Careers in children's residential care

We are seeking individuals who are passionate about making a difference to children’s lives.

About us

Our story

Our story

At West Sussex County Council, we have a long-term commitment to provide exceptional in-house residential care to children. We have carried out a comprehensive review of our service and are looking for new staff to join our teams.

Our purpose is to ensure that all our children achieve their full potential by putting the child first in everything we do. To help us achieve this, we have established a strategy and a clear set of principles:

  • Focus on children’s strengths and potential.
  • Put children at the heart of decision-making.
  • Work with parents and carers to develop the best service for their child.
  • Support educational needs.
  • Ensure that children are prepared for independence.
  • Share best practice.
  • An evidence-based practice model.
  • Explore new technologies.
  • A highly multi-skilled and specialised staff team.
  • Partnership building to deliver better outcomes for children.
  • Evidence successes and the value of the service.
  • Deliver support in the right place and at the right time.

The views of children and their families will be at the heart of what our residential service delivers. Through implementing the strategy, the service will better enable children in our care to thrive in a positive and supportive environment and to feel empowered to influence decisions on their care.

What children have to say about the difference the residential service makes to them will continue to be heard and will inform the future development of the service.

To make all this possible, we are looking for individuals with a passion for making a real and positive difference to the lives of those children in our care to join our residential teams.

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Our homes

Orchard House, Cuckfield in Haywards Heath

Orchard House, Cuckfield in Haywards Heath

Orchard House is an Outstanding Ofsted-rated home, providing a range of services that make a difference to the lives of children who have severe and complex learning disabilities, and their families.

We are a creative team who work hard to give children opportunities to develop to their full potential whilst ensuring they feel safe and have a lot of fun.

Our support is tailored to meet individual needs and ranges from clubs and day care to short breaks and full-time care.

We are a cohesive team who can discuss ideas and challenge issues to inform decision making and we believe in looking after each other so that we are able to offer our best to the children.

Work here is not always easy, but it is rewarding and every day is different.

Families describe us as:

a fantastic home, where everyone went way beyond what we were expecting and always with a smile. Orchard House and its staff will stay in our hearts forever.
the best thing we have ever done for our child.
incredible, they do so much for us. We would be completely lost without them.

Other professionals describe us as:

having an open culture with a commitment to person centred working for the young people in their care.
a thoughtful, enthusiastic and reflective team who were really energising to work with.

High Trees, Ifield, Crawley

High Trees, Ifield, Crawley

High Trees is a long standing ‘Good’ Ofsted-rated home. Our home is small and inviting and we look after the individual needs of children with severe and complex learning disabilities and their families.

We are ideally located in a lovely area, with a large, open garden with a patio area and are very much a part of the community. We are within easy walking distance of local shops, public transport and many different activities and venues which we regularly enjoy using.

Our dedicated and skilled staff team are keen to ensure that children who stay with us, whether full time or for short breaks, feel at home and feel safe, have many opportunities for both fun and learning and reach their full potential in a range of creative ways.

We support each other to overcome challenges and work closely with many other professionals too. This enables us to continue to provide the high quality of care to our children, in a homely and caring environment.

Some of the things that people say about us:

You guys work with some of the most complex children and go the extra mile in ensuring they have a fulfilling life with you and when they leave you. You never give up on any child and a lot of places could learn a lot from you. (Feedback from the class teacher of one of our children.)
The level of commitment and flexibility from High Trees, who I have to say have gone above and beyond, has been exceptional. I am especially impressed with both the keyworker and the manager who really are committed to supporting and achieving consistency and the best outcomes for the people they support. (Feedback from the transition worker of a child moving into Adults’ Services.)
As ever, I was struck by the wonderful care given at High Trees and the amount of attention to making B’s day special. The team are so caring, gentle, respectful and supportive and it really does feel homely - the food was amazing too! (Feedback from the independent visitor of a child, who came to his birthday celebration at the home.)

Teasel Close, Crawley

Teasel Close, Crawley

Teasel written in the sand
Created by children at Teasel Close.

Teasel Close is a five-bed home for children who have emotional and/or behavioural issues, making it hard for them to live within a family environment.

We aim to provide a supportive, fun and nurturing home, where the children are able to feel safe, valued, respected and cared for. The children we care for very often have gone through difficulties and staff work with the children through challenging times, sharing their triumphs and sometimes mistakes, but always with the best interest of the children at the centre of all our work.

We have received an Ofsted rating of ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ for ten years for our incredible level of care and strong leadership, making us one of the highest performing children’s homes in the country.

What people say about us:

You are all such good people with amazing hearts and I thank you all dearly for making me feel like I am a child and I actually mean something, and I am not a bad person and there are good people out there. You are special. (Former resident at Teasel Close.)
I have lived in many foster placements and sometimes for only a few weeks at a time, until I finally moved to Teasel. I stayed there for two years and I definitely was not an easy teenager to deal with but they never gave up on me. I didn’t see it at the time but I would give anything to live back at Teasel. (Former resident at Teasel Close.)
In my opinion, Teasel Close has and still does a brilliant job to support my daughter, as she can be challenging. They do their best to keep me updated on her behaviour, good or bad. Thanks for all you do. (Feedback from a parent.)

Future homes

Future homes

Cissbury Lodge in Worthing, May House in Durrington and Seaside in Shoreham are being remodelled and modernised to cater for children and young people with a wide range of needs.

All three homes are due to reopen in the Spring this year and we are currently advertising a wide range of roles to start when the homes reopen. This is an amazing opportunity to be involved in our new vision for these homes right from the start. Information about our job and career opportunities is available below.

Why work for us

Roles and pay

Roles and pay

The list below shows the variety of roles across our Children’s Residential Service and the salaries you can typically expect working full time. Please note the jobs which include links directly to the job advert are the positions we currently have open.

  • Registered Manager - £49,623–52,770 (includes weekend working allowance)
  • Assistant Residential Team Manager - £38,890-£41,881 (includes weekend working allowance)
  • Team Leader - £31,346-£33782 (includes weekend working allowance)
  • Residential Child Care Worker - £22,183–£23,541 (includes weekend working allowance)
  • Residential Night Care Worker - £20,092-£20,493 (with unsocial hours enhancement £24,110-£24,591)
  • Senior Cook - £23,080-£25,481
  • Cook - £19,312-£19,698
  • Kitchen Assistant - £18,198–£18,562
  • Housekeeper (Breakwater in Shoreham) - £18,198–£18,562
  • Business Manager - £40,876-£43,857
  • Bursar - £23,080-£25,481
  • Premises Officer - £20,903–£22,183

Additional allowances may apply to some of the above roles.

Our staff share what they love best about working in our children's homes in the video below.

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Professional learning and career development

Professional learning and career development

We are committed to supporting your professional learning and development within our care roles and we offer a career with:

  • a clear training pathway to develop and promote talent and standards of practice
  • approximately 20 days training in your first year of joining us, ranging from learning about the legislation we work within through to direct work with children and specialisms, such as autism or attachment loss and trauma. Alongside this, the pathway includes a variety of e-learning for further support and development and you will be given the opportunity to reflect on your learning within your supervision to help you put it into practise within your work.
  • support and funding for all staff to undertake the Level 4 Children, Young People and Families Practitioner Apprenticeship (equivalent to City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma for Residential Child Care). Whilst you would not need this qualification on application, it is a mandatory requirement to complete it within 2 years of appointment.
  • support and funding for all Residential Managers to undertake the Level 5 Children, Young People and Families Manager Apprenticeship (equivalent to the City & Guilds Level 5 Diploma for Residential Child Care Managers). Whilst you would not need this qualification on application, it is a mandatory requirement to complete it within 3 years of appointment.
  • opportunities to increase your experience and skills and develop your career, including working across our different homes.



In addition to working with supportive and friendly colleagues, great leadership, fantastic learning and development opportunities and the chance to make a difference to children’s lives, we also offer an excellent local government pension scheme, annual leave of up to 29 days and flexible working opportunities and more.

For more details, visit our rewards and benefits page.

About you

You will act as a positive role model in your interactions with children and those around them, successfully engaging with children, their families and other professionals. Above all, you will have a passion for making a real and positive difference in the lives of our children.

A crucial part of this, is your understanding and compassion for children in care and your desire and creativity to help each individual to achieve their full potential with the best outcome possible.

You will be resilient, energetic and willing to learn and be flexible in the way you work.

For direct care roles, you will need to be physically able to participate in all aspects of Team Teach and Team Teach training, including avoidance and diffusion techniques and last resort physical interventions.

In non-direct care roles such as Business Managers, Cooks and Housekeepers, you will be supported to have an awareness of Team Teach.

About our roles



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A day in the life of a Residential Child Care Worker at High Trees

A day in the life of a Residential Child Care Worker at High Trees

A day in the life of a Residential Child Care Worker can be very different, depending on what day it is, how many young people are coming in or whether it is a school holiday or weekend. Due to this a Residential Child Care Worker has many different roles.

Our main role will always be supporting our children in their day-to-day routines. On a typical school day, we would start at 7.00am and have until 8.30am to get all the children out to school on time having had a wash, breakfast and brushed their teeth, wearing the right school jumper and taking the right bag with them. This is harder than it sounds when you sometimes have five or six children, several who wear the same size, one who doesn’t want to have a wash and when all you can seem to find is six odd socks!

Once the children have all gone to school, you would help to make sure that the house is ready for the next group of children coming in after school. You would then spend time doing some paperwork, which could be daily notes, or key working tasks, such as updating a care plan, or completing a risk assessment for a new activity. You might also have meetings during this time, such as reviews for your key children, team meetings, or some in house training.

If you are on the late shift, then you will be coming in ready to work with the children after school. There may be activities planned, such as attending youth club, bowling, a long walk, going swimming or to the local park.

Sometimes there will just be activities in house, as the children will have had a busy day at school after all! These could be watching a DVD, playing on the computer, doing some painting or baking some cakes. You will support the children through dinner time and then through their various evening routines of having a bath or shower and getting ready for bed. Some children might need quite a lot of help from you with this. Be prepared to get a little splashed sometimes!

Weekends and holidays are very busy but great fun. We plan days out to places like Bluebell Railway, Chessington, Fishers Farm and Drusilla’s and spend lots of time in the garden where we have a trampoline, swing and paddling pool in the summer. If some of the children get their hands on the water pistols, there can also be the odd water fight too when the weather is good! We have taken some of our children on holidays and again, these are great fun, even if it is super tiring!

Whilst we have a lot of fun and positive times, some of our children can also present some challenging behaviour which we aim to manage carefully and safely. There will be times when you must think and act quickly and all children have a positive behaviour support plan to outline the kinds of things that could cause them to become upset or angry, and what you as a staff member should do when this occurs.

During these times you would have support from the rest of the staff team and there is always a shift leader to give you advice and help make decisions about the best thing to do. West Sussex County Council also offers lots of training to give you knowledge and confidence when dealing with these difficult situations.

Though there can be some tough times, we generally have lots of positive times and fun with the children that come here and you will enjoy being part of a team that is committed to providing the best for them.


We have both permanent, part-time and casual opportunities available.

All roles will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check.

More information on other requirements for specific roles is available in our job adverts.

Find out more or register interest

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