What Is A Residential Care Worker? How To Become One

What is a Residential Care Worker?

Residential Care workers support the client in their daily living activities, life skills and personal growth. They work as part of an interdisciplinary team with a focus on client-centred practice, enabling them to heal from past trauma. Daily tasks may include cooking, cleaning, organising appointments, activities, homework and supporting them in general wellbeing. Residential care workers provide 24-hour care in staggered shifts.

As a Residential care worker, you will be working with some of the most vulnerable people in the community, so communication, both written and oral are essential as is being able to take right case notes. If you choose to work in this industry, you will need to have a personality that is empathic, understanding, non-judgemental and above all, be able to create a positive and safe living environment for the client.

No two days are the same for a Residential care worker, you may be assigned tasks such as assessing a client’s needs, progress and designing a program to meet those needs. You will also be responsible for providing physical care, recreation, teach daily living skills and create a positive and safe living environment.

Behavioural boundaries teach a young person about rules. Teaching daily living skills strengthens independence. Working as part of an interdisciplinary team to provide a client-centred approach can show a client that they can trust others, demonstrates respect for the client and ultimately teaches resilience.

What is Residential Care

According to AIWH (2018), approximately one in every twenty young person lives in residential care in Australia. When a child, young person or adult is unable to live independently or with their family, they will be placed in Residential Care.

A Residential Care (also known as Resi Care or Out of Home Care) provides a homelike environment which is therapeutic and safe.

Clients may include children in care, youth or adults with learning, physical or psychological disabilities as well as those with addiction or social needs. Types of Residential care include family group homes, home-based care, independent living, boarding schools, hospitals and other placements which may not fit into a category.

The following table from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) p. 43 shows that as of 30 June 2017, 47,915 Australian children were living in Residential care. 

What Is A Residential Care Worker?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2018) have found that over the past five years the numbers of children and young people in care have been rising by 18%. The following table shows trends in children between the ages of 0 – 17 years in Residential Care, stages and territories between the 30 June 2013 to 30 June 2017.

What Is A Residential Care Worker?


National Standards

Research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (2007), found that children and youth living in Residential care have poorer life outcomes than other children not living in care. Minister Macklin media release 14 October 2009 stated “All governments and the non-government sector are committed to making sure that vulnerable children are looked after and cared for in a safe and supportive environment wherever they live. This requires a consistent and concerted national response across all levels of government.”

Endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments on 30 April 2009 was the National Standards developed for Residential care under the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009-2020. In 2011 the national standards were endorsed and supported an integrated response between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to ensure that all children had the same quality of care. 

The National Standards seek to improve the quality of care service provides to children and young people living in out of home care. The focus on the standards is to improve the outcomes of the young person through health, education, connection to family and culture, community connections, transition from care, training and support for carers, belonging, identity, safety, stability and security.

Residential Support Worker Pay And Employment

Hourly Rates

The top study participants for the job description Residential Support Worker are House With No Steps, MacKillop Family Services and Northcott Disability Services. The published wages are highest at House With No Steps where the average wage is AU$28.24 an hour Other companies offering high wages for such a role include MacKillop Family Services, earning around AU$26.93. Northcott Disability Services charges the lowest price at about AU$23.50. Endeavour Foundation also charges AU$26.37 at the bottom of the scale.

Information Provided by Payscale.


Current Jobs Listed On Seek.


Strengthening Residential Care workforce – minimum qualifications

To improve workforce standards in Residential care, minimum qualification standards are rolling out around Australia. These state that a Residential Care Worker must have a minimum Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family (Residential care) Intervention with mandatory units of competency.

CHCMHS007 – Work effectively in Trauma-Informed Care CHCPRT009 – Provide primary residential Care
CHCCCS009 – Facilitate responsible behaviour  With the strongly recommend unit of competency
CHCPRT010 – Work with children and young people with complex trauma and attachment issues and needs. 

Australis College, we three pathways to upskill or retrain to meet the required training needs for this industry. Both of our Certificate IV and Diploma in Child Youth and Family Intervention include the mandatory and strongly recommended units. For students who already have a Certificate or Diploma and only require the mandatory units, you can top us using our subscription model.

Financial Assistance

At Australis College, we have the following options:

Option 1: Subscription/Per SubjectOption 2: Full Fee
Option 4: Queensland State Subsidy Option 4: StudyLoans (Private lender)


Australis have pathway agreements with Western Sydney UniversityGriffith University, University of Southern Queensland and Central Queensland University.

Our courses are accredited for membership with Diversional & Recreation Therapy Australia, the Australian Community Counselling Association, and we are a PACFA member.

How to do I Enrol?

Our enrolment process is easy! You can enrol any time and start studying shortly after enrolment.

For enrolment options or more information about the course, please CLICK HERE