Paper Work Whew!!!

Launchpad

Does anyone else here feel overwhelmed with paperwork? Especially redundant stuff? 

Just pondering this question as I attempt to close out all my stuff for this shift.

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dontlietokids.net

Oh yes….absolutely!

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Seamus

Yeah, My wife and I were just talking about that last night. It was another late night of paper work, and then when we went to bed we hadn’t gotten to unwind at all and we just laid there. A person would think that doing all this paper work would make you tired and fall asleep, but that just doesn’t happen for us. It’s just more work and we need time to relax before we go to sleep. Anyone else have this problem?

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momofmany

Are you talking about daily paperwork or coverage notes before you go off duty? Our daily paperwork is minimal. We do “log notes” at night. As we have an awesome network, anyone who needs to access them can. The other paperwork would be med logs, but they too are fairly easy. I guess I am blessed. Or perhaps being a secretary for the past 10 years makes me feel there is not that much to do. And, compared to our last facility, this is much more organized and not a lot of redundant paperwork from caseworkers. We do seem to have a large amount of coverage notes when we go on respite, but that helps it flow better when we are off. 

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Seamus

We are in the middle of during our annual self evaluations which are 8 pages long. And our agency is getting the budget ready for the next year, so we have to give our input and get our figures together to give an estimate of what we will spend the rest of the year and next year. And our agency has started getting ready for Christmas lists, so we are getting all of that ready. Our normal day to day paper work is fairly minimal, but right now it seems like a lot.

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webmaster

We work at a Residential Foster Care Home and our paperwork is minimal. We do incident reports on major incidents, medication logs, Dr visit reports, family and sponsor visit reports, and a monthly facilities safety checklist.

We also do Christmas lists in August, many thank you notes throughout the year, and business office forms (leave requests, expense reimbursement, etc)

I absolutely don’t miss doing daily point sheets and logs. In the facility we worked at in Wyoming we had to have an entry in our log every 30 minutes.

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conniejean

I am terrible at paperwork, probably because I hate it so much. We do a daily point sheet that is very easy to do but filling it out every day for 16 girls gets old. We also have an easy daily report to turn in about our current number of students and if we did any recreation with them, that kind of stuff. And we fill out med sheets every time we give out medication that just say time and date and who gave meds… nothing hard…I just hate it…to much other stuff I need to get done too. And there is other occasional paper work that comes our way, nothing that keeps us up late. Sounds like maybe I don’t have it as hard as I thought I did!

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bakergirl

I thought maybe I was the only one feeling like this! My dh and I (seamus to you all) split paperwork but it still feels overwhelming! Dr reports, ongoing medical reports, med logs, med counts, reimbursement requests, budget paperwork, coding, keeping it all filed in the right spot, the home log, vehicle maintenance logs, keeping the right notebooks current as to insurance for the kids, much less keeping our personal insurance and bills together!

Typical Day while kids are in School

texans

Can you tell me what your facility expects of you while the kids are at school? Paperwork, maintenance, etc.? What all is required by the folks you work for? I know how demanding kids can be, how demanding is the work load for administration? Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated.


sandylegsntoes

texans, welcome newbies! Depending on the age group of the clients, different things are expected.

In little kids shelters, houseparents (hp) need to keep up with the laundry, dishes, house cleaning. Some little kids are able to put away their socks, undies, etc. Paperwork….progress reports, monthly reports, keeping files up-to-date is an organization and time management skill. Try to stay ahead of the paperwork…it will make life so much easier! Some facilities the caseworkers or volunteers take the kids to doctor appointments, therapy, etc.

In teens homes: Laundry: usually the teens are required to do their own laundry–from start to finish–and in a timely manner. It is up to the hp to teach and guide the teens on how to sort, wash, dry, fold or hang up and put away laundry without letting the process drag on for hours and hours. I know how long a load of laundry takes to wash and to dry. Some homes have sign-up sheets for specific days on who does laundry and when. Meals: usually the hp make the meals and present them at regular hours. If a teen chooses not to eat breakfast or lunch, then snacking on cookies and chips between meals is not permitted. Fruit is offered until the next meal. I know of some teen homes where the only meal cooked by hp is the dinner meal. Teens in this home are expected to make and clean up afterward their own breakfast and lunch.

As the little kids home, all paperwork and files are maintained by hp. If the teen home has a leveling system, then the teens are of course responsible for writing their goals and papers for why they feel they should move up a level.

All in all, IMO, the key is a well run facility (besides prayer) is a clear understanding of what is expected from the kids–however little or big–and consistency in following through with the expectations. Nothing breeds contempt and confusion more than wishy-washy rules and apathy in enforcing the rules.

Hope this helps! BTW, do you have a schedule for your teen home? If so, what is it?


webmaster

My typical day is not typical because I am a houseparent and in my free time I manage the homes website, cottage computer systems, and the facility vehicles as well as this website so I will also describe my wife’s typical day.

During the week she usually wakes up at 5:15 AM starts coffee and showers. I get up at 5:40 shower and fix breakfast. She wakes up children beginning at 5:50 for the children that shower in the morning and 6:20 for those that don’t. Teenagers are responsible for getting themselves up and ready. She leaves on her school run at 7:10 AM. I finish getting the remainder of children off to school and leave on my school run at 7:30. After I we both get back to the house she usually starts laundry and does the paperwork. I will clean up the kitchen, check my E-mails and website stats and be at the office by 9:00 and will work until 2:00 unless I have to help my wife at the cottage with appointments (Most housedads at my facility may get called for outside duties occasionally, otherwise they are free to deal with cottage stuff) My wife uses the mornings for paperwork, appointments, Dr visits, etc. We meet for lunch at noon either at the dining hall on campus or will go down town for lunch depending on what kids are home and how much money we have.

After lunch from 1-3:00 is my wife’s quite time. She will rest on the couch and watch TV or nap unless she has to be somewhere for an appointment. I leave for my afternoon school run at about 2:15 and check my mail, go to the bank, shopping or other errands before I pick up my first children at school at 2:52. I spend most days driving until usually about 4:30 or 5:00 going to appointments, school activities, etc. My wife works with the children at the cottage with homework. From 5:00 to 6:00 I either prepare supper or if we are eating in the dining hall will be outside with the children. If the weather is bad I will do things around the cottage with the children or try to catch a little NASCAR.com, ESPN or read the paper. Supper is from 6:00 to 6:45 either at the dining hall or in the cottage. After supper we do chores and baths. Our youngest children go to bed at 8:00, Intermediate children (4th-6th grade) at 9:00, and Jr/Sr high at 10:00. I usually start working on the website after the 8 o’clockers go to bed and work until 10:00 when I go to bed. My wife will watch TV while maybe doing the evening laundry

Friday is late night so we are up with the kids until about 11 or midnight watching movies and stuff.

Saturday we will sleep until about 8 or 9 am. I will get up and make brunch. After brunch we do chores and I will work on whatever needs attention at the cottage like burned out light bulbs, plugged sinks, dirty oven, etc. In the afternoon we usually just hang out with the kids. Some Saturdays we may go to a cottage activity like fishing or the movies. We do so many activities as part of the organization that we don’t do a lot on our own.

Sunday I get up at 7 start coffee, shower and make breakfast. My wife gets up, showers and starts waking up children about 7:50. We eat breakfast and leave for church at 9:00. Get back from church at noon, eat lunch either at the dining hall at 12:30 or in the cottage. I usually make a crock-pot or oven meal when we eat in the cottage. Sunday afternoon is my time, usually with many interruptions, and if the NASCAR race is on I am in the den cheering Jimmie Johnson to victory with usually a lot of the kids watching with me, and about half of them cheering for one of those other loser drivers. My wife and most of the children leave for children’s church and youth group at about 5:30. I stay home with the preschoolers and make supper. They usually get back about 7:00, and then we eat and prepare for bed and school the next day.

Our lives are very busy, and it usually seems like there is more to do than there is day to get it done in. But, it has become our life.

As far as what other facilities may expect of you during the day, there are no hard and fast rules. At one of our previous facilities we were expected to work on the farm while the children were in school with only about an hour for ourselves. At our first facility we had two days a week that we were basically off during school hours (any kids we had that might have been out of school were watched by other staff members and we were free to do whatever we chose), we did paper work, shopping, appointments, etc on the other three weekdays. I have known people at other facilities that were free to do whatever during school hours except on training days. They could catch up on paperwork, do laundry, watch TV, sleep or whatever.

These are very good things to find out as part of the interview process.


putkidsfirst   

School Days:

Breakfast: 6:30am
Girls clean rooms, get ready and touch up chores: 6:45-7:15am
7:15am drive them to school (takes two trips)
7:25-8:30am odds and ends in the house that need done (e-mails, budget, other paper work)
8:30am-2pm OFF DUTY TIME
2pm-Prepare for girls return (on occasional days I may have a meeting)
2:40-3pm some girls return (if not in a sport or other activity)
4pm-5:30pm Prepare supper
5:30pm-Supper
6pm-Supervise supper clean up, save food for girls not here
7pm-8:30pm- Check to see that all girls are completing homework, help where or when needed.
8:30pm evening snack and clean up
10pm-10:30pm-Chore Time then lights out

All of this is what I do every day. Toss in meetings on occasion, driving my girls to where they need to be and back when they are done, interacting with girls and their issues and concerns, answering the telephone, and other odds and ends.

Friday nights girls stay up until 11pm

Saturday is spot check day, girls only need to spot check their chores. However they do deep clean their bedrooms when they get up before they can do anything else or leave the house on the weekends we are on duty (every other one).

Sunday is chapel, followed be the lightest schedule for staff and kids (all of us are at every meal unless visiting family if they are local). 10pm is deep cleaning chore time, lights out at 10:30pm

I know this schedule makes this job sound much easier than it is!

Is Being Scared ok for First Time Houseparents?

TheUlmers

My hubby and I are looking into the possibility of house parenting. We went to visit a home last Saturday and we definitely felt that this is what we want to do, but as I dwell on it a bit more, I am a lil scared and nervous about it. I am sure that these are normal feelings before making a huge life change like this, but would just like to vent, if that’s ok. I absolutely love children, I have a 7 yr old brother by my dad and step mom and a 18 yr old brother by my dad and biological mom, who I practically raised due our biological mom being an alcoholic so my “motherly instinct” is by nature. Hubby and I babysit at least 2 times a month for other couples as well as spending plenty of time w/my 7 yr old brother. We definitely have a passion for children. My major in college (didn’t finish) was elm. ed. I have always wanted to do something w/children. I have just been praying this past week for the courage and confidence to come back. I am very excited about this opportunity that my hubby and I could have and I know that we would make such a dramatic impact in a child’s life. However, there is some nervousness and a little uneasiness(if that’s a word). I think the huge thing that I started me to be scared was that the house that we looked at, we would really not have any down time while the kids are at school. We would be required to do office work and meetings. That kinda scared me b/c I started to think about our marriage. Our only time alone together would be the 2 days we had off and at night when we kids were asleep. That is hard. Is that the norm in most homes or is the time when kids are in school your “down time” for you and your spouse? Would love some input on a typical day for you. Thank you!!


sandylegsntoes

In re to ‘is being scared ok for first time house parents’ it’s ok to be scared if that’s your feeling!
You write your own ‘shoulds’ and ‘should nots.’ IMO it’s natural to feel apprehension embarking on a new career.

IMO if you are newlyweds and desire to spend the first year or two or three glued to each other’s hips completely oblivious to the outside world like it’s the honeymoon night then houseparenting may not be for you at this point.

My hubby and I are together 24/7! We are very diligent about paperwork, files and reports. If the house is run efficiently with organization then there will be plenty of free time. It may turn out that both of you will seek some of your own interests that are separate. Marriage people are one flesh but firstly they are individuals.

Truly houseparenting requires self-sacrifice so be prepared to sacrifice–which is an honor.


putkidsfirst

Being nervously scared is normal. However, I find it VERY odd that a place would not give you time off when the kids are in school. From my experience most places give you that.


TheUlmers

I think I came across a lil too clingy… I love my husband and would love to work with him, it’s just that the organization we looked at had to do some layoffs b/c of budget, they are requiring house parents to do office work since they had to lay off some of the office workers, which would not allow much down time. That is what kinda scared me. This organization was great, but the fact that we wouldn’t have time for ourselves, worried me a bit. It is a concern for us. We enjoy our quality time greatly and if we had none basically… it would hard for us. I know that the Lord will direct us to the right home, but with all the options, it’s kinda overwhelming. We are looking at one in Illinois, Indiana, Florida, Pennsylvania… a couple others. We currently live in TN. We aren’t scared of moving to another state, that is exciting for us. We just want to make sure that we have enough quality time so we can keep a healthy marriage. Was that a concern for other house parents??


putkidsfirst

My wife and I married at 19 and had 4 years before getting into house parenting. I can’t imagine house parenting without at least ONE year of bonding time. Unless you and your husband are in TOTAL agreement that giving your lives away to kids is more important than anything it may be tough.

There are countless HP’s who don’t feel that strongly yet have been doing the job for decades! So it is possible to do it. There are a few couples I know of who worked at HP’s and a few years later quit the job and divorced! It can be that stressful.

It all comes down to how much you and your husband agree, and or have the same mind set. If you both want this, and passionately want to do it more than you want anything else, then go for it! But if either of you are slightly hesitant with having a job that CONSUMES you, then I would hold off.

You excitement makes me happy! I love reading your posts here because you seem so willing and anxious, something we need so badly in this field, something the kids need so badly! But your marriage is vital, make sure you both agree that doing this is of utmost importance. Make sure neither of you will become jealous of the job because so much of your time will be given to it. If either one of you doesn’t feel as passionate as the other (and if it’s just a slight difference) be very careful!


webmaster

I am probably going to be in trouble with whatever facility this applies to but I would consider a facility that is experiencing budget cuts and layoffs to the point of requiring houseparents to do administrative/support work as a red flag.

It is possible that they could recover from that but it would take complete commitment and sacrifice from all the remaining staff. Working in a short staffed facility is extremely difficult and trying to be houseparents and office workers at the same time would be extremely difficult. A houseparent’s day usually begins before 6 AM and doesn’t end until after 10 PM; those hours when the children are in school are usually very needed by the houseparents as recovery time.

A facility that asks for one or two days a week for training or additional duties is fairly normal but if they want you to work all day everyday doing additional duties plus your normal houseparent duties you are probably going to burn out rather quickly and will be looking for something different very soon.

I have seen it happen many times.


putkidsfirst

LOL!

Here’s a post where the webmaster was bolder than I! I sort of hinted that this may be a bad thing, he flat out said it was. How about that.


TheUlmers

We thought the same thing. It’s an awful feeling though b/c I know that they really did like us. I know the Lord has the right home for us in the right time so we are just going to continue to pray for His provision and guidance in the situation. Any help is greatly appreciated!!


gracecountry62

I have to agree with the other 2 guys I see a great big red flag myself please be careful but check here on Mikes website there are a lot of great homes needing House parents take ur time and take heed to what these guys have to say we all been in this lifestyle as house parents for a long time .God speed to both of you.

I also think that the administration could take a few cuts themselves by for example taking on other resposibilities they need to allow the House parents concentrate on first hand duties and that is the kids come first that’s just my opinion