Newbies w/ young kids searching for advice looking into becoming HPs (with two young kids)

HPwannabe

My wife and I have been married for just shy of three years and we have two children: a 2 1/2 year old son, and a 1 year old daughter. We have been pouring through many of the postings aimed at newbies and the sharing of fears and trials faced by many. We are curious to know how many HPs started off with children under 5 years old or have since becoming an HP have had children.

After contacting the first home to schedule a trip to check out the facilities I was told that my wife and we should wait several years before thinking about becoming HPs. My wife and I don’t think that we are signing up for extended summer camp or anything like that but we would like to hear from those who have been there and are there whether we are this first administrator’s advice was her opinion or a shared opinion by many HPs.

We have both served with children in various roles for a most of our adult life and although we are only 30 years old, we feel that we can be useful and teachable to children if God allows us to do this. We want to be diligent and truly seek God’s will and to also be willing to listen to advice of those who are willing to share it.

Please let us know what ya’ll think about starting off as HPs with young biological children.

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Seamus

I am not sure what kind of home you are looking to get into, but I would think that if you really feel that this is what you want to be doing, then a basic care facility would probably be fine for you.

In the way of age my wife and I had only been married 3 years and were only 23 years old when we began houseparenting. There are several others on this forum that were the same age when they began, so I don’t believe that you have to be “older” to make a great houseparent. Having kids does make things tougher.

This job is certainly one that requires 100% commitment. If you aren’t sure that this is what you want to do or you don’t feel that God has called you down this path, then DON’T do it. It will be far worse for your family and the kids at the home if you are just testing the waters to see what it is like. However, just the fact that you are asking these questions and inquiring on a forum, seems to imply that you are serious.

I would continue looking at other places. At least some of them will allow you to come to the facility and take a tour and see how things are done.

Good Luck!

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Launchpad

I agree with all Seamus had to say. Many of the HP’s at our facility started their career here having one or two toddlers.

My wife and I had our daughter here. Besides her puking all over the place every couple of hours, it has been pretty smooth.

Seamus is right about a basic care facility. Definitely do your homework- talk with others on the board about potential facilities, stay far, far away from any facility that has a restraint policy (Not good for your family to be involved in that environment, IMO), and talk to other HP’s at the facilities you are talking with.

I hate to push anything that looks like we are trying to hustle you, but the members only services on the main board is very cool. You get email alerts from facilities that are looking, your resume posted online for facilities to view (We hired one couple off of there), and listings of all known facilities in the US. Just cause they don’t post on the job listings site doesn’t mean they are not looking.

Keep in mind some facilities, especially those starting at higher than average pay scale, will want some experience and stability in your marriage before considering you. Then again there is always exceptions (Your 30 years old, married for three years, independently wealthy, etc..) I also believe that if God wants it to be, it will be and there is nothing that will stand in the way of that.

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Craig Bridges

Great questions with great input back. Different facilities have different views on bio children. I raised my kids in this ministry and overall it has been very positive. Some issues I would consider:

1) Make sure you understand the word SUPERVISION. This is the key in my opinion.

2) What are the issues of the kids you will be working with and how well does the facility follow their guidelines in this area.

3) You ability to be impartial and fair. The “ranch kids” and “my kids” mentality doesn’t seem to work well. These kids need to know they belong and your kids need to be secure, can be tricky sometimes.

4) Considering #3, How well you can work through the resentment both your kids and the placed kids will have toward each other (sure to happen). This can be a great opportunity to teach and make break throughs with both Bio and placed kids. In my opinion this can be a strength of having bio kids in a program. Making sure you have the same or close to the same standards will be helpful.

5) How are bio kids viewed by the facility and admin? Are they included in activities, holidays etc.? It can be hard to manage your own if they feel left out.

6) Use your respite/time off wisely with your kids

7) Understand and discuss the sacrifices your family will make.

8) Once in the ministry keep yourselves and your kids focused on all the positives this ministry has to offer rather than the sacrifices. I have been blessed as a house parent to experience many things in my children’s growing up that I would have missed in my old 9-5.

9) Actually #1 “WHERE GOD GIVES A VISION HE GIVES A PROVISION” Once God has confirmed in your hearts the call trust that He has it worked out.

This is the greatest ministry in the world in my opinion and these kids need passionate, loving, and called messengers of God in their lives!

Basic Care vs Intensive Supervision

CaringCouple

I would like to hear from some that have worked both.
My wife and I have only experienced intensive care type facilities where we deal with multiple diagnosed DCFS kids that have blown through numerous placements and have many issues or kids on Probation for rather serious crimes.

Our days are filled with Therapy Appointments, Court Dates at Juvenile Hall, Drug Court, Treatment Centers and Probation Officers. Although there are only 6 kids in our care we have not a moment for ourselves and seldom for each other between 7AM and 10PM.

We recently interviewed for a Basic Care facility with up to 12 kids in placement. Although the interviewing staff seemed impressed with our qualifications it all seemed so foreign to us and I found it difficult to comprehend how we would ever have any quality time or moments with twice the kids.

Yet many of you not only do it AND you do it while raising your own children.

Can any of you relate experiences from working both? We love what we do and the kids in our care but there is nothing close to “homelike” in our current situation.

The Home we ran before this one settled in after about 4 months with the same kids but other than dinner as a “family” type unit it wasn’t much more “homelike” either.


webmaster

My wife and I started in a group home that was primarily for delinquents and child in need of supervision (CHINS) kids, it had a level system, therapy, courts and all the other stuff that goes with that type of care. We did it for two years but found we didn’t want to raise our children in that type of a home.

We have been in Basic care for 5 years now at a home in Mississippi. Our children are now 10 & 13. It has been a good experience for them, for the most part. We have been able to experience things and places we never would have been able to in a 9-5 job setting. We were always home when they got out of school, they were able to attend camps I otherwise couldn’t afford to send them two, as well as all the extra activities that are donated that I couldn’t afford.

On the other hand there have also been some real sacrifices. We work a 29 day shift, with 6 days relief. Usually the second to last week we are pretty tired and downright sluggish the last week. The first day of relief is usually spent sleeping and resting. Also when it comes to being able to attend a function that the kids participate in, our birth children’s functions are usually trumped by our home children’s function. Because we don’t take government money and have to spend our funds thriftily, we usually have to wear several different hats (grounds keeper, mechanic, handyman, etc), so we are always busy doing something. On top of that in my cottage, our ages range from 2 years old to 13 years old, so we have to do all the things the little kids can’t do for themselves. We are very tired.

I believe that both types of care have their advantages and disadvantages; it just depends on what type you are comfortable with. My wife and I have decided after 7 years as houseparents to take a break from houseparenting in general. In one month, I will be the full time computer guy, for the home we are currently at, and she is looking forward to having her own home and a job with 8 hour shifts for a while. When our kids are grown, we may go back into childcare, in a therapeutic type facility, we’ll see.


Tuxedof

My husband and I have been in three different facilities. The first was a very strict, we even had monitors to listen to them in their rooms at night. I felt like I was in jail. We then went to a facility in Waco and it had 12 boys, we started making it a family run home. We did have level systems and campus planned activities. There were a lot programs. The Lord then led us to San Antonio where we are working in setting that is just like having our own children, they come and go like a real family. We take vacations, one year to D.C., this year to Atlanta and Destin, FL. They can drive the car with a learners permit, we buy their clothes, decorate the home with our taste. It is heaven. We work 10 days on and 5 off. We did however have to learn to balance our own time. It becomes so much like your family that you need to be aware of your own time. We do have an opening for a relief. 5 days at girl’s house and 5 days at boy’s house. We only have two homes on this campus.

Levels of Children in Care

Aparent

We work in a level I basic care facility and we are getting children in that are ADD, ODD, PYRO’S just to name a few of the lesser problems some of these kids have, is this normal for a level I facility


love4allkids

It is normal to a point. It depends on their behavior. And their mental capabilities


Gracecountry62

Love4allkids is correct it is common to have this type in basic care, If their behavior gets out of hand consult with your intake counselor or the case worker for assistance but it is usually not anything to be alarm over.


Adam
Pyro’s are not normally level 1 in my experiences.


4thekids

Where are you guys at that you have this leveling system? I am not familiar with it.


love4allkids
Texas is the only state in which it has a level system. All others do not. Level 1-3 is basic. It goes up to level 6 in Texas.


MovingOn|

Quote:
Texas is the only state in which it has a level system. All others do not. Level 1-3 is basic. It goes up to level 6 in Texas.

We work with “Level 12” kids in California and are aware of a Level system that goes through 14. We’ve toured other facilities geared through Level 6 as well so it seems there is a “Level System” alive and well in California.

As a matter of fact it seems that agencies work to get their ratings increased to be able to take in higher level kids as State reimbursements seem tied to the levels as well.


beth
We are in N.C. and only go to level 4. We work in a level 1 facility and on occasion get kids in that are higher level worthy but don’t know until they’ve been in placement a few months. I would defiantly take my concerns to my Director. I have in fact on several occasions.


CaringCouple

Until kids have been in placement a while the “system” typically does not react and adjust to their behaviors.

You need to always remember that the children have rights as well and that often times their rights and attorneys working to protect them and keep them out of more restrictive placements outweigh the sensibility of what a caregiver or case worker sees.

Until children have built a healthy size package of documentation supporting their “issues” they will be in basic care facilities or foster care. As more evidence is gathered and more visits to MH facilities adds to the documentation in their packages for the court to act on then they will move deeper into the system towards the level of facility best suited for providing their care.

We recently had a 13yo SED Fire Starter that had started a fire in a school bathroom, assaulted 2 teachers sending one to a hospital and when arrested the Police stated he was the most uncontrollable youth they ever dealt with.

He should have been in a Psychiatric Hospital or a Level 14 Lock Down Facility with on duty psychiatric care and the ability to restrain him but was placed in a Residential Group Home in the community because the behaviors manifesting were too new and lacked the psychiatric evaluation.

After finding him strangling another kid and then threatening to “burn him in his bed while he sleeps” I was able to have him detained. We took a half dozen packs of matches off him that day.

After 6 hours in juvenile hall he was released to DCFS and replaced in another facility with no history of his prior actions given to them.

It will probably take another year of these kinds of issues before he lands in a place suited to care for him.

All you can do is document as much of his negative behavior and get the information to the people that handle those things for your agency.

Is Being Scared ok for First Time Houseparents?

ctam
My husband and I have always known that we would be called to missions one day. We assumed that when our daughter is older, we would work at an orphanage in Central/South America, due to the fact that we both love working with children, and are bilingual. We found out about houseparenting (and the need for it) less than a week ago. My husband strongly feels that this is the direction we are being led, and I have never felt so peacefully about any decision in my life. We are still praying as to whether this is the right time (prayer would be appreciated).

Now to the practical things. We have been married 3 years. We have a daughter who will be 2 in August. My husband has limited experience in working with children (our current church, he is AWANAS commander). I have extensive background in working with children (taught Sunday school for 4 years, worked an after school program, am currently working with children at church).

One unusual concern is that my husband and I come from a very stable background, so I wonder if we would have trouble understanding the kids. Another concern is that I am young. My husband is 29, yet I am 21(yes, I was married at 18). I have always been mature for my age, and don’t question that. I only wonder if a facility would automatically rule me out because of age.

I have read many articles on this site, as well as on sites of many residential care sites. (I am the logical one, wanting all my ducks in a row, and my husband is the 95% faith 5% logic, so we balance)

I understand that it will be difficult, but know that I can’t comprehend just how difficult until we are actually in the situation.

We would like to stay in Texas, and from reading previous posts, I am relatively convinced that a basic care facility is a good place to start.

1. How do we tell if a facility is basic care?

2. Do you have any advice on the application process?

Thank you all in advance for your comments,

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webmaster
QUOTE
I only wonder if a facility would automatically rule me out because of age.

Because you are only 21 there will be facilities that will automatically not consider you for one of two reasons. 1. They will feel that you are too near in age to the kids and would worry about you have more of a peer relationship rather than a caregiver relationship. 2. Because the facilities vehicle insurance company will not insure you until you are 25. However, there are many facilities that state in their job listing that the minimum age is 21, so I believe there are facilities that will hire you. The fact that you have been married for three years plays in your favor.

QUOTE

How do we tell if a facility is basic care?

The easiest way is to ask the facility why the children are there. IF they say they are there long term for no fault of their own they are probably a basic care facility. Also being in Texas they classify placements and I think if they accept only level 1-3 kids they would be considered basic care, but you may need to check with a facility to be sure. You do have to keep in mind that even doing basic care or residential foster care you are still going to have children that can be difficult and may have some behavioral issues. Sometimes a child will be placed in residential foster care, because they need to work through issues before they can be placed with a foster family.

bThe only advice I have besides what I have already written in other areas of the site, is ask lots of questions. If it is a question to you, it is important, ask. Reading the website should give you an idea of what questions to ask. It has been a topic of discussion several times on the forum.

Finally, as far as not being able to relate because of your stable background: “Don’t worry about that!” What is more important is that somebody care enough to build a relationship with the children and then they will be able to relate to them on a personal level.

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Launchpad
QUOTE
One unusual concern is that my husband and I come from a very stable background, so I wonder if we would have trouble understanding the kids. Another concern, is that I am young. My husband is 29, yet I am 21(yes, I was married at 18). I have always been mature for my age, and don’t question that. I only wonder if a facility would automatically rule me out because of age.

The kids need people that are stable. Coming from a great family and healthy child hood is a HUGE plus. You know what a loving functional family is and can model those traits to the kids in your care.

I agree with webmaster on age. Some of the more top notch facilities will be more hesitant on bringing you in because of your youth. Many more will welcome you and be a great place to at the very least get a start in residential child care. Once you have some time as a HP under your belt, your facility options will greatly increase.