Working in residential care: residential worker's views; a narrative view.
This study sets out to explore residential care workers views of their time spent in residential childcare. The study adopted three main objectives. Firstly, to explore staff views on their experience working in the residential childcare system. Secondly, to identify the challenges that workers experienced while working in residential childcare. Finally, to examine the potential opportunities in the residential childcare system for both workers and children. This was a narrative study. A qualitative method of data collection was chosen for this study. Interviewees were well suited to the study as they were professionals that had previously worked in the residential childcare system. The participants were all from the Athlone and Galway region. The study was comprised of five semi‐structured interviews. The sampling method that was used was ‘snowball’ sampling, this enabled the researcher to successfully access professionals that were willing to share their experience of working residential care. The main findings of the study are as follows: according to professionals, residential childcare has both positives and negatives. All participants found it rewarding working in residential care but due to the challenges in residential care all staff experienced burnout, which resulted in high turnover rates. Concerns were raised about the lack of opportunities in the residential childcare system. From the data it emerged that the opportunities for children in residential care are endless, however all participants agreed that they felt the support was not there for the children when they left residential care. The findings from this study have led to recommendations for future research. When staff turnover rates are high, it results in implications for both children and staff. The researcher believes a more specific Irish study on high turnover rates in Ireland needs to be conducted to establish why staff are leaving residential childcare.
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