Influences on worker’s role with children in residential settings : A grounded theory

Heyes, Mike and Hodge, Suzanne and Dixon, Clare and Knowles, Sue (2022) Influences on worker’s role with children in residential settings : A grounded theory. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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Abstract Working with children in out-of-home care can be complex and require a range of personal and professional skills. The current study explored the influence of personal life experiences on staff who worked with children in out-of-home care. Eight staff members from residential or respite care were interviewed about the influence of their personal life experiences on different aspects of their role, such as choosing to enter the role and ways of working with the children they cared for. A constructivist grounded theory approach was used to generate a model based on the reflections of participants. Participants shared their childhood experiences were key in shaping their values or qualities. Participants’ values led them to want to enter caregiving roles, and they drew from these values and qualities in a predominantly unconscious way. Participants highlighted that at times they purposely drew from their own life experiences to build connections with and further understand the children they support. Participants cited work-based influences as being important in their role, recognising their dual role as ‘professionals’ and ‘people’, as they were encouraged to bring their personal self into interactions with young people. Work-based influences such as training, and spending time with colleagues allowed participants to gain knowledge and learn new skills which they used consciously within their interactions. General experience in the role was aided by this continued development. Participants highlighted adhering to plans and policies as having a crucial influence on their role, sometimes causing frustration when working in ways that went against personal values. This study highlights the combination of professional and personal elements for staff working with children in out-of-home care. The study includes recommendations to support staff teams around the impact of their work and their influences, as well as the need for clinical supervision, formulation and reflective practice .

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Thesis (PhD)
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16 Mar 2022 09:25
Last Modified:
12 Jun 2024 23:53