Our recent one day’s training for new residential sessional workers was a stimulating, fun and comprehensive introduction to the challenging but highly rewarding work taking place in our four houses.
Led by deputy managers Hannah and Sonia, the morning sessions introduced St Michael’s way of working.
As Sonia explained, after a one to two week observation period, staff at the house work together to create a tailored six-week teaching programme for parents to learn new skills and, perhaps, address earlier trauma that hinders their ability to be good parents. Each family is offered support depending on observed individual need. This could include sessions on money management, domestic abuse, role modelling, in the moment modelling, work with partner agencies and PAMS for parents with learning difficulties. At the end of the six weeks, staff step back again to see how parents are able to assimilate the learning.
“What would you if I’m not there?”
Our role, as Hannah made clear, is not to look after children but help parents learn to care for their own child. If asked by a parent, for example to “Hold the baby while I get the bottle,” she recommended asking “What would you if I’m not there?”
Participants saw lots of role play and worked in small groups to observe and record. Hannah and Sonia also went through the nuts and bolts of a sessional worker’s shift, including handover and planning, daily reviews and recording and daily sheets.
Role plan and interaction went down especially well and helped the new sessional workers to understand the importance of recording their observations in vivid detail rather than general terms – “a video, not a snapshot”, as Sonia explained. This evidence must stand up in court so “bonded with child” is not enough. The court would need specifics – eye contact, tone of voice, mood created.
The afternoon session explored in some detail professional boundaries and their importance, enabled everyone to sign supervision contracts and confirmed each sesssional's supervision arrangements with either a deputy manager or a senior practitioner.
Those taking part told us that the workshop was informative, with great examples from practice, plenty of opportunities for discussion and a well-prepared folder of information.
“Very good training. The facilitators explained really well and gave everyone a chance to speak and ask questions.”
We are always interested in hearing from suitable candidates who would like to work at our residential houses on a sessional basis and hold interviews for sessional staff throughout the year. Check here for more details and how to apply. All successful applicants attend the one day induction day workshop before they can work for St Michael’s. St Michael’s pays for their time.