Don’t Pencil Whip Your Fire Drills


“Pencil whipping” is a term we used in the military which means to complete the paperwork on something without actually doing it. It was most often used for checks, drills and inspections that people didn’t want to do. I was much too uptight to do it very often but I have been known to do it.

Since becoming a houseparent I have discovered that fire drills and safety inspections are things that could very easily be blown off and pencil whipped. I assure you I will never, ever do it again. I have become aware of at least two fires recently at facilities. One was in staff quarters the other was in a cottage. Thankfully nobody was hurt in either fire.

In the cottage fire I have to commend the houseparents. All their smoke detectors had been recently checked and were working and they had practiced a fire drill just a week earlier. All the children and staff evacuated the cottage just like they had practiced and it went very smoothly. The fact that it happened at 12:30 AM and everyone was in bed makes the smooth evacuation even more impressive.

The fire started when the water heater malfunctioned and started a fire in the stack. It set off the smoke alarm in the laundry room and also one in the hall. The houseparent responded and was able to put the fire out with the cottage fire extinguisher (that also requires monthly checks. Look at the back of the tag) At the same time the housemom was insuring the evacuation went smoothly and accounted for all the children. Because of their quick action, damage was limited to the area around the water heater and some minor smoke damage throughout the house. Repairs are being made and they should be back in the cottage by next week, which I am sure they are very thankful for, because the temporary cottage is not nearly as convenient as the regular one.

Please do your safety checks, inspect your smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and practice your fire drills. The life you save may be your own.



Without incriminating myself, there have been times when I think all of us get comfortable and may let some of the mundane tasks slip and then try to catch up by bending the rules.

Having experienced a fire this past week really drives your message home.- Thanks!


I have a close friend who has 10 biological children. They practice fire drills regularly. One thing they did every couple of months was to blindfold the children (for the drill, of course). Next, dad would go outside the child’s bedroom window, and talk to them from there, having the child get out of the house with the blindfold on. Mom would stay inside to make sure the older children did not cheat and to encourage the younger children. This paid off big time. They had a fire sweep their house and everyone was safe. They felt the extra step of doing it blindfolded made a huge difference as it was dark when their actual fire happened and especially the younger ones were more prepared.

We are here to protect these kids. And true, the life we save may be our own.


That is a really cool idea with the blindfolds. Will probably help the kids (and HP’s) look forward to the monthly drill! Not to mention making it second nature getting out of the house quickly and safely.

First Aid Kit My kit


We went to the beach this weekend and had a great time. Unfortunately one of our kids were climbing on the breaker rock and cut himself really good on a piece of coral. So I walked back to the bus and got the first aid kit (Standard tin can kit) and started fixing up the boy.

I noticed that while the kit was sufficient for one or two minor mishaps, it still leaves alot to be desired.

I decided to go with a back pack with multiple pockets so I can dived supplies up and find them quickly. The kids helped to put it together also so they have an idea of where some of the stuff is. It is also much more comfortable to carry along, which means I am more apt to grab it and have it with me when I need it. Some items listed are EMT level of care. Although I am certified to use the items, my wife is not. We decided it is still a good idea to carry the items because in a critical situation there may be someone on scene that can use the item. Please feel free to add.

Shears (super heavy duty scissors)
First Aid Guide
CPR Microshield/Face Shield
Pocket Mask/Micro Mask
36″ moldable Splint
SAM Finger Splint
Arm Splints, Cardboard
Digital Hypo/Hyperthermia Thermometer
Splinter Forceps
Scalpel #11 Blade (Sterile)
Window Punch (Works great for those bus wrecks you’ll be on)
Adjustable Neck Collar
Space Blanket (Foil)
20cc Irrigation Syringe (Flushing out wounds, eyes) One of those blue baby suction bulb things would work great also.
Bottled Water
PVP Wipes/PVP Swab sticks
Wound Closure Strips card
Tincture of Benzoin
Triple Antibiotic Ointment
Instant Ice Packs
Instant Heat Packs
Latex Exam Gloves
Antimicrobial hand wipes
Alcohol Wipes
Infectious Control bag
Spill Clean-up Kit
Water Gel Burn Dressing
Eye Pad
Normal Saline, 12 oz bottle
4×4’s (Sterile)
4×4’s (Non-sterile)
3×3’s (Sterile)
2×2’s (Sterile)
Bloodstopper-Style Bandage
10 x 30 Multi-Trauma Dressing
8×10 Trauma Pad
5×9 Trauma Pad
Conforming Gauze Bandage (2″)
Conforming Gauze Bandage (3″)
Conforming Gauze Bandage (4″)
Krinkle Gauze Roll 6-ply (Kurlex)
Triangular Bandage
Elastic Bandage with clips (3′)
Adhesive Tape (1″ x 10 yds)
Hypoallergenic Tape (1″)
Strip Bandages
Knuckle Bandages
Fingertip Bandages
Extra-large Bandages
Butterfly Bandages
Cotton Tipped Applicators
Cortisone Cream
Sting Relief Pads
Ammonia Inhalant
Safety Pins
Whistle w/Lanyard

Most of this will never be used, but hey, I got it just in case. Total weight when it is all packed is about 10 pounds.

I also carry a cell phone everywhere. Even if you have no service, in some areas if you dial 911 you can get connected in many areas.

A Valuable Lesson!!!

Most everyone knows that we have birth children to go with all our home children. Our son is about to turn 17 and this last year has been a trying experience. It is one thing when you have to deal with difficult behavior when you are caring for other people’s children, but it adds a whole new dimension when it is your own birth child. (Don’t misunderstand, it’s not get you placed in a group home bad behavior, but it is definitely stuff we hoped we wouldn’t have to deal with)

Anyway my wife takes things very personal sometimes and the other day she was asking me, why I thought he hated us and wanted to make things so difficult on us. I wasn’t sure how to answer it, and really didn’t think there was a good answer for her, but I started thinking about the many conversations we have had with him recently and remembered something he said. He told us something like, ” I know you think I don’t want to be around you at all, but I really just want to hang out with my friends.”

That got me to thinking about his overall behavior in general, and I think that statement can be applied to his entire life at the moment. It’s not that he don’t like us and wants to defy everything we say, it is that THE ONLY THING HE CARES ABOUT IS WHAT HE WANTS!

He doesn’t want to hurt us by hanging out with people we don’t approve of, our feelings are not even a consideration, because it is about what he wants. He doesn’t care that we think he should save some of his paycheck for the future, he only cares about what he can spend it on now. He doesn’t care that we think education is important and that you should put as much effort as you can into, he only cares about the work he doesn’t want to do.

The realization of this is very empowering. It allows you to recognize and deal with bad behavior without taking it personal, because it’s not about you. It’s totally about them; what they want and think is important. This same realization can apply to the work we do as houseparents. There always seems to be this one (or possibly two) kid(s) that seems to be out to get you or drive you nuts with their behavior. But if you realize it’s not about you, it should make it easier to deal with their behavior and to come up with reasonable expectations and consequences.

If only I can remember that the next time I’m dealing with my son, after he’s done something I am not real pleased with.



This is a first for us, but we’re pretty sure that our biological kids have lice. We haven’t checked the rest of the kids in the house yet because they’re still at school, but we’re expecting that at least some of them will have it too. My husband and I have never dealt with this before (as kids or adults). Does anyone have any tips on getting rid of it in with such a large group of people? There are 14 of us living here right now, and I have no idea where to begin! 



Although we have been lice free for about 3.5 years there was a 1 year period before that when we were having to deal with lice every month. We had one group of children that would come back with lice every time they went home on a visit. So we got pretty good at treating it.

We would use the commercially available lice shampoo to wash their hair. Then I would comb out their hair with a lice comb every day for 10 days and wash it again one final time. We purchased the metal lice combs and reused them over and over again.

My wife would wash all the clothing they took with them on the visit. She would also wash their bedding and their clothes everyday during that 10 day period we were treating them. That was usually enough to do away with the lice.

I found that the most effective part of that for us was combing their hair daily with the lice comb. It seems that you can never get all the eggs out with just one combing and the shampoo doesn’t kill all the eggs. Combing daily removes any newly hatched lice before they have a chance to lay more eggs.

We also have some very hard and fast rules to keep lice from spreading to all the children and staff. My wife has gotten lice, twice from the children since we have been houseparents, I don’t have enough hair.

Rule #1: Everybody has their own comb or brush and nobody shares, ever!!!!

Rule #2: Bedding is washed weekly and nobody shares personal pillows, ever!!!



We had run into the same problem (I think I originally asked that question on the forum a long time ago). We seemed to be unable to get rid of it as we had some kids too young to use the commercial shampoo, and some with extremely thick and long hair. After the third go round, we used Vaseline. We slathered Vaseline over everyone’s head (even those where we could not find nits or live bugs) and then put a shower cap on. We left it on all day and night (Saturday). To wash it out, use peanut butter (oil fights oil). They never came back after that. The morning we spent washing everyone’s hair (it took a couple of washes) we also rewashed all the sheets, sprayed the van, couches, etc. Good luck and don’t give up.

Cottage Security


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.

How to get urine odor out of carpet – Need some help on this one


We got a boy that constantly takes a whizz in the corner and closet of his bedroom. We have used all the common rug cleaning products available, but we cannot get the ammonia smell out of his room. Some days it will make your eyes water if the wind is blowing just right.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how to get the odor gone.

We cannot make him live outside in a tent (I already asked) and killing him is not an option (at the moment). 



Try “Urine Gone” it’s one of those seen on TV products. I have had pretty good success with it. You usually can buy it locally in the “Seen on TV” section at Walmart or Walgreen’s.



Got some today (And the black light). I hope it works. 



This is cheap and it works like a charm. Pour vinegar on it ….then dab it up with a towel. Smell gone.



Urine B Gone worked awesome. The little black fluorescent light is uber cool also. Makes you think you got a cool job on CSI and not scrubbing up pee from an eight year old. I recommend this product almost entirely for being able to build your self esteem back up. (But it also does take care of the urine smell). – Thanks Webmaster.

 Had a chance to try the vinegar out. It worked very well and is WAY more cost effective than the Urine B Gone. But it does lack special tools, like black lights or anything that runs on batteries. Way to simple, but very effective.

 Thanks guys, you have made my house smell a little better.

Pets in the House


We are starting our job as houseparents on January 2. We have a five pound dog and a cat – both stay indoors. Our administrator has given us the okay to bring the pets to live in the house with us. Should we be concerned about the safety of our pets – living in a home with trouble teenaged girls?

I know that this is an ugly question to ask, and I apologize in advance. But hey, if you’ve read the “diary of a childcare worker” then you saw the cat that was hanging from a noose!



You are fortunate to be allowed to have a pet, most facilities have stopped allowing pets.

Our facility also allows pets, though we don’t have one now. We have to leave the cottage when we go on relief, and don’t want to move pets anymore, but when we had them, we found that the children were very nurturing toward them for the most part. Even our Juvenile Delinquent children in Wyoming.

The only issue I have ever had with children and pets was with my Cockatiel. We had a group of boys in one cottage that teased it, and it became mean. I lost all my cats (4 total) to stray dogs. They would get out of the house and never come back.


Yep! No pets allowed where I am.

As for the kids, most times the only child you have to watch out for will be the mean child you can spot a mile away. From my experience, they are rare unless you’re going to a very troubled facility (meaning they take on especially hard cases).



All three homes that we have worked at have allowed pets. Our first dog a cocker spaniel always knew which child needed a little extra loving or when a new child came into the house he was always there next to them. He became an important part of our team. Always giving special attention to someone who needed him to love on them. Sometimes Spud,( he was the runt of the litter and looked like a little tater) would just adopt someone for the day and follow them around the house and love on them until they didn’t need him any longer and then he would return to my wife’s side where he spent most of his time. The unconditional love a pet can sometimes make a difference in a child’s life. Our current dog Bogart is really good at checking the rooms when the girls are out for the day, he is real good at finding notes they have hidden or socks that they hide under the bed that they didn’t want to put away like instructed. He has also found a candy stash or two, so the girls have learned that if we don’t find it Bogart probably will. Pets can add such joy to a house that we have found that the children have responded very will to having them around. Neither dog was ever hurt by any of the children we have had in 3 different homes and 10years of house parenting. Just blessed I guess. 



I agree with the others. The home we spent time at had teenage girls and they LOVED the family dog. I think unless you go to a very high level care facility you will be fine. We are taking our Brittany (formerly called brittany spaniel) and are looking forward to watching her take care of the kids. She was a rescue dog so I think she will fit in perfect. I’ve seen her change attitudes between my dh and a small child so I know she will be great with the kids. I don’t worry about her safety because she knows danger from a mile away. Animals are so instinctual I bet your pets will be fine. Another idea is to email another hp couple that has pets and see how their animals are doing (I mean a hp couple from your facility).

One thing we do that might help keep them safe is to make sure they sleep in your room. Our Brittany does that anyway because she needs the contact but that would add an extra bit of protection.

Congrats on the job! We start our first job Jan 8th so I bet we have similar stories soon!



We have a dog and a cat mixed in with six boys. I agree with everyone else here that the pets are an awesome addition and for the most part the kids are great with them, but stay vigilant on ALL shots and vaccinations. Keep the paper work in the office of the house or somewhere close you can pull them out if asked. I have never had any issues with a state inspection asking for the copies but I figure I have them if the man comes knocking. It would also come in handy if a kid ever got bitten or scratched.

When we were up north the kids were actually calmer when the dog was around. We had a boy that would always calm down when he could pet the dog. He started learning the dog would only sit with him if he was calm.

We have had a boy here throw the cat over the stair banister into the basement. The cat was fine but the other boys wanted to throw him over the banister. No issues since then. 

The only other animal issue I have heard of was a couple of kids at my old facility dumped a quart of 10w-40 they snagged out of a staff members truck, into the houses aquarium (30 gallon). The aquarium got smashed a few months later from a flying projectile. I have no idea what happened to the fish, but it probably wasn’t good.



Greeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat. My dh wanted to get a big aquarium for our house. We have two and when the fish have babies (which is often), every kid that comes over sits staring at them. We thought it would be good for the kids but that scares me a lot. Our kids are going to be basic care- I wonder if this will be an issue…



If you’re allowed to have an aquarium and want to get one for you and your kids- do it.

I have come to the realization that everything I own and hold near and dear to me will not make into eternity with me. We do have a nice apartment aside from the house, but we choose to hang all of our family pictures and knick-knacks throughout the house. I even have a key wind clock my grandfather made sitting on the mantle in the house.

Have any of my personal belongings been broken? Yep, it sure has. It has also taught me what is really important. I loved Grandpa, but if the clock gets broke, the clock gets broke. I think Gramps would be more honored that I’m doing my best to make a home for kids who need it rather than putting his craftsmanship in the attic. All the knick-knacks my wife and I have collected tell a story. Every kid in the house knows the stories, just like my own bio kids will. We take pictures of the kids and hang them along with all of our bio families, there is no separation between the two. The kids have really liked it, and to date they have not messed with or broken any heirlooms, pictures or knick-knacks. They have treated it with respect because it has become part of their story as well. But I am fully prepared for something to get demolished.

The things that have been busted up of mine have been a laptop and a cell phone. Both of those got thrown by a kid at the last facility. I also like nice pens and they disappear frequently (At least they are working on penmanship!)

My philosophy is this job is your life. It’s a mixture of the professional and the emotional. If God has truly called you, how much are you willing to lay down to follow that voice? Ask yourself if a kid destroyed everything you owned and the facility was two weeks late in paying you, would you still be a house parent? There is enough that happens in a week that would make me want to explore other professions and ministries, but I can’t. I have only been doing this work now for about three years. in that short amount of time I bet I have seen 50 people (admin and hp’s) quit who were “Called by God”.

True story- My wife and I were talking with a lady who had just started about two days before. We were at the kitchen table and she was talking about how God specifically called her to work at the facility. She about had me in tears with her testimony. She walked out of the house, got in her car, and began to pull out. A baseball from the house next door hit her windshield and cracked it (accidentally). She got out of the car, screamed at the kid and left. The next day we were informed she quit. 

Share your life with the kids, don’t hold back. It will probably cause an early death from all the stress of putting it on the line every day, but at least you can go with the knowledge your relatives won’t have to fight over what’s left of your estate after being a house parent for thirty years. 



Launchpad – we are the same way with our stuff. The entire house is decorated with many of our things, to include at least the better half of the Christmas Decorations. Our staff lounge is open to all members of the house, and we will even let the children on occasion watch the TV in our bedroom. (Our quarters are not separate from the house, but integrated with it – we leave during days off and share it with relief staff though all the furnishings are ours)

In 10 years as a houseparent I have lost a very expensive camera because a resident smashed it on the ground. I have had 3 cars keyed, all our cars dented by bats, balls, and bicycles. My children have lost several toys and collectibles to include a couple of game systems. He have had a couple of hundred dollars worth of cash stolen over the years, and I can’t count all the Cd’s & DVDs that have been lost or stolen. My cockatiel was ruined and we have had probably 20 houseplants killed by being fed various substances like tobacco juice. This is a partial list!!

I have lost some stuff as a houseparent, but on the other hand I know several normal families where birth children have destroyed tons of stuff, so I don’t think it is totally unique to just being a houseparent. I think about some of the stuff I destroyed as a kid, and can understand why I got some of the whoopins I got from my parents.

This is not directed to anyone in particular, but if God calls you to be a houseparent – He is calling all of you including your stuff. If a few things get broken or stolen consider it joy that you were able to sacrifice it in service to the Lord and think about other Christians that were called to sacrifice all they owned and even their lives.



Wow, launchpad, you got me there. Frankly, I’m not worried about OUR stuff. For one thing, we will still have our house in another town where we will leave some stuff and besides, stuff is replaceable. I was more worried about the money the agency would spend on the fishtank (its all budgeted) but really once I think about it, its nothing compared to the house they spent money on. This is all stuff I’m still processing. Reading through all of these, I remembered what my baby brother (he’s 18 now) did to my sister’s fish tank. He decided to add Desitin (baby rash ointment) to the tank. They died quickly so I doubt it was painful…

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


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


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 



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.

Campus Security

I’ve become very concerned about our campus’ security plan and have broached the subject with our executive director. He doesn’t seem too concerned about it and seems to believe he can call all of the necessary people in an emergency and all will be well.

I keep thinking of all the emotionally unstable people we come into contact with each day/week/year and wonder how long it will be until one of them decides to bring a firearm on campus and start going crazy. I am also wary of ex-spouses, etc. that may be looking for kids and female partners within our campus shelter. There is no good way of performing a “lock-down” on our 100+ acre campus.

I’m looking for ideas. What kinds of security steps have you seen in places you’ve worked? Were they effective? Expensive?

I have had those same concerns in the past. Our last facility I kept a 45 in my quarters loaded with one in the chamber. I had a internal lock on it so only I could use it. I know this statement will freak some people out here, but I truly believe VA Tech would not have had the body count it did if some of the Teachers and staff would have been packing.

Here they do not allow firearms on campus. I keep a tire “Thumper” in our quarters and I also always carry a knife that I can operate quickly. I keep the 45 in my off duty quarters fully loaded and ready to go.

I know it sounds rough, but being a good shepherd means being prepared to put a cap in a wolf that is trying to harm a lamb. I have never had a situation as a civilian where I was put in a situation to even pull out a weapon on someone else, but I am more than happy to do so if anyone came looking to mess with the kids or my family.

I do think 99% of the time you can take common sense precautions to keep the boogey man at bay.

  1. Always carry a cell. Even if you have no service in some areas if you dial 911 you can be routed thru another cell tower. Always grant permission for others to see your GPS location on your cell. So if something does happen or the call is dropped the good guys can find you.
  2. Pepper spray works awesome. MUCH more effective than CS or mace.
  3. Light up the perimeter of your house.
  4. Lock down the house before going to sleep.
  5. At the first sign of “Feeling” like something may not be right put yourself on guard. If the doorbell is ringing at 3 am, I don’t answer it unless I got my shoes on, skivvies pulled up and my tire thumper in hand. Whoever is there had better be real certain they need to be there at that moment. 
  6. Emergency numbers always at hand- programmed into the cell.
  7. I keep a big Mag light close by the door in my quarters. If power goes out or if I need to run out in the middle of the night, it’s an easy grab.
  8. Question anyone you even suspect has no business being on campus. Kids, adults- it’s all the same. If they aint local they need to be escorted by staff or under supervision of someone while on campus.
  9. Keep all underbrush and bushes trimmed around the house so you can see through them if need be.
  10. Keep all vehicles locked with windows up.
  11. Put together an emergency house plan and practice it. If the kids hear a code word they know to run to their rooms and lock the doors or keep them closed.
  12. Get a house alarm system. (I guess if your facility is to poor to afford it you could try the cans on a string across the door way trick).
  13. 11. Lift weights and watch at least one season of the Sopranos.

Any kind of campus-wide alert system you know of?

Here we have speakers mounted in all of the cottages connected to an internal phone system. The primary purpose is for tornado and weather warnings but anything else happening can be easily transmitted over the system. The director can give warnings all over campus at the same time. Similar to a school PA system.

The Choking Game – It Can be Deadly, Kids are dying looking for a thrill


The Choking Game

An old stunt with a new deadly twist

I was recently involved in the mourning process of a young man that at the time I and many others believed had committed suicide by hanging himself. When it happened it was a shock to everyone. People that had spoken with him shortly before it happened said he was in good spirits and happy when they saw him. All of us that knew him, can’t remember seeing any of the signs of somebody thinking of suicide. It was just a total unexplained mystery to all of us. I (emphasis on ME, I can’t speak for others) now believe he may have been a victim of a very dangerous game many young people are playing. One of the many names it is known by is the “choking game”.

Although I never participated (I thought it was a stupid idea), I can remember back to my school days over 25 years ago of guys choking each other until they passed out, they would then let go and everything seemed to be all right. I have talked with several others that have related similar stories. So kids depriving their brains of oxygen to get a rush is nothing new. However, it seems that today’s youth have added a deadly twist by using ropes, belts, dog leashes, etc. and playing by themselves. After doing a little research on the internet, I discovered that in addition to the two children in Idaho that may have been victims of this game, there have been other children that may also have been killed playing the game.

If you are not familiar with this game, you need to do some research and learn about it. Most of the kids that are playing are middle school/Jr High age. It seems a lot of “normal/good kids” are playing the game, according to some of the articles I read, they are looking for a “drug free” high and enjoy the rush they get when the blood begins to rush back to the brain.

I would think that the children many of us work with would be even more prone to playing this game and we need to be able to recognize some of the signs. Last Night ABC’s 20/20 had a segment on it; you can find out more on their website about the game and links to other resources.

Also talk with your children; they need to know how deadly this game can be.

Sharron Feb

The Choking game is as deadly as it sounds. There are so many children dying from this horrible game. I lost my 12 year old son Jesse to this dangerous game and started an educational web site with my Daughter. 
There are other information sites and this information needs to be given to children, parents and schools to educate them and the risky games that children are playing.

12 Year Veteran

It’s an old “game” alright. Definitely a deadly one. Kids were doing that even when my parents were in school. When we were in school your “friends” helped you. Kids went out for a few seconds to 30 mins. That was the then scary part of it. Nowadays it seems the kids are doing this in a more private arena, by themselves, and now they use devices (belts, towels, strings, etc) to tie around themselves. This ups the danger factor. Now when they pass out if they lean the wrong way, its all over.
Not a good or safe game if you ask me.