The Centre asked Sam a few questions about his work in residential care.
How long have you worked in residential care for?
I started working in residential care when I was 18, straight out of high school, in total I have been involved for over six years. I’m currently working in Ballarat.
What’s been the highlight of your year in your resi home?
We’ve had some really great success with young people, but one that really comes to mind is a young person who had stopped going to school and was completely disengaged from their education. Working one-on-one with them, we got them back to school full time (prior to COVID-19 outbreak). Throughout my time in resi, I’ve worked with young people to help them get started with a trade, transition to foster care or independent living. These success stories come from the support and guidance young people receive from their resi care workers.
How do staff help young people in resi?
The staff do an incredible job every single day. We understand that complex trauma occurs through relationships and heals through relationships. But everyday that resi workers come in makes a massive difference for these young people as it creates routine, predictability and lets the young people know that people are there for them.
What are the most important skills you need to be a good Resi Care Worker?
You need to be passionate about the work you’re doing and passionate about working with people. You have to genuinely want to make a difference. One skill that’s really important is being an active listener, so you can really hear what the young people are telling you. Being playful helps so you can engage the young people. Also, having a laugh with the young people always has a big impact.
What do you find most rewarding about working in Resi Care?
Whilst the work is challenging, the rewards are constant and it’s the small things that build up. The young people show their appreciation in different ways. These relationships are powerful. Just knowing you’re giving young people the skill sets to help with their life is the biggest reward.
What are some tips you would give to new residential care workers entering the workforce?
Take the time to build relationships and rapport with the young people. Make the effort to learn about their interests and understand that relationships are the most important part of your work. When you’re a resi care worker, you’re working together as part of a team. It can be challenging, but when you’re working together, being consistent, you can provide the best care to the young people.
I think the key message is that they’re all incredible kids that have had tough things happen to them. But as a resi care worker, you’re part of the journey towards recovery and building the next stage of their lives.