Residential workers play a key role in protecting and nurturing Victoria’s children and young people. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve gone above and beyond to keep children experiencing vulnerability safe.
Children and young people in residential care have often experienced immense trauma and challenges, with workers stepping up to provide expert therapeutic care and support.
Ashley is one of those workers. She has been working in residential care in Melbourne for two years. Read about her invaluable contribution to both our sector and the lives of young people in her care.
How long have you been a residential care worker for?
About two years and I’m working in a residential care home in Melbourne.
What’s been the highlight of your year in your residential care home?
It’s watching the young people grow and develop, changing their world for the better, putting a smile on their face and showing them that the world’s not always a nasty place.
Also for me, it’s getting up in the morning and having a purpose. I find that really motivates me.
Name a time you helped a young person in a residential care home?
I had a young person in the resi house that was experiencing trauma from the loss of a loved one and I helped her through grieving by providing empathy, being there with her, and helping manage their emotions. When the time was right, we shared a laugh together but the most important thing was that she knew I was there for her during a time of need.
What are the most important skills you need to be a good Residential Care Worker?
There are many important skills to being a resi care worker but the #1 tip is be yourself. Always remember to have run, set good boundaries and go with the flow. Take the time to have fun, because that’s really important.
What do you find most rewarding about working in Residential Care?
There are so many rewarding parts of my job. Putting a smile on the young people’s faces, helping them get jobs and connecting them with education. As well as helping young people transition to independent living and being a lead tenant, which is an enormous achievement for any 18 year old!
What are some tips you would give to new residential care workers entering the workforce?
When you’re first starting your job, it’s important not to rush things. Don’t rush to build a relationship or rapport with the young people, if you be yourself, that will happen naturally. Be present and be on the floor, making sure you connect with the young people. Don’t make judgements when you’re listening. Be an active listener and if you feel unsure about something that you’ve been told, that’s fine, be honest and assure them that this is a safe space to talk about anything.
Ensure you practice good self care, that will help you in the long run. And finally, when you first walk into a resi home, you’ll read a lot of reports and refferals about the young people in your care. Don’t let the documents paint a picture of who the young person is, make sure you let them do that for you!
Would you like to share your story about working in residential care?
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