Kids adjusting

2kdad

I have two girls ages 2 and 4. We are currently children’s pastors interviewing for Houseparent positions. We have a promising interview in NC. What can we do to make the transition easier for the girls. We have a big play room full of toys, they have lots of friends at church and several playgroups/story times, and of course having to share Mom and Dad with 7-8 other “big kids.”

Any advice on making a smooth transition?

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webmaster

My kids were 3 and 6 when we started as houseparents 12 years ago and for them is was an easy transition because we got to do so many new things. Our first week on the job we left for a week of camp with the kids. There were also tons of other activities we were able to do because of our position that we were never able to to on our own. Like camping, horseback riding, skating, movies, rock-climbing (my son started that when he was 7), etc.

Sure they have to share their parents, but it also opens up a whole new bunch of opportunities for them, depending on the facility. Even at the facility we work at now, we have so much built in like a gym, swimming pool, two playgrounds, and more activities that you can think of, kids tend to get used to being entertained.

A lot of time, when you work with big kids and you have young birth children, the facility kids will do a lot to connect with the kids and even become very protective of them.

One thing we did to make up for our kids having to share us, was to do special things with them when we were on relief, or (when our kids were young and not in school) when the other kids were in school.

I have seen a lot of young staff kids come in and they all seem to adapt very well to this life. Much better I think than older kids. I have seen more preteens and teens have trouble adapting that young children.

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Launchpad

We have two boys that are four and six and a two year old girl. I have found that the more that you can incorporate your kids into the rest of the house (Like a family) it will be much smoother for you. Don’t worry about the behaviors and language, your kids will see you teaching (And giving consequences) to the kids that are struggling. I am finding my own kids are more mature, have better manors and behave better than kids I see with “Normal” families.

At times I feel like I am really neglecting my own kids, but the truth is that while I’m feeling guilty about doing paperwork instead of wrestling with them, they have five big brothers playing with them. There are issues at times between the kids but they do bond and look out for each other.

Example- My sons first week in his brand new school was a little stressful. The fact that he was the only Caucasian kid in a inner city school also made him a target for a couple of mean little kids. When the other kids in our house found out what was going on, they insisted on walking my son to his class for the next week before I took them to school. Being a first grader with 5 teenage boys that come from the roughest part of town as your personal escort tends to make people take notice. You would have thought my boy was a made man. All them boys made me proud.

I am also home to see my kids and be an active part in their lives. How many men can say that? It’s stressful, sometimes a little dangerous, but the benefits of my kids having my wife and I home for them and active in their lives greatly outweighs the negatives.

I have worked with a couple that decided to keep their kids and the facilities kids separate. It turned into a big dysfunctional nightmare for all involved.

Growing up a HP kid!

seriously

Having our kids at work with us all of the time is scary sometimes. Like this morning when one of our young men was running late getting out of the house. My husband was out the door with all of the other guys. I had gone to the office to complete random paper work. My youngest 2, ages 4 and 3 were near the place where our straggler was finishing up his race to the door.

Through the new silence in the house I heard ,my 4 year old yelling at the top of her voice, “HURRY! GO! HURRY UP! GET YOUR SHOES ON! GO, GO! HURRY UP!”

I was cracking up, but also a little bit sheepish. Did she learn that from me? It’s possible. With 12 kids to get out the door to somewhere each morning, there tends to be some prodding from time to time. 

I have 3 kids who were all born since we became houseparents. This is the only life that they have ever known. We work really hard at integrating them into the home and making sure that they don’t become “little houseparents” and for the most part, that’s the way that they behave. This was one of those times where a reminder (for her and for me!) are certainly in order!

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Seamus

My wife and I do not have kids of our own, but we do have a 5 year old in our home that LOVES to learn our language and tone of voice. When we are dealing with our teenagers he is sure to be listening. It keeps you humble though doesn’t it? Having to go back and explain to a five year old that you were wrong for getting frustrated and upset and saying what we said. I have never said anything inappropriate to any kid in my care, but just the little things that you don’t want a five year old picking up – “bossing the others around.” I want him to learn respect from me because that is what I want to give to the kids. It definitely keeps you in check!

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momofmany

One of my favorite questions my 8 year old asks is when are WE off? I have to remind myself that they are “on” too. Not as a houseparent, but as a kid who has to share her own parents.

This morning was especially bad with the residents. I found myself taking my frustration out on my own child. I have felt down all day for doing it. It affected me much more than her. Luckily this is our last day on, so the next 3 she does not have to share me with anyone but her brother (who is older and does not need me as much).

In some ways, it has to be hard. But with the grace of God, we can teach them the importance of what we do. 

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conniejean

We have 3 children and this is all they have ever known too. They see the girls as big sisters and don’t get bossy too often. Occasionally they will tell them they are too loud or to hurry up but the girls are very understanding and usually just laugh at them for it. My kids also ask if “we” are off and it cracks me up every time because I used to do the same thing to my parents up until I left for college, LOL.

What makes a facility “Christian”

momofmany

What makes a facility “Christian”????? Ours has a chapel, but it is used for storage. Since I have been here, it has NEVER been used for any type of service.

Is it the people – would that be your supervisor, admin, other houseparents, or whom? Most don’t act Christian, though I try not to judge as I am far from perfect. They don’t ask blessings before meals or at functions. Nothing that they do would make you think – WOW what a Godly person.

So I guess my thought is… Do you work at a “Christian” facility, and if so, what practices are in place that show this is a place that God is truly a part of? And, IMO, it has to be more than just in their mission statement. 

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bakergirl

I’ve wondered the same. We’ve interviewed at places that called themselves Christian but houseparents couldn’t talk about God. We just interviewed at a place that I felt was Christian. The hiring manager talked about how you get through the tough parts with faith, etc. When we hung out with families, the parents seemed much like our friends from church. Of course, we were there for only 2 days but I still felt a kind of presence, you know? Of course if we get the job I may have something different to say but so far, I feel like God is really pulling us toward this place.

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TexPop

I was thinking of all the things we do here at my place of employment that would probably occur at most “Christian” facilities. Then I realized – if you are a Christian and have to ask about whether a facility is a Christian one after you’ve visited and been interviewed – then it’s probably not.

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momofmany

I agree fully with what you say. However, when we visited we were not told that the chapel was used for storage. It is that, and many, many other things we have learned over the past few months. I think I was mainly asking that question as while looking through the facilities hiring – some state they are Christian, as does mine. I knew this was where God wanted my husband and I, yet now, I question WHY?

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TexPop

I understand what you mean. My wife and I have had that same thought while looking at that list – wondering how much restriction there might be to our sharing our faith or attending the church of our choice, etc……I don’t know that it’s possible to tell from their listings. I do know that a facility’s reputation should be known by the clergy of your faith if it’s a place they may have considered referring people to during the course of their own ministry. This “reputation” was what we used to guide us toward certain facilities when we were first considering this ministry.

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TexPop

Having worked in the secular job world for many years I can only tell you that you may never know the reason why God has placed you where you are. You can only remain obedient and upright and let the Holy Spirit take care of the “why”.

Not preachin, just testifyin’ – TexPop

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dontlietokids.net

I have a dream of opening up a REAL “Christian” home. I am 36 and am in the process of making some sound investments in hopes (and prayer) that they work out well enabling me to fully finance the home asking no one for any money at all. If you would, please pray for this endevour.

I have more detailed plans if anyone is interested send me a private message.

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webmaster

I think the bigger question, and this is one to ask yourself when you are looking for a position, is – what makes you a Christian? After you answer that find a facility that has the doctrines you believe in and/or can live with.

When you interview you need to ask questions, and be direct, about the beliefs and philosophies of the facility. I have interviewed at facilities that considered themselves evangelical Christian and allowed witnessing, devotions, and all the other stuff, yet felt that abortion and other alternative lifestyles were acceptable. I am thankful I found that out during the interview, because of my beliefs I would have not been able to stay there.

I had a friend that worked at a facility that claimed to be Christian with a chapel that they used every Sunday for service, yet had no problem hiring an atheist that was allowed to share his doctrines with the children.

I currently work for an independent facility of Presbyterian heritage. Here we have houseparents that range from what I consider Extreme Calvinist Presbyterians to very liberal Christians that attend Presbyterian Church. I am somewhere in the middle on the more conservative side. We all see Christianity somewhat differently, yet we are able to agree on enough essentials to work together.

I am certain that if or when we look for another position someday, we will all be looking for different things in a new facility, and I believe there are enough facilities out there that we all would be able to find it.

That is why I say, “Know what to believe and don’t compromise”. Some Christians find it easier to work at a secular facility, because they don’t have to hold it to the same standards as a Christian Facility.

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Craig Bridges

I believe what makes a facility Christian is when the leadership starting with the board, ED, supervisors and all other admin staff are committed to a foundation that Christ is the center in all that they do, a clear vision not just on paper but in all they do. An admin staff that states before all else these young people need to know a God who loves them, a God who has a plan for them, a God who knows them, forgives them and can heal them, a God that they can find true adoption from and an everlasting identity in. A God they can call Lord, Savior, Friend, Provider, Counselor. We need to stop catering to the world and LIVE OUT GOD’S LOVE. If admin would support house parents with that vision and allow them the tools to model God’s awesome love I believe we would see victory, over comers, more than conquers. This is not to say that we don’t need therapeutic services such as education programs, counseling, etc. But if we lay the foundation of Christ and discipleship and that always remains the center in all that we do, WOW! What a place that would be.

Then you can find house parents who are like minded and with the right SUPPORT can carry out that vision.

Please burst my bubble or Rain on my Parade… Whichever

louisville parents

My wife and are excited about some aspects of this job. I will list them and then you can feel free to point out the ones that seem too optimistic.

1) Now I am working 4 jobs and attending seminary. My wife takes care of our daughter and manages to put in 10-15hrs a week teaching kids remedial reading and math. We are looking forward to working together and having a single focus in our life and ministry.

2) My wife and I have always been frugal. We have never been in debt and have always saved a large portion of our income. We don’t know what we will be spending our paychecks on when our home, meals, insurance and gasoline are covered.

3) We are hoping to make a significant and noticeable difference in the lives of the children we care for. We’ve seen the website videos of kids and young adults saying how their lives have been totally changed by the work of the facility and the HPs.

4) Right now I work most every Saturday and Sunday. My wife and I have never had full days off and are really looking forward to connecting with each other during these days. One location offers two days off each week and another 1 day off per week and 1 weekend per month. Is this realistic? Will we really have these days off?

I’d really appreciate your perspective on these things. We want to go in with our eyes wide open.

It would also be really great to hear your worst misconceptions of the job.

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Launchpad

You guys definitely are in better financial shape than most people going into the job.

As for the time off, I have been a soldier, a truck driver, worked in a factory and did a short stint as a youth pastor. In all of those jobs I worked a lot of overtime, but not near as much as I work now. The difference now though is my wife and I work as a team. We spend most of our time together, not separate. When our daughter arrives (1 month!!!) she will have mom and dad there, together, all the time.

There is down time. After getting the kids to school you can have some breathing room. A lot of facilities will try to say that will be part of your down time also- They are only half right. There are still Dr. Appointments, paperwork, staff meetings general house care stuff, shopping and food prep that needs to be done. Most people I see that stay content doing this job seem to be able to budget their time wisely. You can go back to sleep until noon when the kids are in school, but you will pay for it later when you are trying to throw dinner together at the last moment. Your week can seem impossible if you don’t schedule it.

One really cool aspect of this job I learned from a former supervisor. His son is a excellent wrestler, his dad is at almost every event. He helps train his son and is very involved in all of his children’s lives. Because of being a HP he has been able to be a dad who is there for his kids almost 24/7. When he is on duty, his time is split between his kids and the other kids, but the bottom line is he is there.

The respite time is a big factor. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. Some people prefer working 30 days straight and only having a weekend off. I have learned that’s not for me. You have to find your comfort zone and find what works best for you, your family and the children your serving. If your losing your cool after three weeks of being on duty and start losing the professional, ministry focus- you may need to re figure your situation. We ain’t doing anyone any good if we are screaming fools. 

As for you actually getting a week end off you need to talk with them and find out exactly what they mean. A weekend off can mean you go off at 10pm on Friday when the respite shows up, and need to back on at 10pm on Sunday after respite has reconfigured your living room and changed all the house rules 

One day off can also mean your off after the kids go to school and back after they are in bed.

As for making a noticeable difference? The fruits of our labor may not be visible until they turn thirty. There are victories but I have gone to bed some nights wondering if I make a difference at all. You have to be content with the fact you are doing the best you can and know you are following Gods call. I think most of the burn out in this job is from poor management of ourselves and/ or the facility. I really don’t think it’s the kids that run most of us out. 

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Launchpad

Actually here is a better example. Diary of a Houseparent

Very good example. Worth a read for everyone!!!

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TexPop

Oh, that’s just funny! Similar to our first cottage assignment, but still funny! 

For a little perspective, I’ve also been present when some of the kids accepted Christ as their savior. Way cool! There’s good and bad in everything. Finding a well-run campus with a good support structure is very important. Talk to the current HPs on staff. Visit the cottages. Visit the kids. -TexPop

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webmaster

I have basically raised my children in residential childcare. Being a houseparent at the facilities I have worked at has made it easy to spend time with them. Additionally they have always been good about letting us off for special activities. I rarely hear about houseparents that have a difficult find time with their children, the hardest thing is being able to balance the demands of your birth children with the demands of the home children. Some children have a difficult time sharing Mom and Dad.

I very much enjoy spending time with my wife, we have been married for over 18 years, but sometimes I just want to do something by myself or doing manly men things, and it seems hard to be able to do that, because I feel bad about leaving her with 9 children for more than an hour or two. My alone time is left to the couple of hours I spend at the office each day while the kids are in school.

Being frugal surely helps, You can save your money for a rainy day or to buy a house later on. If you are like most you will end up spending some of your money on your kids, the occasional pizza or sundae are hard to pass up.

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rachel

My husband and I are making less money that we ever have. But, we have more money that we ever have – our spending has decreased significantly! (We also know that God has been blessing us!) Do keep in mind that you will spend some money while you are working – pizza nights, ice cream runs, birthday presents, etc. It’s easy to get carried away and spend lots of money on the kids (and be prepared that they will rarely appreciate it the way you expect them to), but just be careful to stay thrifty. The good news about spending on the kids – they love even the smallest things (dollar movie theatre, McDonalds 99 cent menu, a coke or candy bar, etc.)

My husband worked 3 jobs and I worked 2 before we came here. (Not quite as busy as you were!) While we are still putting in the same amount of hours (well more hours actually), it is very nice to just have one focus as you said.

Be sure and talk to the current houseparents at the facilities you are considering to find out if they really do get their days off. We discussed this issue very frankly with our director, and he let us know that time off is something he takes very seriously. We always get the days off that we are scheduled for.

As for making a “significant and noticeable change” in the kids – be careful about your expectations. You have to remember the number of years of poor lifestyle / bad parenting that have damaged these kids. It took time for them to form their bad habits, and it will take time to change those bad habits. I try to look at it from the perspective of planting a seed. We may never see it start to sprout, but it’s there in the soil. We as houseparents have to be sure that we aren’t looking at the kids behavior to see whether or not we are being effective. (Otherwise we would constantly be frustrated!!!) If we plant a strong seed, then we are being effective. I have to remind myself that I am not in this job to be made to feel like some hero that has just swooped in and changed the world for these kids. It’s not about whether or not I feel good and accomplished, it’s about planting a seed. I may not get many opportunities to be a gardener, but I am happy to just be a planter. (FYI- I am mostly preaching to myself right now!! )

This is a wonderful career field and I hope your family just loves it as much as we do!! Adorable family by the way!!!

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louisville parents

Rachel,

Thanks for your post. That was very encouraging. All of you: launchpad, admin, texaspop etc have been very helpful these last couple days. My wife is changing her outlook on this line of work. Today she said that she is excited about this opportunity. This is a huge shift in her thinking.

About three weeks ago we received an application from a facility. I had it filled out two days later. My wife is still working on hers and many days she would get overwhelmed just answering the questions. I began reading her stories from houseparent.net out loud. They were funny, entertaining, and real. A couple days ago she began reading things from hp.net and this forum herself. Yesterday and today she made more progress on her application than she had in 3 weeks. Thanks to you all.

My wife Laura was very skeptical about the photos and videos on the facility websites and knew that it couldn’t be as good as it sounds. What she did find comforting were the real stories and frustrations that you all have written. Your stories have truth, humor, pain, life, love and joy. Thank you for sharing. We’re in!*

*At least we’re in for some interviews and campus visits.

Teaching Family Model Any feedback?

Launchpad

I have been looking into the Family Teaching Model and getting ready to do training on it next week. I have been very impressed with what I have seen and read so far. The residents behavior and the communication between Admin, residents and staff have been nothing short of amazing. Again- from what I have seen so far.

Does anyone have a working knowledge of the Family Teaching Model? What are the comparisons, if known, in regards to CPI and/ or TCI?

Advantages/ Disadvantages of the FTM?

I’m looking for your honest opinion, so feel free to let the good, the bad and the ugly roll.

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webmaster

Would like to help you on this, but I don’t have the personal knowledge to give an opinion. None of the three facilities I have worked for used it. My wife used a morphed version of it in a facility she worked at during our sabbatical, that was not a good experience.

But to be fair, it wasn’t a true version of the FTM.

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teacher

I am currently at a facility that utilizes the Teaching Family Model, and I love it. I could not imagine being a houseparent without it. It allows for consistency. The kids know what consequences (good or bad) that follow their actions. It also allows HPs to show the kids how their actions will help them or stop them from reaching their goals. The TFM is also very user friendly. I give it two thumbs up!

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Launchpad

Thank you! We start training Monday, but so far from what I have seen in some of the other cottages I have been absolutely amazed. It is a better system and support structure than what I have seen before. I have also noticed a lot of (positive) dialogue between the staff.

 Some areas remind of the Boys Town model and the specific skills seem to be the same. This system seems to function a little more smoothly than what I worked before on the Boys Town model. (In fairness to Boys Town we probably were not running the program 100% at the facility I was with).

I take it we are at the same facility? (Your profile has you in SC) If so I hope we have meet or soon will. I really feel blessed being here. 

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Housepop

My wife and I used the Boys Town Model in the first children’s home we worked in and it was very good for keeping things consistent and clear. Like you said the boys we worked with always knew what the consequence would be and what to expect if they stepped out of line. It gave us the basis and skills to go on to other houseparent positions and do well when they did not have a program that was as good or as organized. As the webmaster always says though it is not the program it is the people. You still have to have the skills and the gifts to make it work and also I believe the call of God to continue. I think you will like it and gain much from it. 

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Housepop

In the teaching family model you use is there a skill for positive attitude? If so I would love to have that please. All help would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

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Launchpad

I had a response from someone that has not worked or seen the program in action. Their concern was that the program would be “Clinical” and very restrictive on the kids freedom. The kids here have way more freedom and responsibility than the other two facilities I have been with. It seems the kids here can be just that- kids. The responsibility they have for their own actions is amazing. The FT’s I have seen in action displayed the utmost in professionalism.

I am very impressed (So Far).

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foshgirl

Can someone explain exactly what this is? All I can find online (even on the TFM website) is a vague description of how it reinforces good behaviors or something like that. Can you explain in basic practical terms how this system differs from any other? Or a sample situation/conversation in which you would use it and how?

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Launchpad

Sorry for such a delay in responding. I was hoping someone with much more experience and background in the Teaching Family Model would be able to respond… I guess not 

So gathering from my extensive week long training and actually working with the kids for all of three days; here goes it.

FTM focuses on the behavior of the child. Not just the negative but the positive. It is a point based system where the child is responsible for the outcome of their week.

The difference I have seen (so far) in this program and the other two programs I have worked in the past has been very drastic. Everyone is evaluated. From the kids all the way up to the administration is evaluated and receives feedback from everyone else. The kids evaluate the Family Teachers and so on.

The kids have self government and are invested in the program. It is a B- Mod program but from what I have seen so far the kids have WAY more freedom than any facility I have seen to date. I believe the difference is in this program is the boundaries are extremely clear to not only the kids but the Family Teachers as well. There is a much higher accountability of Family teachers. All communication with the kids is done in a calm manner, very professionally.

I wish I could say that I was one those HP’s that had a calm easy temperament all the time with all of the kids I have worked with in the past. After going thru the FTM training I found myself wishing I had some of the skills the program mandates you use with program. For example, working a solid month straight at the boys ranch I would find myself using no rationals when trying to correct a kid. There were times when I would want a kid to behave in a certain way just because I said so. Another example- If a kid rolled his eyes at my last facility, most of the time I would let it go, I have to save the consequences for the big stuff. With a point system the kid is invested in I can address the eye rolling and correct the tiny behaviors before the kid gets all worked up and has a bigger issue.

The kids also don’t get buried alive in consequences. There have been quite a few times in the past I would really turn the screws down tight on a kid because of their behavior. Looking back on it now, I probably did more to escalate the kid rather than help make a change in their behavior. From my own personal experience a facility without a program and specific guidelines is just a act of frustration for the HP and the kids. instead of creating a least restrictive environment, they are creating more restriction.

Communication on every level is done very professionally. I guess when everyone is being evaluated by everyone else, using courtesy, tact and professionalism is just part of everyday business.

So far I am impressed. I am also being challenged. I have found a program and facility where the HP is considered a professional. I am required to learn and develop new ways of ministering to those in my charge. I am expected to receive feedback in professional evaluations and learn from them. I work with competent Family Teachers who see this as a profession and ministry, not a glorified baby sitter.

This is my view of the FTM program to date. I have worked with alot of other HP’s in other programs that were every bit as committed to the kids and the HP profession as a whole. Matter of fact my heart is still in Georgia at my last facility with alot of people that I hold in the highest regard. I am just very happy to have the opportunity to see another program, feel challenged to develop myself and to be considered a professional. 

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Launchpad

QUOTE

In the teaching family model you use is there a skill for positive attitude? If so I would love to have that please. All help would be appreciated. Thanks so much.

Acepting Feedback

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dontlietokids.net

Wow….the children “rate” the staff?! While that wouldn’t bother me, I know of very few House Parents who could/would tolerate that!

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Launchpad

Yeah I wasn’t real stoked about it at first, but I have actually came to like the idea. You have to keep in mind some kids are going to have issue with a HP, but if you your seeing consistent complaints about being an abusive jerk from all the kids, chances are you just might be. At the very least it gives the powers that be a heads up. It also sends a very strong message to the kids that their opinions matter and actually count for something.

I really think that HP’s that have issue with a regular evaluation from others is just afraid to be held accountable for their own actions and probably extremely insecure. Same goes for admin. When you have a 360 degree eval and the people under you that you never really thought of acting like a professional with can make you think twice. 

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dontlietokids.net

Oh it wouldn’t bother me, but most HP’s I know would hate the idea.

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webmaster

 I try to be fair, and have been more than happy (kinda) to apologize when I am wrong.

I’m not perfect, but I think I wouldn’t want to be a houseparent if I thought I had to fear what the children would say about me in an evaluation.

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sunbeam

We do not have a point system. From others I have talked with they were not really pleased with always making a child work on a card or board.

I do agree with the praise. All our kids here before coming here is negativity.

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Launchpad

I agree with grace and sunbeam. Honestly my struggle now is praise. The program seems like it is built on it. If you think its easy giving praise try it for a day. Every single time one of your kids has a behavior problem try giving them praise first for something they are doing right, followed by emphatic statement, followed by a rational and then a consequence.

That much praise seems good on paper, but try it. Most of us do not operate that way. It is starting to seem more natural, but I still feel corny giving constant praise. But hey, I can’t argue with results. The kids on this campus are functioning on much higher behavior and academic level than what I ever imagined.

Whats your main address? Drivers license etc

bakergirl

It looks like we will be working at a home in Austin Tx on a 15 day on, 8 day off schedule. Our home is 3 hours away. I don’t have a clue about which to put as our main mailing address. I will have someone going by our house each day so technically I could hear about any mail we got. But I’ve been pulled over in Austin and asked why we were there. If that happens with a load of kids, what do you say? I mean, technically our addy should be in Austin but that would change voting and everything. 

Plus, we will need a bank account in Austin and so we would have to have the same address on our DL right? Oh dear, this is soooo complicated.

HELP!

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Launchpad

Congratulations on the position!

Sounds like a really unique situation. I suppose it would depend on where you want to vote and set up your “Base of Operations” at.

That’s why the wife and I are going the RV route. Kinda fits the nomadic side of us.

Just wondering- What issue would the officer have of you being in Austin?

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webmaster

Congratulations on the position. What you use as an address depends on what you want to be your residency.

We own a house and have declared that our residency. It is in different school district than the one the home is in, which is where we want our children to attend school.

There are other houseparents that we know that claim residency at places several hours from our home and go back when they are on relief, but have all their mail sent to the children’s home so they don’t have an issue with getting their bills late and not paid on time.

Your driver’s license should not be an issue if it is a Texas license, hopefully getting pulled-over will not be a habit you are into, otherwise being a houseparent is not a career you will have very long.  Honestly, I don’t think the police can harass you if your address on your license is from a different town than where you work, millions of people commute to different towns everyday. I know some people that drive over two hours to work one way, everyday.

As far as a banking account, I would just make sure it is with a bank that has branches in both locations. We bank with a national bank that has branches all around the country, so we have access to ATMs without getting big usage fees when we travel. Checks are becoming obsolete, the only place I can really use them now is to make my monthly payments. Most places of business won’t accept them anymore where we live. We have to use our check card or cash.

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momofmany

I moved from 8 hours away to my current position. I acquired a P.O. box as I did not want everyone to know my business, and I good check my mail on weekends and days after a holiday when the office is closed. I also put that address on my license.

I did not change my bank account. My checks are automatically deposited. I have not had a problem writing a check here, but I mostly use my debit card. I have not changed it as of yet (and it has been 7 months) as I have no fees where I bank and they take really good care of me. I just have to call by phone, toll free.

In Texas you have 30 days to change your license.

And, I too, hope you don’t talk to the police officer too often as you won’t last long in this job.

Good Luck, and God Bless.

Hello experienced houseparents! More questions from a prospective….

Lyssiej

Hello!

I hate to do this to everyone again, since I see a lot of newbies are on here in various stages, but I have a few more specific questions about houseparenting that I was hoping to ask the seasoned veterans….

1. What was your “aha moment” that made you want to get into this line of work? (Does not apply if you have something in a blog or on a “testimony” section — I’ve read it!)

2. You’ve all undoubtedly been surrounded by people quitting/burning out for years — What would you say is the one trait, decision or circumstance that has MOST influenced you to stick with it? Or do you see something consistent with people who burn out?

 

3. DH is a very soft-spoken, contemplative kind of guy. He has good boundaries, but hasn’t worked a ton with kids (He’s a chef, whereas I’m a teacher…..). Kids tend to open up to him and he’s one of those people everyone ends up telling their life story to, but his his biggest fear is that we would be getting in over our heads. Do you guys know any successful houseparents where one of them has that kind of personality? Is there a particular model that works better with that personality?

4. I don’t know if this is allowed, and if it’s not DON’T DO IT, but can you PM me your lists of top 5 reputable facilities?

Going from what I’ve read all over this website and this forum, I think we would be looking for:

1. Basic care facilities that are

2. Christian and

3. Offer lots of training before you start and

4. Use a gentle-ish model with a specific plan for consequences

Does that sound about right for outside parameters?

 

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webmaster

1. N/A – You have already read it.

2. I have been around people that have burned out and quit, a lot of days I think about doing the very same thing. However, on the flip side I have also seen people that have been houseparents for years that probably should quit, and I am not sure why they continue. I think the thing that keeps me going is the delusion that what I am doing makes a difference. Fortunately, I occasionally see things that feed my delusion; I’m sure you have read some of my writings and have an idea what I am talking about.

3. Being soft-spoken and contemplative is not a bad thing, and every person that decides to be a houseparent is getting in over their heads. You either learn how to swim or drown. There is no way to be fully prepared to become a houseparent, not even if they came up with a 4 year college degree in houseparenting. You can learn skills that will make things so much easier for you, but I guarantee that at some point very early in your career you will feel overwhelmed. I have been doing it for over ten years and often feel overwhelmed, like tonight. The trick is have the fortitude to stick it out, and the next time it gets easier.

4. It is allowed and I encourage people to do it, I just don’t want it done publicly on the boards.

Your guidelines for a facility look fine, and I hope you find the one that is right for you. I would like to add that when my birth children are grown, we may very well look for a position in a B-mod facility. I enjoyed working B-mod, but I also enjoy the cat and mouse aspect of things. I always hated seeing a kid take a fall, but I have to admit I enjoyed playing the game. You can build relationships with children, even at a B-mod facility, and in all honesty any real change that takes place with a child in a facility like that is a direct result of the relationships the staff have with the children. Some people do really well in B-mod.

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Launchpad

QUOTE

1. What was your “aha moment” that made you want to get into this line of work? (Does not apply if you have something in a blog or on a “testimony” section — I’ve read it!)

I had worked as a youth pastor in St. Louis and thought there had to be a more rewarding way to serve kids besides pizza parties and sleep overs and concerts.

QUOTE

2. You’ve all undoubtedly been surrounded by people quitting/burning out for years — What would you say is the one trait, decision or circumstance that has MOST influenced you to stick with it? Or do you see something consistent with people who burn out?

 

I have to say the single most important decision to stay in this ministry would be God has opened this door and I accepted the invitation. I will serve until that door is shut. The encouragement that keeps me going, even after some rough nights with the kids, is that I know I am doing all I can to make a positive difference in their lives.

QUOTE

3. DH is a very soft-spoken, contemplative kind of guy. He has good boundaries, but hasn’t worked a ton with kids (He’s a chef, whereas I’m a teacher…..). Kids tend to open up to him and he’s one of those people everyone ends up telling their life story to, but his biggest fear is that we would be getting in over our heads. Do you guys know any successful houseparents where one of them has that kind of personality? Is there a particular model that works better with that personality?

IMO the best attitude is calmness. I have come to a point where I have seen that staying calm and in control at all times is the best answer in every situation. I can also tell you I wish I would have discovered that method four years ago! As far as a model? Teaching Family Model is the one for me. I am definitely a believer after seeing this program in action. There is less stress on everyone, more calm, and more freedom for staff and kids. The Boys Town model is also awesome if the facility runs the program the way it is meant to be. Those are really the only set programs I have worked with, but there are many great programs out there.

Bottom line- Intimidation of someone else by elevated voice tone or body posture is never ok unless your a Drill Sargent or trying to establish yourself in a prison setting 

QUOTE

4. I don’t know if this is allowed, and if it’s not DON’T DO IT, but can you PM me your lists of top 5 reputable facilities?

I’ll send you a PM of facilities that I know some people at who really enjoy where they are at. Again much about these facilities are personal preferences.

QUOTE

Going from what I’ve read all over this website and this forum, I think we would be looking for:

1. Basic care facilities that are

2. Christian and

3. Offer lots of training before you start and

4. Use a gentle-ish model with a specific plan for consequences

Does that sound about right for outside parameters?

Sounds like ya got it! 

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Lyssiej

Wow, you guys! Thanks so much for all of your insight! DH read it and is feeling a little more confident that we may be okay for this. We agreed to think/pray about it until January (he’s a very process-oriented person), so we have time. In the meantime, we’re going to look into foster parenting classes and ask if we can volunteer at a Christian children’s home near where we live, just to get a feel. And I got No Such Thing as a Bad kid from the library yesterday! I’ll be frequenting these boards while we’re looking into all of this.

Launchpad — It was funny to see you write that you wanted something that would help more than being a youth pastor. It’s almost exactly what I told my husband about being an elementary music teacher. It’s just getting really frustrating to not be able to help more directly. I love music, but I’m thinking a kid who’s in total chaos at home doesn’t desperately need to know how many beats a half note gets….

Bottom line, we’re scared and we want to carefully discern God’s will here. It’s really intimidating, but as my favorite quote from Corrie Ten Boom says, “The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will.” My biggest fear in life is losing track of that call.

Thanks again, and keep the wisdom coming!

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rachel

I wanted to share my “aha moment” with you because I think you will relate to it. I was a first grade teacher, and I loved it for the most part. But I was starting to realize that I really enjoyed teaching character, morals, manners, etc. I didn’t really enjoy teaching academics! I also thought so many times that I could be much more effective if I could go home with these kids – rather than sending them into chaos and turmoil at 3:00 every afternoon. So, houseparenting really is alot like teaching – but it’s the really good part of teaching, with a stronger and more meaningful connection with the kids.

My husband owned his own restaurant before we became houseparents. (Is our story sounding a little familiar to you?)  He is also the type that people feel very comfortable talking to, and he is very patient and calm. When we first started (January 2, 2007), I did most of the disciplining. As a teacher, I was used to being bossy! He kind of laid back and stuck to the lighter situations with our girls. But now (and it’s only been four months) he is much more comfortable dishing out the punishments when needed.

It is ALWAYS better to stay cool and calm with the kids. If you raise your voice or become angry, then the kids will just yell louder than you and become much angrier than you. It’s like they try to make you yell at them so that they have the right to scream at you. Sounds like your husband would be really good at deescalating these types of situations – its a good thing to be soft-spoken!

Houseparenting is hard – and I am certainly no expert. But, I really love it and I feel like God has provided me with the skills I need to be good at it. I feel confident and challenged at the same time. If this is the path that God wants you to take, then He will equip you as he has us. It really sounds like we have alot in common! 

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Housepop

House parenting is not for everyone nor should everyone do it but with God’s help you can. I think first and foremost you need to understand that for all the teaching you may do about making good choices and how much you tell a child about God you may not get to be the one to see the results and THAT HAS TO BE OK. I look at house parenting as a twofold job, First I believe I am called to plant God’s seed of love, grace, compassion, and joy and since our true boss is the son of a Jewish carpenter I believe I should help each child fill his tool box with new tools to make better choices, work harder, and be a better person not because I said so or they might get a reward for it but because that is what God would want of them. And the REALLY IMPORTANT thing to remember is that when that seed grows or when they use those tools may not happen while they are with you and that really is ok. The important thing is, you did what God called you to do and the rest will happen in God’s time and in God’s way. Houseparenting is not a results visible kind of job most days. Yes sometimes you get to see it and sometimes you get to experience it and for that moment it is like touching a piece of heaven, so wrap that moment up in your memories and save it for all of those days that you want to chuck it all and go to work at Walmart. My Wife and I have been houseparenting for 10 years now and it definitely is not what I planned to do with my life. We were on career paths that were lucrative and enjoyable but not kingdom related at all. We let God have the reigns of our life and this has been the most fun and entertaining journey I have had the privileged to be a part of. Kids really do say the darndest things and love in the most amazing ways. And the one thing I live for more than anything else is that one day in heaven when a little voice says thank you because if not for you I would not be here to see this.

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Lyssiej

That is so encouraging and inspiring!

I talked again with DH and he’s not feeling the call just yet. My theory is that when God speaks, He’ll speak to both, so I’ll wait. DH said he wants to wait a year and see where we’re at. We’re both praying hard, though.

I’m going to an informational meeting about foster parenting today, thinking that maybe that’s what God is speaking to me about now. DH is a lot more open to that, so maybe that’s “the tug.” We’ll see.

I definitely see (and actually, DH sees) houseparenting in our future. Speaking of planting seeds, you guys have planted that one. I think God meant for us to start thinking about it now so we’re ready to get the call when it comes. Of course, I’ll wait for that call, but you guys have been so helpful. Thank you and I’ll keep checking back in!

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rachel

Very well said Housepop – brought a tear to my eye!! You are definitely right on about the fact that we must be okay with not seeing the results of our work. It’s all in God’s time.

Lyssiej my DH was definitely harder to convince about this job than I was (yet another similiarity between us). I think that being a man, he was concerned about the decrease in pay. He wanted to be the big tough manly provider and all. I knew that it wasn’t a true calling unless we both felt certain. You wouldn’t believe all the things that God did to help our faith. He did everything that we needed to make us feel comfortable about taking the plunge. Just a few things God did for us – got the agency to offer us $10,000 more dollars a year than they did at first, got all of our family to be supportive, found a replacement teacher immediately for my job, made my boss and coworkers totally supportive of a teacher leaving in the middle of the school year, Dh mom sent us a check (totally random) for $5000, unexpected Christmas bonus at work for $500, cell phone bill reduced by $120 a month, and the list goes on. I guess my point is just to praise God that He is a big enough God to bring us to our comfort level in his calling. He didn’t have to do that, but He did. After all of these pieces fell into place, my DH and I knew without a doubt that this is the job that God has called us to do. I will be praying that God will give you guys the same clear cut guidance that He gave us – what a blessing that kind of guidance is!! In the meantime, enjoy every minute of teaching half notes and recorder songs that you can – if you do become a houseparent, you will miss those sweet babies, trust me! (But it’s worth it.) 

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bakergirl

Lyssie and rachel: I too have a introspective husband. It takes him awhile to answer a question, to make a big decision. However, for us, we knew what could happen with hping for 2 yrs. The idea was presented before we graduated from college. Then after 2 yrs, we suddenly knew it was time to apply. It was amazing how God worked. Lyssie, our aha moment was very clear. We were at the dinner table, talking, and suddenly I realized that dh hated his job and some other things all clicked at once and I just blurted out “I think God’s telling me its time to apply”. The kicker was that it didn’t scare him or take him long to agree. We got up and went and prayed and he immediately felt a calm about it. And here we are, five months later, loving it. I have to say, there are big challenges. The agency you work for and director you get are crucial. I’ve heard horror stories but so far dh and I have been very blessed.

Sometimes, I get so frustrated I cry. But I would never quit. If your dh is praying about it and doesn’t feel called, I would be waiting too. Both of you have to be in this. Blessings!

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dmitchell_00

We are foster parents and love it and that is why we are looking into becoming HP. I think it is great place to start. I was reading your post about being in God’s will, Have you read the book The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. It is amazing you should check it out. The main theme is are you “just” living your life or are you living your dream. I feel like for now I am living my life and God has a dream out there and kids like this are part of that dream. We are in the beginning stages of trying to figure out which place we belong. Good luck to you and you DH.

Is Houseparenting for me?

louisville parents

Hey,

My name is Tim. My wife and I have been considering becoming house parents for several weeks now. Your material on houseparent.net has been very helpful to us, thank you. We will be making this decision within the next 6-12 months. We’d like to visit many homes and talk with lots of houseparents in the mean time.

So, I don’t even know what I don’t know. What questions should I be asking these homes and myself?

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louisville parents

Ok, let me add a little bit here.

My wife Laura and I are both 28, we have been married 3yrs and we have a one year old daughter, Teresa.

I have worked as a campus pastor at the University of Louisville for 4 years.

Along with my work on campus I have attended seminary, and worked as a substitute teacher and freelance musician.

My wife worked as a secretary for two years and has been a stay at home mom since the birth of our daughter.

Both of us studied music education in college.

Basically, what we want to know is:

What do you wish you had known when considering becoming a houseparent?

What are the most important character traits and job skills we must have to be successful HPs?

If you could suggest one book to read to prepare for becoming an HP what would it be?

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webmaster

I would suggest two books: Respecting Residential Work with Children -By: James R. Harris Jr., M.A and No Such Thing As a Bad Kid!: Understanding and Responding to the Challenging behavior of Troubled Children and Youth — By: Charles D. Appelstein

I also recommend everything I and others have written on this site. The old forum archive has a lot of good information as well as the houseparent articles section.

There are many character traits that will make somebody a good houseparent: compassion, faith, motivation, etc. But, I think the most important is perseverance. There are many days you will just want to quit, even at the best facilities, and you need perseverance to keep going until you can see the good you do again, and there is a lot of good that a houseparent does.

I am sure there are others here that will be happy to share with you also.

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Launchpad

I wish I would have known there were different models of facilities and procedures and had known the difference.

I wish I would have known about this site before my first HP job. 

I wish I would have known that there are other HP’s who only do this for a paycheck, nothing else.

As far as what you should ask these homes? Make sure you and your family can live with what they are providing in the package. Sleeping in the hayloft is fun during the spring but come winter…..

Being able to set up interviews at several facilities will also help you to see differences in style and procedures. Talk with other HP’s while you are at the facility. If the admin will not make arrangements for you to do so be careful, BIG RED FLAG.

After thinking about it for a while, I have to go with the webmaster on perseverance. Some days are gravy, others you pray for an early death. It is a very emotional environment. You will get attached to the kids. But it’s the greatest ministry on earth! 

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rachel

Definitely read through the old forum questions – extremely informative.

I think good, solid houseparenting boils down to simply this…

unconditional love, consistent consequences

These two things are your greatest tools in modifying behavior. But they are much easier said than done at times!!

State Gov’t Bureaucracies Better or Worse?

TexPop

I’ve been asking myself lately if there are some states where it is easier to run a Children’s Home than others due to the amount of state control and hoops to jump through. I’ve only workied in Texas where it used to be a lot easier to operate than it is today. About three years ago a new person took charge of our state’s licensing system and, since I’m told he came from the day-care industry, he decided to “beef up” our licensing requirements and restrictions. Our list of “Minimum Standards” more than doubled. Sometimes I think bureaucrats do this just to justify their existance.

I also wonder what it’s like working with your State’s Child Protective System. What I observe here is a lot of good intent – but not much common sense. We as House parents and therefore primary care-givers have very little input on the disposition of a CPS child in our care.

What are your opinions of your States’ services?

-TexPop

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webmaster

There are definitely states where there is less regulation. I have worked in three different states: Wyoming (twice), Texas, and Mississippi. Of the states I have worked at:

Mississippi (1999-present) is by far the least regulated, in fact there have only been licensing requirements for about 7 years. However things are becoming more strict since they settled the lawsuit with children’s rights and I expect that trend to continue.

Wyoming the first time is next (1997-1999). We were licensed and regulated but things weren’t real strict.

Texas (1999) We quickly noticed how much more strict Texas was than Wyoming. Among other things, child supervision and child/staff ratios were strict and strictly enforces.

Wyoming the second time (Nov 2000-Mar 2001) In the time we were gone regulations had changes drastically. We were required to have 24 hour awake staff, logs with entries every 15 minutes, much more strict facilities regs, etc.

Unfortunately people that have done very bad jobs at caring for children have resulted in the vast majority of the regs we live with today. I think it sucks that we have as many regs as we do, but if people in the past would have done better jobs we wouldn’t have as many. On the same note, the better the job we do today, the less additional regs we will have to deal with in the future.

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TexPop

Wow! 24 hr staff for “basic care”??

I understand, but tend to disagree. If there are no problems in the future because we are doing a better job – most regulating agencies will simply figure it’s because their rules are so beneficial. Reducing regulation is VERY rare. -TexPop

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webmaster

I never said reduce current regulation. The better job we do today will reduce the amount of additional regulation we have to face in the future.

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MomforLife

I finally got to read the minimum licensing standards for Arkansas just before I left the state! When I read the Texas standards, it appeared to be very similar.

Seriously, I believe the major difference in the amount of harrassment appears to be in the types of placement. My current facility in Texas has a lot of state placed children, parental rights terminated. When your facility is a ‘private placement’ the state is usually too busy to bother, unless a compliant is made. The facility I came from in Arkansas was 100% private placement…the courts sent us children, but the parents still retained legal custody. We rarely had a visit from any state official. Since coming to Texas, it feels like everyone is expecting the worst…fearful of mis-stepping…worried about being censored by the State. It puts an unnecessary burden on people trying to devote their time and energies to the children in need.

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Craig Bridges

I just do not want to post on this subject. It is going to get worse in the future for facilities that take state placements. Sadly, many Christian homes have the answer to many of these kid’s problems but have to spend too much time worrying about state regs & red tape & money instead of focusing on programs that

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TexPop

Craig – I agree with you, but why don’t you want to post on this? I thought some might be hesitant to post because they didn’t know who might be lurking.  Are these your thoughts?

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Craig Bridges

No, no. I just didn’t want to get on my soap box as this subject is a huge frustration to me. There are so many kids out there not getting served all because of lack of $ and state regs that become the focus rather than kids. Government just does not have the answer to the problem and the system is broken, even in crisis in my opinion. I am not worried about posting for others to see and think that it is a very worthy subject.

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TexPop

Good. I know we spend lots of time, $$ and effort to satisfy state licensing regs – rather than opening up more beds and ministering to kids. It’s the shotgun approach to management via the state. I mean, if a facility is endangering kids, close them down. Don’t regulate the rest of us to death. Craig, I can’t even imagine the frustration you as an administrator must feel when you are asked to conform to a rule that was put into place because of someone else’s substandard faciltiy. Thanks for responding.

-TexPop

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Launchpad

At this moment I truly believe I am at ground zero when it comes to state regulations and red tape. I have never seen the amount of policies and procedures that a facility has to comply with to be licensed as here in DC. To be fair, I also may have been shielded from dealing with the state because I worked for some administrators that did their job and dealt with the paperwork and red tape, while I was allowed to take care of the kids.

90% of my time is spent doing paperwork and reporting to the powers that be in the District Of Columbia. In case you’re wondering what I have been doing with the other 10% of my time it has been divided between actual childcare and sleeping (about 5 hours if I’m lucky).

I have seen firsthand the differences in state placements. In Georgia and South Carolina I may have seen someone from the state doing an inspection or file audit once every few months. Here we have audits on a bi- weekly basis and walk through inspections at random times every week.

Oversight is a good thing and it keeps an honest facility honest. To much oversight has the the potential to rip the guts out of a facility and create a climate of fear and dread. The turnover at our site in DC is all about the paperwork, redundant regulations and reporting procedures. The kids are the easiest (and most enjoyable part) of our work here.

Someday, I’ll open my own outlaw facility in the wilds of Alaska and thumb my nose at the man. Until then I’ll be asking every state employee if they would like some cream in their coffee or a foot massage…… 

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TexPop

Launch,

Since DC is not actually a state – how does it work? Is it run by some federal department? 

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Launchpad

Dc actually operates like a pseudo state. It’s a city, but the social services branches and every other government function you would find in a state government are here. We just do not have representation in the House or Senate, which is how DC was able to get around the Second Amendment for so many years (Sorry, that’s a rant for another forum).

Living in a group home with every inspector and Social Worker in the District being less than 4 miles away definitely has its drawbacks.

There is a bright side to all of this though. Our house is so sterile that I can eat off the floor without hesitation and I have more inside knowledge on the social service system than I ever cared to know.

When to Quit?

webmaster

We post a lot about being called to be a houseparent, and I totally agree with that. I would like to change the discussion a little bit and try to get everyone’s opinion on something else.

How will we know when we are not called to do it anymore? It can’t be when things are difficult because we always say you have to persevere when things are difficult or look for another facility if it is too bad. It can’t be when all the kids are grown or completed the program, because there are always new kids.

It can’t be when you stop caring about kids, because if that happens you have bigger issues than whether or not to quit being a houseparent.

I am looking for serious answers. There are days I absolutely want to throw up my hands in defeat and say forget it. But, then I remember my advice to others that you have to persevere through the bad days to get to the not so bad days and the occasional good or great day.

What do you think??

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gracecountry62

Well I can honestly say we have been there at times wanting to give up. and well we did a few times but I realize it was done out of anger and it was always when I was not thinking clearly , especially when issues came up and boy Satan knows when to hit at the right time my wife and i regret listening to folks and making decisions out of an angry mind as well as when I am not having a clear mind during a crisis, but no more we are going on strong and when i feel the pressure I go off by myself and pray and just lock myself away. Then I return with a stronger look at whatever I may be doing at the present time. Then I can see clearly to do the right thing.

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Launchpad

I think it is one of those things that will be made clear to you if it is a God thing. If you’re really hard of hearing he may even slam the door on you to make it clear. 

I don’t know if it is even a question that can be answered unless you are at that point or beyond. It’s easy to get frustrated and begin to think God has called you elsewhere. I don’t think you can know until the time comes.

I think if this ministry became too much for my family I would move on. If I also found myself or my wife coming close to abusing a kid because of stress or burn out it may be time for a Bahamavention

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Housepop

I guess I kind of believe that just as I knew with total strong conviction that house parenting is what God wanted me to do. If it were HIS time for me to stop I would have that same conviction. In the first few years that my wife and I house parented I used to wonder how long I would do this but after 10 years and I am now age 53 I now assume that I will retire as a houseparent. My thoughts and dreams aren’t about what job I would do next but what I will do when I am retired and I really believe that the thought process that brought me there was from God and not me. Of course I still have one question about retiring. What does that word mean anyway. Do I just get tired again? I am so confused. 

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bakergirl

Housepop- “getting tired again” HA! Actually you couldn’t get tired “again” if its houseparenting. I’m always tired!!! I’ve noticed (and dh too) that I need far more sleep when on duty than off. Guess its a coping mechanism.

I also think that God will simply let you know when its time to go. We feel called to this as a career and it would take a lot for us to just quit. It would have to be a clear calling from God to another ministry.

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gracecountry62

We have talked to a lot of House Parents are really going through a tough time at this point. There seems to be a great attack on HP’s in the Ministry to children I have noticed through the head lines that there is a great increase in Abuse with children. Satan has made an attempt to attack HP’s in many areas especially in their Marriages, there has been a severe attack on us all. Do not give up we are going through some trying times right now but God is faithful to see all of us through these difficult times. Do not lose the vision and call God has put upon your hearts we are all the kids have and we are their refuge through God alone. God Speed to all of you.

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RANCHERICK

Our first time around we lasted just over 6 months. It was due to a variety of factors, so we thought at the time, but in hindsight it was really only one particular thing that was the underlying factor that made everything else seem amplified and uncontrollable. So we left, took 3+ years off, and now we are returning. To the same place too. And it helps now knowing what God had brought us through, and what houseparenting is like, that we are looking forward to rejoining the ranks and being HP’s again…

 

We thought God was telling us to leave, but it was really our flesh. We have had more of a rollercoaster ride since exiting the HP’s position that when we were actually Houseparenting! We believe we stepped out of God’s will for our lives at that time… He has graciously allowed us to step back in so to speak, and we couldn’t be more excited!

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helpingtroubledkids

I am replying to this topic, since I believe my wife and I are on the verge of leaving our cottage. We haven’t even been here 2 yrs. and yet it seems as though we have lost what we set to accomplish. I have to admit we haven’t been putting God first. On our days off it seems we want to relax and rest. On the few Sundays we have off (one every 3 weeks) we don’t attend church like we use to since its a day we have off to rest.

We live in a cottage with teenage girls and its drama day in and day out. They love us to our face, hate us when our back is turned is the saying between my wife and I. We have 3 children of our own ranging from 10-5 yrs old. and we have to think of the best interest of them as well as ourselves. We are far from the rest of our family to come here to do this ministry. Often, the children say they miss their grandparents.

Maybe I am asking for prayer for us to make the right decision for ourselves and our family. I enjoy being able to see my children come off the bus and have some time with them as I never did before, but the politics and drama of HP life can really get to a person. Thank you for the stories and information on these forums.

God Bless all of you and the difficult ministry you do.

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TexPop

My wife has been in Ministry longer than I have and she’s said it’s time to leave when she begins to feel that her work has been completed. I’ve spent many years in the secular job market and almost always left one job for a better position elsewhere ($$). Houseparenting is one job where the entire family is affected by this decision – to a MUCH greater extent than any other I’ve experienced. So, short of a moral issue perpetrated by my employer, I’d want to spend many many hours in prayer before making such a decision. I can’t imagine leaving the kids we have now. Maybe when/if the time comes the Lord will make it obvious – ’cause I’m a pretty hard-headed doofus sometimes.

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webmaster

MomforLife – Just wanted to say thank you for your service. I have always believed that for most people houseparenting is just for a season. The length of the seasons vary greatly by individual, sounds like yours was five years. If we could get more people just to do it for a couple of years, it would go a long way to reducing the staffing crisis’ in most facilities. Again thanks, I am sure you will be blessed in whatever you do and feel free to come around the community from time to time.

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Launchpad

QUOTE (webmaster @ Aug 2 2008, 11:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If we could get more people just to do it for a couple of years, it would go a long way to reducing the staffing crisis’ in most facilities.

AMEN!!!

I would also like to add that I hope you stick around the board here. Your insight and experience can help many, many couples when they have no where else to turn. I also believe that once your a House Parent, your always a House Parent. God cuts most of us from a different cloth and gives most of us a heart for ministering to kids and families long after the paychecks stop coming, it’s just who we are.

Heck, look at Glidenhi- Long after him and his wife have retired from the business, he’s still ministering to kids. Granted he’s the oldest punk rock skater I know, but he can’t get away from the calling. He has helped me with advice on quite a few occasions. Kinda nice to have a few old hands around. 

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MomforLife

Our former HP friends are telling us to take 6 months or so off… but I think we would go crazy after 3-4 weeks. My husband is high energy and I like to feel needed. We are both project oriented. I are praying for very clear direction from God.

We have an interview this Tuesday (tomorrow, 8/5) with TexPop’s facility. It is 2-1/2 hours away from our moms, which is only 1/2 hour longer than our original desire, but 5 hours closer than we are now. It is a HP Relief situation in basic care, which is probably perfect for us after 5 years of HP in ‘high level’ care.

My 75 yr old Mom is so excited about us moving closer that she bought us airfare for the interview and shipped me 2 new outfits for “interview” clothing – she knows I live in jeans! This was a sacrifice for her as she lives on a limited, fixed income. I hate to tell her that the clothes are too large (not that I’m small, I’m just not as big as she thinks)!

Keep house or sell once houseparenting???

bakergirl

Hey everyone. It’s good to be back. I haven’t gone through and read everyone’s posts but I will after I post this. Welcome to all the newbies!

Here is our problem/situation. We have been houseparenting for 5 months now and although we don’t have our boys yet, we’ve been doing relief and getting the new boys house ready. We work a 20 on/8 off schedule now and will switch to about 15/6 or maybe 10/5. Its been difficult to keep our house (that we own, not the agency’s home) because after we get off, we go home and have to clean the whole house since it has become dusty and needs to be aired out in between (also ppl have been coming and checking on it and that’s tracked in dirt). Then after a few days, it has to be re-cleaned, and then cleaned again before we leave! It feels like all we do is upkeep on the house when we are supposed to be relaxing and visiting with friends and family. Other than cleaning or sleeping we are hardly there.

This led us to consider selling our house. We do love it but I’m beginning to think its more of a hassle. There is a couple of hotels in our hometown that will allow us to bring pets. The cost of the hotel vs. keeping the house and its bills would save us almost $400 a month.

What did you all do? If you sold your home, did you miss it? Have any of you used a hotel during off time? There is the issue of meals but its not that much time off and usually we eat out or at families during our time off.

Any response is appreciated. Thanks guys!

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Launchpad

Wow- Hard one.

I have spent more of my life living in hotels and other temporary situations than I care to admit. It was a lot of fun when I was 20, ok when I was 25 and downright depressing when I was 30. 

I prefer to have someplace now that I can call home, even if it is just to drive past it once a month. But it is definitely not the economical route.

Sounds like if you and the husband can save a few bucks at the local motel 6 and have quality time off it may be the way to go.

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webmaster

We have a small fixer upper home we bought a few years ago that we go to when we are on relief. Our situation is a little different though. It is in the same town that our job is in, and I have a 16, soon to be 17 year old, son that drives by it every day after school to check on it and get the mail. I use all the remodeling projects as therapy. Remodeling has very little ambiguity and produces instant results, unlike being a houseparent.

We are thousands of miles away from home so there is no family to visit, and we really enjoy being by ourselves out in the country during relief time. I often times cringe when I pay all the bills each month, but we would spend all of that money anyway traveling to get away from campus and relief housing.

If my home were not in the same community that we are working in, i would definitely consider selling it. I would not want the hassles of owning a home out of town. We have a set of houseparents here that were in the same situation as you. They put their house on the market about six months after they became houseparents and finally sold it a year later. They were very happy when it was gone. They had many of the same complaints that you have.

Houseparent Children is having your own children safe as a houseparent?

emyboy

Hey guys,

My wife and I are interested in becoming houseparents, but we have a 4 year old son. I was wondering how safe he will be, and I do not want to jeopardize our time with him. Does anyone have small children and be houseparents? Am I out of my mind? My wife and I just have such a passion and a calling on our lives to work with this upcoming generation, and we feel the Lord is leading us to be houseparents. Let me know what you think

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DH and I want kids badly. So far we haven’t been able to conceive but we hope to and if not we will adopt. Since we feel that houseparenting is our forever career, this is an issue for us too. What level of care are you looking at? We have been hired for basic care, meaning we hardly ever even get CPS kids. You can imagine this is the safest environment for natural kids. Later, when our kids are older, we will probably take on harder to handle kids but I think this is best for now. God really led us here, we didn’t even know this level existed. I would find out what kind of kids will be there before you accept a job. One way that a facility can control the level of kids is by being a private facility. If you get govt funding, you have less say on who is placed. So that’s my 

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Launchpad

My wife is four months pregnant now and we are still convinced that this is the ultimate job to have and raise a family. I had my concerns at first, especially coming from a facility that restrained constantly and had staff getting hurt frequently.

My supervisor raised three children as a house parent and did a great job. He put it best when I asked him how he did it, “I’m a full time dad”. You see, my kid will have me and my wife when he gets home from school. I will actually get to be a very active part of his life.

Think about it- you’re a professional parent. You get to learn and study parenting techniques. You will hopefully research and study the latest and greatest strategies in child rearing. Think of the patience you will or have developed after dealing with a multitude of teen drama.

I see it as a positive. I get to be with my family. I make a living being with them, not driving a truck down the road or dodging bullets. It is hard to imagine a different life, especially when I know I will get to raise my kid and be a dad. That’s where it’s at.

Leaving

taffym21

Can you tell me how you decided to leave certain positions? I’m going through my 3rd year as a relief houseparent (we are set up more as teams where primary’s work 5 days in the cottage and I work 2.5 days in 2 different cottages) and I am having a hard time lately. It would be scary as well as sad for me to leave. I’m scared of leaving paid housing and awesome benefits and pretty good pay. It would be sad leaving most of my kids. So… tell me stories of how you left and how you got through it! Hope you are doing well


 webmaster

My personal feelings about leaving is this:

Houseparenting in general: I think it is time to leave houseparenting when 1. You can make a permanent difference to a child, and doing so would make it impossible to continue as a houseparent. If you can make a permanent difference for that one child, I think you should. 2. If you are being a houseparent for any reason other than wanting to make a difference in the lives of the children you are caring for. Houseparenting is not a transitional job, a retirement program, disability program, etc.

One facility for another: This is generally a personal decision but I think if you can do substantially better for yourself (higher pay, better training, education reimbursement, health insurance, etc) while still making a difference, it would be ok to go for it. If a facility is ran in such a way that children are abused or neglected, and there is no hope for remedy, then leave quickly. If working at a facility goes against your personal moral or religious beliefs, go.

When considering whether or not to go:
1. Always keep in mind that there is NO perfect facility, and being a houseparent is going to be frustrating no matter where you do it. My advice is always find a place that has the most things you like and can live with and the least amount you can’t. Keep in mind that every-body’s perspective is different. One person’s nightmare is another person’s fantasy.

2. The grass may be greener on the other side, but it just might be Astroturf (an 80’s term for artificial grass)

3. We had a term in the military that I found also applies to being a houseparent. The two best bases (or in our case facilities) is the one you used to be stationed at and the one you have orders to.

4. At some point you are going to leave kids you care about. Whether you are at a facility for one year or 30 years, there are going to be kids you care about that you are going to leave. We just left houseparenting to adopt one of our kids and while we are making a difference for that child, there are two others that we had cared for almost 5 years that we had to leave. It hurts, but life goes on. It has to.

Prospective Houseparents Former student looking to make a difference

hersheytom

I am a 25 year old graduate of Milton Hershey School. My wife and I are interested in pursuing a career as house parents and are looking for more information to help decide which facility is best for us. Location isn’t an issue, and we’d be willing to pretty much anywhere. As a graduate of Milton Hershey, I understand the importance a houseparent plays in the life of a student, and I dream of an opportunity to return the service that was provided to me as a student of a similar school. We currently live in NE Texas, and both work at an after school recreation facility and summer day camp at a local church.

Particular details about the type of facility we are looking for include a few different criteria. While we dont mind working with troubled kids, we do not have an interest in working with mentally unstable or special needs children, as I feel completely unqualified to work in that environment. We are looking for locations that may accept a pet or two (I’ve found a good deal of information about this in a previous thread.) Also, we are looking for a location that does not have a problem with young/less experienced houseparents. My wife has been working in child care for approximately 10 years, while I have only worked 1 year relative experience, I do think my experience as a student at a similar school must count for something.

Anyway, if anyone can help guide us in the right direction, any information would be greatly appreciated.

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webmaster

The most difficult part of your criteria will be finding a facility that will allow pets, there seems to be less and less of them all the time and although regulation is usually what is blamed, but I think the true blame can be placed of those few irresponsible staff that allowed their pets to be a problem. When you look at facilities, it wouldn’t be the first thing I asked about, but if it is really important for you, it should surely be a question early in the process.

There are many facilities that will not have mentally unstable or special needs kids in the sense of handicap’s or disabilities, but as you know all the kids in care have special needs as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc.

As far as being young, there is always going to be somebody that will be suspicious of your age. There will often be that staff member that thinks you are just going to be try and be peers with the kids. Your professionalism when you start will go a long way in changing those perceptions. I know many houseparents that have started young and are respected and very successful.

I do have one word of advice for you as far as your experience in a facility when it comes to the kids in your care, and I share this from my own personal experience. My wife was in foster care and I should have been. When we first started as houseparents we thought the kids would be encouraged by the fact that we had experienced something similar in our youth, turns out they couldn’t care less. They felt that our situation was nothing like their situation; therefore we couldn’t possibly understand what they were going through. After going through that a few times, we simply decided to keep our past to ourselves and use the experience of our past make us better houseparents. To be more compassionate, understanding and caring as well as being really good at the cat and mouse game that youth can play. We still have kids that are amazed that we would think to look there, where ever that may be or how we can tell something is wrong, even when they are trying to appear normal.

I hope your search for a position goes well. I hope you will find tons of information on this forum/site and if you can’t find an answer to a question you have please ask it. Chances are somebody here has the answer or at least a piece of the answer and if you can get enough pieces together you will have something substantial. Welcome. 

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hersheytom

Thank you for your response! In terms of my pets, its not necessarily something that will keep me from accepting a position, but it is definitely something I’d obviously prefer. In terms of my experience as a student, I don’t think it is an advantage so much as you had stated, the experience I was referring to as a student was more related to my extensive inner knowledge of how a home is run (at least at MHS). I was a leader as a student within my home, and continue to be a strong leader in my adulthood.

I feel that do to my youth, children relate well with me, however I do try to be an authoritative/parental figure, more than just a friend. What I didn’t mention in the previous post is that I would prefer to work with younger children (k-5th grade) as that is what my wife and I have the most experience with.

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webmaster

That is the age group that my wife and I have worked with the last 6 years. I think they are easier to work with mentally, but much harder physically. However in our case, long term residential foster care, it is MUCH harder on you emotionally when they leave.

It is great that you were a leader in your house, and that information you have about the workings of a home, will truly benefit you.

teenage girls

rachel

My husband and I are about to accept a position as full time houseparents for seven girls between the ages of 13-17. (Well, we haven’t officially accepted the position yet- but we are pretty sure that we are going to take it.) I have heard from several people that girls are much more difficult than boys. Girls are said to be more dramatic, emotional, etc. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or stories specific to dealing with the drama of teenage girls.

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Launchpad

I worked in a co-ed facility for two years. My dealings with the females were very positive, and in general the girls were better behaved.

However the dynamics were much different. We had six boys and two girls in every house. Most of the time we were dealing with boy issues and the girls would tend to fly under the radar. They seemed to kind of enjoy the status of being the more “Mature” ones.

But when they had an issue, it was always more dramatic and way more volatile than the boys. Most boys I have worked with that become agressive will do so until a point is reached. The females I have worked with that become agressive go all out. They fight for keeps.

All that aside, I have really enjoyed working with the girls. Communication seemed to be easier with most of them and the relationships seemed more genuine than with alot of the boys.

I do feel more comfortable with the boys, but I definitly would work with girls in the future. 

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dontlietokids.net

My wife and I LOVE girls! Here is an answer I gave regarding girls and their “moodiness” that I think might help you.

I live and work with 13 teen girls and have for 14 years now. So, including my wife (and up until a year ago our daughter) it’s me and 14 (was 15) women. Can anyone else claim that kind of experience with females?

I LOVE girls (lol) I love their complexity, I love their minds, emotions, and moodiness. I just love the challenge. Now my daughter has me a bit depressed because she continues to reject Christ, but when we are together we get along, talk, joke, and just have a pretty solid relationship.

Some simple advice:

-Girls LOVE to talk. Do not deprive them of this. Don’t expect them to shut up and go play. That works with boys, not girls.

-Girls need an explanation, “because I said so” doesn’t go over well with females. There is a time for that, but when you can discuss the situation with a female you should.

-Girls need attention. Put the ball game on mute, go to their sporting events, spelling bees, recitals, etc. They love that.

-Girls need to see what a real Godly man is. Like my daughter they may chose to reject it, but they still need to see it, BADLY.

-Girls need a fatherly figure, but they also need a strong woman (mother), yet the woman CANNOT be domineering. Tough mix to find today, but it’s a must to raise a strong daughter who understands her role as a female.

Now, when dealing with moodiness…ready for this???

Call them on it!

Don’t be mean, sometimes you can even be a little funny about it, but call them on it. A girl who grows up with parents who excuse or ignore her moodiness makes a terrible woman. As the dad discuss their emotions and hormones with them, point out what’s bad and why along with what’s normal and why. Conversations like this is why a strong mother is also a must as I mentioned earlier.

If you need any other opinions let me know

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webmaster

My wife and I have cared for Teen Girls, Teen Boys, Little Kids, and Co-eds. She personally prefers Younger children or boys over girls. I however prefer Teen Girls.

They are more emotional and petty than the other groups, but most of that can be ignored or as Don’t Lie says call them on it.

Teen Girls are also more nurturing and helpful. It’s much easier to get them to help you around the house than the other groups and they are usually much cleaner.

One of the major down sides to teen girls is that they are, at least in my experience, much more likely to make accusations against staff than Boys. So, you have to be extra cautious about not putting yourself into questionable situations with girls. The male staff should never be left alone with one girl and should never go into the sleeping or changing areas without at least announcing themselves. I always had my wife check that everyone was dressed and appropriate before I ever entered their areas. (to make repairs, move furniture, etc.)

Don’t sweat it too bad, they’re not that bad.

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dontlietokids.net

You DO have to be careful of false accusations, but know this, in 14 years of working with girls (many of them sexually abused) I have never been falsely accused (thank God) of anything at all! Just be aware of it, sensitive to it, and SMART!

Mike is correct about them being cleaner and more willing to help around the house too. I think teen girls are the best kids to work with. 

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Launchpad

How well does it work logistically with trying to always have another peer or houseparent with you while working an all girl house?

At my last facility we usually had three staff and at least one of the boys around, so I never had an issue with isolation. The one staff that I know of that was accused of doing something repeatedly found himself in rather awkward circumstances that I believe were more of his own making.

Just wondering how much different or on guard you would have to be in an all girl environment.

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glidenhi

In an all girl facility….expect the woman of the couple to do most of the work. When the man takes a girl somewhere, you have to take two more girls along to always have more than one in the car. Most of the time kids have homework or tutoring to do and if you have a working girl that needs transportaion…or anyone else that needs transportation in the afternoon, the woman ends up doing it. If the man doesn’t cook, that means the woman has to cook, drive and do all the managing that requiers the houseparent to go into the girls’ halls and bedrooms. The man better learn to cook….that’s all I can say…..and I don’t like for my wife to do all the work. Also….when I’m in the house I run the house, and a lot of the girls aren’t used to the man doing that…so that can cause some issues….especially if they are used to houseparents where the woman runs things and the man sits on his royal and is scarcely more than a “teddy bear daddy.”

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webmaster

How well does it work logistically with trying to always have another peer or houseparent with you while working an all girl house?

 We worked all girls for almost two years and it was usually not difficult to not be alone. It was pretty easy to find a couple of girls that wanted to ride along or want to stay at the house. My wife did do most of the one on one and “glidenhi” is right “I did the cooking and most of the other household management stuff”

 I learned to cook when I was 16 and all of a sudden became the household manager of my family household because my parents divorced and my mom had to work.

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dontlietokids.net

I’ve taken girls on short trips alone. First of all I developed a very strong trust with my girls, and secondly, these trips are 5 minutes or less. I AM careful, but the way I look at is that if a girl lies about me, then I no longer want to do this.