I’ve made a difference.

I’ve seen the child getting a bit more intense and verbally aggressive, but I haven’t experienced any violence. I know Tiffany and Nicole have, but they’ve both said to me it’s about resilience – being there for the child no matter what.”

Tiffany adds “You can’t prepare yourself for that, and it is hard to relate at the interview, they might turn around and say that you might get hit, you might get punched, you can’t. But when you’re in that situation, it is a lot scarier. The children’s behaviour is reflective of the trauma they have experienced, and whilst you are dealing with it, you can’t prepare for that. It depends on how you are as a person – you either deal with it and manage it, or you don’t.

When I came into the home, everything was fine until a few months later when one of the children went into crisis. That was quite hard because I didn’t expect the impact that would have and the violence that it had, that was very tough. But the job was very well described – it’s even better than I expected, the gratification that I get, just knowing that I do a good job with the children, it’s worth anything.”

To find out more about career opportunities within our Residential Service, visit our careers page.

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