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Working as a Children’s Residential Worker - The Hard Truth and Expectations

Children in Care

Nicola Knight level 3 diploma, children's care, childrens residential support worker...

Our Children’s Residential Homes offer young people a safe and supportive space, looked after by an incredible team of professionals, from support workers to home managers.


A Children’s Residential Support Worker can be a truly rewarding role, looking after some of the most vulnerable children in society. There are some key characteristics people considering a role in this field must have; people will need to be resilient, to be disciplined, to be understanding, to be great at building relationships and breaking down barriers, and to be patient.


A role such as this does require qualifications and/or experience of working with children. We appreciate this can be a little broad so we wanted to take the time to elaborate a little.


The preferred qualification is the NVQ/QCF Level 3 Children and Young People’s Workforce Diploma or equivalent (Wales) and a Level 3 Diploma in Residential Childcare (England). Once accepted for a role there will be ongoing training which will be provided by your employer.


We often require you to be a driver. Why is this? Our young people need mental and physical stimulation. We require our support workers to be able to take them on outings and day trips.


Due to the nature of this role and the emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD) of young people, we also require experience in this field. This is not necessarily from previously working at a Children’s Residential Home, but can also include the following:

  • Scout Leaders
  • Martial Arts Trainer
  • Volunteering at Youth Centres/Youth Work
  • Working with children with learning difficulties
  • Ex-military or forces, having worked in structured and disciplined ways

And many more…


What is critical is a combination of core skills, attributes, and experiences, to help you deliver a therapeutic approach to the client’s individual needs.


The client’s at Children’s Residential Homes come from various backgrounds. Some of the homes specialise in working with children with emotional behavioural difficulties, learning disabilities, and special needs. Other homes are dedicated to children who might have suffered abuse or neglect at home, or may have lost their parents, but are impacted in such a way that they may have shut down communication barriers, they may present with behaviours that challenge or they may be prone to self-harming or risk of harming others. Their mental health is paramount. Other Children’s Homes are committed to children who have been subject to child sexual exploitation (CSE) or show signs of harmful sexual behaviours (HSB). These children have either been sexually abused or show signs of developmentally inappropriate harmful or abusive sexual behaviours towards others from a young age.


Some homes may be working closely with the parents and working towards rebuilding relationships and trust for the child to go back home. Others, sadly, have to be homed far away from their family for their protection and safeguarding.


These children all need stability. They need Support Workers who work with them 24/7 to ensure their safety and wellbeing. You will need the characteristics highlighted above to deliver the best service for your client. These children have been let down by adults, so they need to rebuild their trust and confidence in you. This will take time and patience on your part. Your role will help these young people regain their own confidence, using therapeutic strategies they will learn the best coping methods for them, and you will play a vital role in helping the young person find the best path to determine their future. 


The role of a Children’s Residential Support Worker is truly rewarding. There is no doubt that it will be challenging, but knowing that you have the ability to truly make an impression on these young people is why so many people choose this career path.


There is always scope for career progression too, and at Vetro we strive to place the best people into the best companies, ensuring the young people get the best that they deserve.


Specialising in health and social care, we have many permanent and temporary positions across the UK and we would love to hear from you if you have the perfect criteria to work in a role such as this.


You can also read our previous blog highlighting the duties and responsibilities involved in the role of a Children’s Residential Support Worker here:


How do I become a Children's Residential Support Worker


Please register to work with us here and the relevant consultant will be in touch or please email us your CV and covering email.