In Summary - Care Assistant - Children
Care Assistant - Childrens typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Care Assistant - Children
Some care assistant's work in residential homes for children who are unable to live with a family for a variety of reasons. Most children in residential care are aged between ten and 18 years, with younger children usually being cared for by foster parents.
Some care assistants provide care for children and young people with special needs, either in residential homes or in day centres and special schools. These special needs may result from a physical disability or severe learning disability. In these settings, basic personal care could mean enabling someone to wash, dress, eat meals, take medication or go to the toilet.
In all care settings, social care is also very important. Care assistants observe and monitor children and young persons' needs, encouraging development in a safe, stimulating environment. Usually working in a team, assistants may also plan and supervise a structured programme of social, educational and recreational activities, encouraging the children to form relationships with each other and to learn new skills. Care assistants may keep progress records and take part in care reviews and meetings. Another aspect of social care might be helping children and young people to keep in contact with their families.
Care assistants must be aware of changes in young people's health. This includes watching out for changes in their emotional and mental well being, such as the appearance of depression, anxiety or behavioural problems. Care assistants must report their concerns to a nurse or doctor, or the care officer on duty at the time. Assistants are also responsible for health and safety, looking out for hazards in homes and day centres like slippery floors, damaged furniture, inadequate lighting and unsafe electrical appliances.
Care assistants in residential homes are likely to have a number of domestic tasks, such as making beds, washing up, ironing and mending clothes. They may help or make arrangements with practical things like shopping, cutting hair or taking children to medical and dental appointments.
A care assistant is likely to work alongside professionals such as doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers and educational psychologists. They can be found in nursing homes, day care centres and hospitals and may do house visits.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Administer bedside or personal care, such as ambulation or personal hygiene assistance.
- Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.
- Perform housekeeping duties, such as cooking, cleaning, washing clothes or dishes, or running errands.
- Care for individuals or families during periods of incapacitation, family disruption, or convalescence, providing companionship, personal care, or help in adjusting to new lifestyles.
- Perform healthcare-related tasks, such as monitoring vital signs and medication, under the direction of registered nurses or physiotherapists.
- Plan, shop for, or prepare nutritious meals or assist families in planning, shopping for, or preparing nutritious meals.
- Transport clients to locations outside the home, such as to physicians' offices or on outings, using a motor vehicle.
- Instruct or advise clients on issues such as household cleanliness, utilities, hygiene, nutrition, or infant care.
- Participate in case reviews, consulting with the team caring for the client, to evaluate the client's needs and plan for continuing services.
- Train family members to provide bedside care.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
Interests - Care Assistant - Children
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a care assistant, you must enjoy working with children and young people. You must have a caring nature, and an understanding of young people's needs and problems. Patience, compassion, tact and a sense of humour are always important qualities, especially if you work with young people who won't admit they need help, or resent being in care. If the children or young people you work with have physical disabilities, you must be able to ease any embarrassment they feel when you help with personal tasks like bathing or using the toilet.
Excellent communication skills are vital. You will need to be able to connect with children, to encourage their learning and deal with any problems they have. You must be able to work closely with other colleagues, like nurses and doctors, teachers, care officers or social workers.
Care assistants must be willing to learn and develop new skills on-the-job. Government legislation on childcare sometimes changes to increase children's protection from abuse or neglect. You should be prepared for training to keep-up-to date with changes in the law. It demands a lot of stamina as shifts can be long working both at night and over weekends. Hours can also be flexible.
Entry Requirements - Care Assistant - Children
The minimum entry age is usually 18 years, and many employers do not recruit anyone under the age of 21.
From September 2015*, childcare staff at registered pre-school services participating in the ECCE scheme must meet the minimum qualification requirements:
- Pre-school leaders must hold a Level 6 qualification;
- Pre-school assistants must hold a Level 5 qualification.
*Existing services participating in the ECCE Programme prior to 2015 have been provided with a 12 month postponement until 2016 for this requirement, subject to evidence that relevant staff are enrolled and engaged in training.While qualifications are not always needed for entry, most care assistants have relevant work experience, either on a paid or voluntary basis, in a care environment.
There are many childcare and development courses offered around the country at commnity level and through the Further Education colleges [PLC Courses].
SOLAS also run relevant courses. You can check with your local SOLAS or Intreo office.
Last Updated: December, 2015
Pay & Salary - Care Assistant - Children
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 17k - 24k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Care Assistant - Children
Employment growth was below average for this occupation and it featured strongly in the recent job hires analysis indicating that churn is an issue. Little growth is expected due to declining demographics.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Care Assistant - Children
Childminding Ireland, The National Childminding Association of Ireland Ltd
Irish Association of Social Care Workers
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Health Service Executive (HSE)