I believe, and I’m sure most people who work within residential child care will agree with me, that I could make a positive difference to the lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged young people I would be looking after in care.

I had decided to become a residential child care worker because my family were foster carers and I could see the difference for myself in those children who became part of my family.

I felt passionate about working with young people in care. That said, it did not prepare me for the tough job ahead, and I did not even guess just how hard it would be to achieve my goal of making a difference to the lives of young people in care.

However, I’ve worked with Care visions for just over a year now and although I never realised just how tough it would be, I am so amazed at how rewarding being a residential carer is as well.

Initially, I was a sessional worker, working as required in various children’s services over a period of 6 months, until I became a full-time care worker. There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about all of the children I have helped care for and wonder just how they are getting on.

I thought I knew it all, but when I first started, nothing could full prepare me for the difficulties of working with young people who came from emotionally impoverished backgrounds and whose lives, to say the least, have been very difficult.

My training told me about the difficulties and hard times that could lie ahead but until you find yourself in that situation, you won’t know if the job is right for you.

Well, I did find myself in that situation and I do know the job is right for me.

I was given the opportunity to make a positive impact and to help turn young people’s lives around and I grasped it with both hands.

That’s the reason I love my job and find it so rewarding

And, along the way, I have learned:

To speak less, listen more

Strive to continuously improve your practice and reflect on it regularly

Remember every interaction is an intervention

Look after yourself, as none of us can do an optimum job of helping others if we’re neglectful of our own needs

Be the best version of yourself by adding to your knowledge. Once we stop learning we limit the help we can provide.