Many people gravitate towards social care job roles, and for a lot of workers in this sector, residential care is the gateway into an exciting and varied career.
The children’s residential support worker role varies depending on the type of home you work in and the needs of the children who live there.
Working in residential childcare is hugely rewarding and offers work patterns that suit many people’s lives.
Of course, there are challenges like there are in any job, and we know that working in a residential children’s homes won’t be for everyone.
But could it be for you? Let’s find out…
- What is Residential Childcare?
- Residential Care Homes – Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH)
- Residential Care Homes – Physical/Learning Disability (LD)
- The Children’s Residential Support Worker Role
- Residential Childcare Jobs – Summary
What is Residential Childcare?
Residential childcare is a form of group care for children who are looked after.
Their care is provided by teams of paid staff and delivered in the group home. Most homes support 3 or 4 young people, although some can support up to 10 children at one time.
All of Family Care’s homes are 4-bedded.
Three of our homes are for children with learning disabilities (LD), and two are for children with social, emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH).
How does it work?
Children may need to live in a residential home for any number of reasons.
It could be that parents are unable to safely meet the child’s needs, or perhaps the child requires support from a larger team with more specialist skills.
Residential children’s homes ensure young people’s needs are are met when they cannot live with their own family.
They are a place for children to develop and grow, as well as providing food, shelter, space for play, and leisure in a caring environment.
“Being a Residential Childcare Worker is really about providing a brighter future for all these young people, and getting them to where they want to be.”
– Rachel Woolley
Residential Care Homes – Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties (SEMH)
Two of our homes support young people with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.
This could be caring for children with ADHD, high levels of anxiety, attachment difficulties, low self-worth, or being at risk of sexual exploitation and criminal involvement.
Young people who come to live at an SEMH home need the safety and structure it provides.
Our SEMH homes support 4 young people in each location, and each home has a rota of roughly 8-12 staff members.
Residential Care Homes – Physical/Learning Disability (LD)
To work in one of these homes, it’s good if you have some prior experience of personal care.
You will be shown how to administer medications, and if you are working in a physical disability home you will be trained to use equipment such as hoists and other mobility aids.
Working in an LD home can be physically demanding, but you are never alone.
Typically, there are three to four staff members on shift at any one time, so you’ve always got the support of the team.
“We do have people who have come through without experience and have learnt on the job, and they’ve been able to fit right in. I think if you’re passionate enough about the job you fit in quite easily.”
– Lizzie Hughes, LD worker
The Children’s Residential Support Worker Role
There is no set course for the day-to-day responsibilities of a Residential Childcare Worker (RCW).
Duties will depend on the children being supported and range from domestic support around the home to helping with schoolwork.
A big part of the role involves preparing young people for independence, teaching them everyday skills like shopping or budgeting.
We also want childcare workers who can create opportunities for creativity and fun inside and outside of the home.
You don’t need any special qualifications or experience to apply, what is important is the personality you bring into the home.
Although no qualifications are needed to apply, if hired you will likely complete some form of childcare qualification with the organisation.
For example, all Family Care residential staff complete a fully funded level 3 Diploma in Children and Young People’s Workforce.
As well as ongoing training and support from your team, we provide specialist support from our in-house therapy team.
Residential childcare is largely shift based work and does involve sleep-ins. Within each home there are several staff bedrooms for overnight stays, and each team member will usually do 8-12 sleep-ins per month.
Sleep-ins might not sound glamorous, but you get your meals and a warm bed to rest your head. Plus, while you’re working it’s harder to spend your money, so you’ll be saving in no time.
Right now, we are recruiting residential childcare workers in Oldham, Wythenshawe, Formby, and the West Midlands. Interested? Visit our careers page for more details.
“It’s having those fun memories with the children that’s the best part (of the job) really…that and your team”
– Ceri Teckoe
Residential Childcare Jobs – Summary
We can only speak for ourselves, and all our homes are calm, therapeutic living environments for vulnerable children and young people.
Our work involves caring for children with complex needs, so it is vital that we find and recruit people who want to make a real difference in children’s lives.
Here we provide a summary of the job, salary, expectations, and opportunities at Family Care.
What entry qualifications and/or training do you need for this job?
You do not need any qualifications or training to apply for this role.
It’s helpful if you have related experience of caring for vulnerable people, but it isn’t essential.
Your life experience, your character, and the personality you bring into the home are the most important qualities for residential childcare.
If you have completed relevant college courses or other training in youth work or a related field, you will have a head start on most others.
What experience do you need for children’s residential childcare jobs?
If you have previously done work experience related to caring for vulnerable groups, this would certainly help your application, as would any other work experience where you have demonstrated healthcare skills.
Volunteering shows you have taken time to help others when you didn’t have to and is looked upon well. Your personal life experience is also considered relevant to this role.
In short, don’t be put off if you think you lack experience. With on-the-job training and a close-knit team of support around you, this is a job you can do.
What skills do you need for children’s residential support worker jobs?
Some of the skills you’ll need for this role include:
Communication skills – you must communicate clearly and respectfully with vulnerable young people and with your team
Patience – you’ll need lots of this!
Empathy – you need to be able to relate to people of all ages and backgrounds
Office skills – writing reports, updating computer records and other basic IT skills are needed
Reliability – you will be a caregiver for vulnerable children in their own home. Children and young people will be relying on you to show up and be your best
Resilience – being able to stay calm and bounce back from challenging situations
Salary and Benefits
Salaries for the RCW role range from £25,054 – £28,096 depending on experience.
Additional benefits include:
- Minimum rate of £10.50/hour shift work
- Overtime paid at an enhanced rate
- £40 per sleep-in (included within salary range)
- Meals on-shift
- Fully expensed off-site activities and trips to attend alongside young people
- Contributory pension
- Long service awards
- Health Cash Plan (Paycare) and Employment Wellbeing scheme
- Extensive training including Level 3 Diploma
- Career progression opportunities
- Free parking
- 28 days annual leave each year (includes bank holidays)
Because residential childcare positions are often a gateway into something else, there are good opportunities for career progression at later stages.
Usually, this will involve going into management-level roles and taking on greater levels of responsibility. There are also opportunities to specialise in specific areas, such as child sexual exploitation or learning disabilities.
In recent years, we have supported registered managers and team leaders to complete undergraduate qualifications in their chosen disciplines.
It really is up to you where you take it.
Browse Residential Childcare Vacancies
We regularly update our residential vacancies page with the latest available roles.
If we have nothing right now that suits you, please contact our HR team and they can keep your details on file for future openings. Call 01772 647500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Healing pasts | Building Futures