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My name is Hannah. I am 25, I live in Ayrshire in Scotland and I identify as Scottish. I work as a Residential Child Care Worker within a local authority. Residential Child care is a career which I have always wanted, I’ve always felt passionately about working with others and supporting others to reach their full potential.

My situation

 I was very fortunate and had a great childhood which was very loving & caring, however I know that this isn’t the case for everyone. I want to be a part of providing this loving, supportive care for young people who may have not had this within their family home for whatever reason.

Three things in my work bag

My 2021 Diary. This goes everywhere with me as if it’s not written down, it’s not happening!

–          A Copy of Rethinking Residential Child Care book by Mark Smith.

–          A note on the back of my Work ID Badge which says “Sunshine & Rainbows”

A ritual I can’t
do without

The drive home gives me time to reflect on the day and process anything that’s leftover. I then always light nice smelly candles when I get home from work as it helps me relax.

Something which marks a threshold in your life

MSC Advanced Residential Child Care. Since I have started this course, I have noticed progression in the way I think about my practice and what is happening within the house.

Three objects I would rescue in a fire

Photo album

Car Keys

My Aloe Vera Plant

(obviously, these are objects not people I would make sure my partner was out the house safe first!)

What I would change if I had miraculous powers

Empathy. I would give others the ability to feel and experience how the children and young people I work with feel in their current circumstances.

The kind of things people say about what I do

“Oh you work with those bad kids”. Children and young people who stay in a residential setting, are not “bad kids”. Often, children or young people in residential care have quite low self-esteem and I cannot help but wonder how this ongoing discourse of residential child care must contribute to this. This makes me feel a mixture of emotions from upset and frustration. Upset as I worry how these wrong assumptions may impact the children and young people and how they are viewed throughout their lives, and frustration as I cannot change a culture by myself. I cannot single-handedly make people realise how great these children and young people are, the trauma that they have experienced and the hope and resilience that they still carry with them really is inspirational.

Three random comments I have overheard

–  A young person was speaking to a staff member and referred to running away as being like “escaping”. Their comment was “how come I managed to escape from here and they haven’t” it was explained to the young person that some children and young people actually really like staying within the house, this is their safe place, where they feel most at home.

– “but at least you get to leave” This was a conversation I overheard where a young person was speaking to another staff member as they were struggling with the restrictions. The staff member was explaining the restrictions and that everyone will struggle to adjust at the beginning. The Young person was explaining that carers at least get to go home and leave the house. This really put into perspective how that Young person felt about carers leaving and returning to the house.

– “Oh are the kids in here allowed to do stuff like that?” – This was a comment I overheard from another professional referring to the young people going out in the local community with friends. This demonstrates the stigma that still surrounds young people staying within Residential Child care, there’s no reason why young people who do not live with their family should not have everyday experiences.

Three things I can see out of my window

This is Whitlee Windfarm, which is a short drive from where I stay. This has some great walks; I would like to hopefully be able to take the young people there once the Covid-19 restrictions have lifted. Would hopefully represent to the young people that there are lots of beautiful things/ places “outside” the bubble of the town they stay in.

Three pieces of music that get me through