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.
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?
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.
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
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!