Pietermaritzburg Children's Homes (South Africa), while redeveloping its employment policies, spent some time rethinking the work done by the staff
We identified three ranked groups of responsibilities for a child and youth care worker: to be
(1) a significant, caring adult,
(2) an effective child care worker, and
(3) a responsible team member.
Each group carries a number of task areas which are listed below.
1 : A significant caring adult
Provide a suitable adult role model
To provide the opportunity for each child to learn socially acceptable behaviours and manners in a caring environment.
To provide children with ample opportunities to learn about everyday family experiences.
To teach children by modelling those behaviours that are socially acceptable.
To demonstrate to children self control and discipline through consistent example and intervention (To understand the difference between discipline, punishment and fear).
To be responsible for maintaining the living environment in a safe, hygienic and homely manner.
Demonstrate through the adults” own relationships and communication a nondiscriminatory sense of mutual respect.
Have an intense concern for the well-being of all the children.
To provide for each individual child the optimum level of care possible.
To promote the development, growth, self-worth and sense of belonging of each child.
To know intimately the children in your care, and to know at all times where those children are and that they are safe.
To provide a secure and safe environment for each child without fear of punitive, damaging punishment. All corrective actions for unacceptable behaviour must be consistent, timeous, age-appropriate and relevant to the behaviour.
To accept unconditionally the child and his family.
To provide an accepting caring environment for each child where he/she can feel and know that his/her history and background are not held against him/her.
All information must be treated in the strictest confidence and used as the foundation for building his/her future.
To demonstrate respect for children in care.
Have a dedicated involvement in the total life of each child In your care.
To take an active participating interest in each child's school life and extra-mural activities.
To encourage and assist each child to become involved in the community.
To develop an awareness of each child's individual psychological, educational, physical, spiritual, and social needs and to actively promote these on behalf of the child.
In consultation with the supervisor to become involved appropriately with the child's family.
2 : An effective child care worker
To show initiative.
To demonstrate initiative in order to maximise each child's potential to achieve.
To use initiative within the parameters of the procedures manual and financial resources of the home.
To use initiative in order to benefit the growth and development of the child care team.
To implement appropriately, skills and ideas learned through training, study and supervision.
Provide a caring atmosphere and environment.
To demonstrate at all times that you care for each child individually and are sensitive to his/her needs.
To care for the unit and the living area is essential in creating a safe, homely environment for the children in your care.
Provide for the development and physical care of each child.
To set up and maintain a structured environment.
To carry out all administration duties.
To ensure that all reports and relevant forms are completed timeously.
To ensure that all daily administrative routines are carried out.
To take responsibility for ensuring that all appointments are kept.
3 : A responsible team member
Foster, generate and participate in team work and co-operation.
To be a participating and supportive member of the team responsible for all the children in the home.
To co-operate with colleagues in order to generate and promote better child care practice and to develop an understanding of each other.
Be prepared to assist when a colleague is in need.
Foster and maintain communications with all team members for the general well being of children.
Use the correct channels and procedures for the recording and reporting of problems and concerns.
Develop an active commitment to the child care profession.
To act in a manner that is a credit to the child care profession and its ethics.
Demonstrate an active commitment towards personal growth and advancement through participation in training.
To be loyal and responsible.
Demonstrate an active loyalty towards the Children's Home including children, colleagues and other staff.
Demonstrate responsibility and concern for all the properties and facilities of the home such as the vehicles, furniture, linen, food, living space and the property.
To respect the confidential nature of our work and of the team.