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1.4 Staff Roles and Responsibilities

Last Modified: 18-Jun-2020 Review Date: 01-Jun-2019

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Legislation


To provide an overview of the roles and responsibilities of individual members of the residential care team that provides a safe, therapeutic home-like living environment for children in residential care. Roles within the care team include managers, psychologists, education officers, a recreation officer, senior residential care workers and residential care workers. 

Note: All descriptions provided below are generalist in nature. For specific information residential care workers should consult the appropriate JDF and or contact Human Resources.

Practice Requirements

  • ​​​All staff must com​plete and update the following training 
    • ​Accountable and Ethical Decision Making 
    • Sanctuary 
    • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention 
    • First Aid o Cultural Awareness, and 
    • any other training as directed. ​


  • Introduction
  • Staff Roles
  • Introduction

    ​All residential care workers contribute different expertise, strengths and experience in a variety of roles to a build a collaborative care team that provides a consistent, safe and nurturing environment for children in residential care. 

    While different levels of responsibility exist in line management roles, a successful residential care team focuses on children’s’ needs; communicates openly and democratically; exhibits emotional intelligence; undergoes specific targeted planning; works closely together; and supports each other to best meet the needs of the children in their care. 

    The care team in a metropolitan residential group home includes the psychologist and education officer. Country residential group home staff access district offices for education officer and psychologist services to the children in their care, and have additional access to country psychologists. These district staff and country psychologists have a key role in the home’s care team. 

    Children may also be allocated a ‘key worker’ from within the care team. 

    All residential care workers are responsible for maintaining the home to the highest possible home-like standard. If any maintenance is required (damaged or malfunctioning equipment, capital works) residential care workers should contact Western Property and managers should contact Facilities Management immediately to rectify the problem.​


    Staff Roles

    ​Managers lead and model appropriate behaviour, develop a sense of common purpose and team cohesion, consistent with the principles underpinning the Residential Care (Sanctuary) Framework. They manage the team’s human, financial, and physical resources, ensuring compliance with executive directives and Department guidelines. They also 

    • develop positive partnerships with district offices, external agencies and other stakeholders (including neighbours) to make sure that planning within the home promotes predictability for the children; 
    • contribute to the broader planning and management processes of residential care services and the Department. They contribute to the development and implementation of policy and program frameworks and manage local projects; 
    • report to the Director, Residential Care on the day to day issues of their home and the ongoing development and implementation of therapeutic care and Sanctuary model in the residential group homes. 
    • Country managers also report to their line manager in the district offices, either the assistant district director or the district director. Managers also act as change agents encouraging Residential care workers social responsibility, open communication and social learning. 

    The Psychologist provides specialist advice and consultative support to residential care workers on the provision of therapeutic care to children. Psychologists are based in residential care homes in the metropolitan area (via country residential care and/or district in country areas) and are involved in all aspects of the child’s daily life working in a ‘hands on’ capacity.​

    Psychologists are change agents in the delivery of services to children in the residential care setting by: 

    • working closely with the Manager on ways to improve the home’s therapeutic environment; and 
    • working collaboratively with residential care workers in guiding and supporting the provision of therapeutic care. 

    Education officers plan, deliver and maintain suitable schooling and education programs for children in residential care. They consult with appropriate departmental staff, the children and families and make a significant contribution to the development of a child’s activity program. 

    Education officers liaise and negotiate with the manager, case manager, schools, other education providers and relevant agencies to provide appropriate learning and education opportunities to children in residential care. 

    Senior residential care workers undertake much of the role of residential care workers with some important additional roles. These include being responsible for providing a high standard of group care consistent with the program objectives and supervising residential care workers in all matters impacting on the management and welfare of the children in the home. 

    When required, Senior residential care worker work directly with managers in planning and directing the operations of the home, ensuring compliance with legislation, Department policies and practices, management instructions and making sure that planning documents are adhered to. They identify issues in the operation of the home and assist in problem solving in relation to these issues. 

    Residential care workers are members of a team that provides group and individual care to children who at times display challenging behaviour. They create and maintain a safe, caring and home-like environment for children consistent with the Department’s Residential Care (Sanctuary) Framework. They plan, coordinate and participate in lifestyle and recreational activities with children to promote positive growth and development. 

    Residential care workers monitor and contribute to the daily activities of children and provide a high standard of care and supervision. They undertake and organise housekeeping and maintenance to create a positive and safe physical environment. They are also responsible for administering medications and managing petty cash. 

    Residential care workers record events and critical incidents via email, Log Book and case notes to meet record keeping statutory requirements. They may also liaise with families where appropriate. They are also expected to attend meetings as required (for example, residential care plan meetings, child mental health planning meetings).

    Each child may be allocated a residential care worker to act as their Key Worker. The key worker is expected to have regular discussions and get to know the child more thoroughly (their interests, likes, dislikes, goals, fears), to make sure that his or her individual needs are being addressed by the care team, and to provide additional support as needed. In addition to the care team, the key worker liaises with other residential care workers, the psychologist and the manager regarding the needs of the child. They are also responsible for: 

    • ensuring that the child’s material needs (including clothing, toiletries and personal items) are met; 
    • liaising with the case manager to organise practical matters (for example, access to funds, appointments etc.); 
    • ensuring that special events relevant to the child are planned (such as the child’s birthday, family members’ birthdays, cultural events); 
    • assisting the child to maintain personal records (certificates, photographs, memberships); and 
    • participating in discussions, planning and reviews involving the child​.

Related Resources

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Policies

 ‭(Hidden)‬ Standards