Skip to main content

We are currently experiencing some technical issues which may prevent you from logging in or using sections of the site.

We are actively working on resolving these issues and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Social care

03 June 2024

Could it be you?

Group of young people from residential care home who have created a word cloud.

WeCare Wales recently met with young people and support workers from a residential care home to understand the real difference it makes to the young peoples lives.

Between 3 June and 21 June, we will be sharing all their stories and learning about what makes a good residential support worker.

If you’re considering a career in care and want to know more about becoming a residential care worker or the opportunities available, follow us on social media and visit our residential children's home page.

Young person's story

I am a young person who has been in care for about eight years.

I was very quiet and shy when I moved into my first care home, it was unfamiliar and very overwhelming.

My carer showed me to my room and got me set up, but even though I had all my things, and my room was nice, I didn’t feel at home.

I felt anxious and shy, preferring to stay in my room and keep myself to myself.

Over time, my carer tried to encourage me to eat meals with the other children and join in group activities, but I just wanted to be alone and in the safety of my room. She thought of lots of different ways to get me more involved in home life and to be more social with the group.

She was so patient and took the time to get to know me and my interests, giving me the time I needed to settle in and feel comfortable in my new home.

My carer knew I enjoyed music and had lots of playlists, she suggested one evening that we leave my room and go for a pre-dinner drive, put on my playlists and sing along to all my favourite tracks.

She would sing along to my songs and get me to sing with her. It made me laugh so much and made me forget how anxious I felt. We did this every evening for weeks and it became the best part of my day.

Our drives allowed me to forget my worries and for us to build a relationship.

Week by week, she built my confidence and encouraged me to spend more and more time out of my room and share my love of music with the other children. Our drives began with listening to music but as they went on and I got to know her better, I used our drives to open up and tell her about my worries.

She worked hard to create trust between us and build my confidence.

Now, I spend loads of time out of my room, get on so well with the people I live with and life’s much better. I feel confident, safe and secure.

Picture that says the word Saff and safe to represent how a young person feels in residential care.
young person's image

Sian's story

Sian worked in factories and as a lifeguard, before finding her perfect career working with children in the care sector.

Starting out in the industry

Sian, a Residential Children’s Home Manager from Wrexham, didn’t follow a traditional path into the care sector and left school with one GCSE. However, one thing Sian always knew is that she felt passionate about making a difference in the lives of children in care.

Sian followed her passion and started as a Residential Children’s Support Worker , working her way up over the last three decades to her current management position having gained her Level 5 qualification.

Sian, Residential Child Care Manager sitting on a yellow chair smiling to camera
Sian said:

“I was never very good in school and didn't enjoy the structured classroom environment. But deep down, I knew I wanted to give back and make a difference to children and young people.

“I decided to apply for a role as a Residential Officer to gain hands-on experience and immediately knew the job was for me. I told myself that this was what I wanted to spend my life doing.”

Progressing through the ranks

Sian stayed with her first organisation for over 20 years and has since been in a managerial role for over 10 years, focusing on trauma and mental health within residential children’s care.

Sian said:

“I didn’t think I wanted to be a manager because I thought I would lose the day-to-day contact with the children. However, I quickly realised that I could start making positive changes for the better and it allowed me more autonomy to employ the very best people to work with our children.

“I knew the importance of this, as I'd grown up around the children and experienced first-hand the values needed to be a good carer.”

Making a difference

Sian approaches recruitment into her homes with the same ‘child first’ mentality and involves resident young people in the staff recruitment process.

Sian continued:

“In our homes, the staff must embody the values of a good care worker – a good sense of humour, honesty, empathy and relatability. These qualities can’t be taught, so I keep the interview casual and involve the children by getting them to ask questions that matter to them.

“This way, we get to see how the candidates would react in a real-life setting and we can gain a real insight into the true nature of the person.”

Bright future

During her time in the industry, Sian has stayed devoted to children’s residential care and has opened two new homes to date with another three in the pipeline.

She also currently runs child trauma and mental health training and uses her close partnerships with local schools and community groups to help recruit new staff.

Sian said:

“I’m proud of my progression and achievements, but view these as secondary to the achievements of the young people we deal with every day. I find the most rewarding part of the job is watching the children achieve milestones, even if it’s just the smallest of things and feeling happy, content and safe every day.”

“Residential care is not an easy or nine to five job but if you care, really care, it is the best job in the world and a job where you know you are making a real difference”.

Find a job in care

If you’re thinking of a career in care, take a look at our jobs board to get an idea of the type of roles available.