Before beginning my Care Visions journey, I had no experience in a residential setting and previously worked with adults with learning disabilities and mental health. I was welcomed to the house by the team who supported me to fulfil my role to the best of my ability; I had always had a passion to support kids who come from difficult backgrounds. Growing up for me was not typical, just like our kids. I set myself the task of role modelling how successful you can become no matter the challenges you had faced in your younger years.
Having no experience in this sector did not leave me at a disadvantage, due to the training and opportunities Care Visions have provided me with. My team were very supportive and shared their experience with me. I feel my childhood gave me a valuable understanding and empathy which has helped me to become very successful at supporting our kids. I found the recruitment process very organised; although nothing can prepare you for the challenges you may come across, I feel that having the correct passion for the job can prepare you to overcome anything. I come to work with a positive outlook and understand that behind every behaviour there is a reason.
My first shift in the company was somewhat daunting, everything was new to me. I remember being moved service on my first day due to our only young person at the time being away in the sunshine enjoying his holidays. I popped over to another house and helped a teenage girl create a frog pond out of a car tire and some plastic – I thought this was amazing. I was being paid to feel like part of a family and being able to teach a young person the lifecycle of a frog although they did not know they were learning! I started my job doing the right things but not fully understanding why I was doing these things until my manager praised and supported me through supervisions to believe in myself and helped me understand the reasons behind what I was doing and why this was working for our kids.
I have been with Care Visions for 18 months. During my 18 months I have felt fully supported through approachable management and a team who wrap around our kids and nurture them to ensure they have a second chance at life; the chance they deserve. The job is full of rewards but, of course – rewards come after the work has been put in. There are many challenging parts of our job which cause us to need to think on our feet immediately – but with the right outlook and getting to know our kids, this becomes easy. Our kids appreciate us getting to know them and caring for them.
If I could give advice to new members of the Care Visions community, it would be don’t be consequences based. Build positive relationships with children and you’ll get all the thanks through their progression. Don’t exhaust yourself, self-care is super important in order to be able to support the young people to the best of our abilities!
For me; a day in the life of a residential childcare worker is adapting to the routine of a young person, being consistent and nurturing them to healthy habits. I typically do school runs, support the kids to see their families, prepare dinner, watch movies, go on outings and make memories with our kids helping them develop on the way. I have also had the privilege of two short breaks away on holiday with young people who chose me - for one of them this was their first holiday ever.
I have been part of the family at the house for 18 months, during my time I have started from the bottom and progressed rapidly due to the help and support of my manager - I now believe in myself! I have recently taken the opportunity of becoming a supervisor in the North region. I am learning every day with thanks to those around me – and with the help of books and articles too. I love learning about what I can do to build on the fantastic knowledge I have gained within the company. In 5 years from now, my goal would be to take another leap and have my own little house of kids and a team to share my knowledge and experience with. That’s the dream!
I would like to thank the young people who have let me in their life over all of the services I have had the privilege of spending time at, what right would I have to walk away after gaining their trust and love? I see myself in Care Visions for many, many years continuing to change the life of those kids - at the house, we make love acceptable in care; we love our kids.
We are aware of the feelings and experiences of others. We care through relationships based on empathy, warmth and affection to restore and maintain trust and hope.
We live by our values and our actions demonstrate our commitment to them. We nurture potential and challenge appropriately.
We value others and will act in a way that communicates this. We recognise our differences and celebrate them. We listen to and care for each other.
We aim to protect people from harm. We recognise the impact trauma has and that sustained therapeutic relationships can have a positive impact. Our work is trauma-informed and based on attachment theory.