Do any of you have security systems in your cottages? You know, door and window alarms, video cams, etc. I have a wireless bedroom door chime system that alerts me when one of the kids has opened their door at night. But I was thinking about a video camera at the front door to document the pick-up and drop-off conditions when the kids go on home visits. Sometimes things/kids are just left on the porch…sometimes the guardian arrives in a questionable condition….etc.
I don’t need additional security for the kids ’cause their all young and no problem, but I’ve worked in cottages where I was watching for runaways and additional security would have been helpful there.
Tell me what you’ve found useful.
We are pretty lax on security here. I rigged up a baby monitor in the boys hallway to keep an ear open for anyone moving about. The best thing about it is the boys forget it is even there and can’t figure out how we know what they are talking about when they think they are out of ear shot.
The ranch in Georgia we just left had a sweet system. Each boy had a intercom in their room. There was two master control intercoms, one in the kitchen and one in the HP bedroom. There was also an intercom system for the garage, game room and front porch. They also had a alarm system for all the doors in the house, windows and I think there may have been a perimeter alarm. SWEET system. If I was open my own group home and have a bottomless budget I would copy their system.
In Maryland we rigged up a magnetic alarm system to all the boys doors. It cost about $50 a house to install. It also only took a kid 5 minutes to figure out how to get around the system.
We have an alarm system that chimes anytime a door in the house opens. At night, we set the motion sensors. If a girl goes into the living room or kitchen, the alarm goes off. Girls are only able to be in their bedroom or go to the bathroom after the alarm has been set. This system prevents them from sneaking up on us in our bedroom, sneaking into the living room to watch tv, or sneaking into the kitchen for unapproved midnight snacks.
The cottage I work in now, used to have a security system. I was the one that installed it for previous houseparents at the direction of administration, however they didn’t want to deal with it so they quickly disabled it. Of course they also provided alcohol and drugs for the teens in the cottage, fortunately they are no longer houseparents, at least not here.
We used an alarm system in the B-mod program we worked at and it was a constant battle of cat and mouse to keep it working effectively. Children would use speaker magnets or any other magnet they could get a hold of to bypass a magnetic window sensor, scotch tape on a mechanical switch sensor, or simply placing a ball cap over the motion sensor just before bedtime. It is much easier trying to keep somebody out than trying to keep somebody in with an alarm system.
A baby monitor is probably one of the best devices I have ever used for gathering intelligence on the happenings of the house. Working with little kids I haven’t had need to use one in a while, but I have noticed they are getting smaller and therefore easier to hide.
You need to be very careful about using cameras, and always make sure you have permission from your administrator. We have been allowed to use them in public areas of the cottage to monitor messing around after lights out, and also in a child’s room while they are gone on visits to catch people stealing from them (The child did not have a roommate and all the other children were instructed not to go in). Never use them in an area where a child could be undressing, you just don’t want that liability.