2015 Houseparent Salary Comparison

In doing the 2015 salary comparison, I went through my database of all job listings posted on The Houseparent Network in the last 12 months.  If a facility had more than one job listing during that time, I kept only the most recent.  I had 151 different facilities that have posted job listings in the past year (An increase of 23 facilities over last year).  Of those, 74 facilities posted salaries (An increase of 11 facilities), the rest posted things like competitive or negotiable, etc.  Stuff I couldn’t work with.

The good news is that Houseparent Salaries have increased over 2014 salaries based on this survey.

Before I give my numbers here is my disclaimer:
Note: Let me start by saying that this is not a scientific sampling based on all the facilities in the country, but I think it is still a close representation of the average salaries throughout the country. All salaries listed are per individual.  If you are paid as a couple multiply these averages by two to compare it to your salary.  Also many facilities listed a range of salaries, so I also express my averages as a range.  I am also making the assumption that the salary listed by the facility is the cash salary and not total package.

The mean average (pure average) salary for a houseparent is $23,171-23,877 per year, compared to $22,099-23,130 in 2014  The Median average (half the salaries are less, half are more) salary for a houseparent is $23,000-25,000 per year, compared to $21,000-23,000 in 2014.  The mean average for the top 25% of salaries is $29,901-30,068 compared to $29,131-29,898 in 2014.  The mean average for the bottom 25% of salaries is $16,724-17,303 compared to $14,903-16,637 in 2007.  The Top salary is $37,500-40,000 which is exactly the same as 2014.  The bottom salary is $12,500 per year, which is $1250 more per year than in 2014.

I now have the information posted in the members only section and it include additional information from the comparison, such as sorted by state, benefits listed in the job listing, as well as all the raw data, minus the facility name.

Book Review – The Gus Chronicles 1

 The Gus Chronicles 1
Reflections from an Abused Kid

By: Charles D. Appelstein, M.S.W. (and Gus E. Studelmeyer)

Disclaimer: This book review is my opinion of the book. If you have a different opinion of the book that is great. I know I have loved several movies and books that other reviewers have not liked and disliked movies and books that receive great reviews. I think we all have. If you would like to submit your own review, I may consider posting it. Otherwise feel free to share you reviews on the Forum. Thanks.

The Gus Chronicles 1 is an updated and revised version of The Gus Chronicles (originally published in 1994).  Doing something over will almost always result in something better, and it is certainly true in this case.  I enjoyed this book much more than I did the original.

I think Charlie (The Author) does a great job of helping a person get a perspective of how children in care, and their parents feel about those of us that work in residential care, he also does a pretty good job of highlighting some of the prejudices that we may have toward the children and birth parents that we need to be aware of and deal with.

I very much like how he changed his presentation of the need for Family Centered Services in residential care.  He does a very good job at presenting his case, and I fully agree that we need to find a way to work with the whole family.  If we don’t, we are, for the most part, wasting our time with the kids.

The Gus Chronicles 1 is a fictional story about a kid, Gus E. Studelmeyer that is living in a residential treatment center (RTC). The author uses a fictional person to address realistic situations in an RTC, and for the most part does a very good job.

The main character “Gus” is the narrator of the book and tells his story as a resident in an RTC. He also interviews and talks with other characters to get their perspective. Topics covered in the book include: Residential Treatment: A Child’s Perspective, Restraints, Foster Care, Bedtime and happenings during the night(sexual acting out, bed wetting, etc.), families perspective of residential care, activities, self-esteem, etc. The book is easy reading and presents information with little of the psychological speak. It does a good job of using terminology and phrases common to residential childcare, which will help a new person to residential care, better understand what those around him/her are saying.

This book would be excellent reading for somebody thinking about getting into residential care. It will give you a good idea of some of the situations and behaviors you will have to face, keeping in mind that the frequency and severity of the situations presented in the book would be much less for the majority of workers in residential foster care and community group home facilities. This book would be good reading for those already in child care, and might give you some ideas on how to better handle situations you deal with in your facility.

WARNING: This book contains profanity!!. Because the author is trying to paint a realistic picture of life in an RTC for the youth, he uses some of the same language the youth in RTC’s actually use. Although one of our goals is to help youth express themselves properly, with some it is a long hard road; you are going to hear some bad words working with troubled youth. This book will give you a chance to test your feelings about that.

I still somewhat struggle with using Gus and his 163 IQ to present the technical aspects, and would have preferred a second character, like a super computer, being a huge fan of the movie and book, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, to present those aspects of the book. On the other hand it is strictly a personal preference and not enough of a distraction to prevent a you from getting very valuable information to help you be better providers.

I highly recommend the book and encourage all residential care workers and those thinking about becoming residential care workers to read it.

Click here to read my original review of “The Gus Chronicles”

The Gus Chronicles II is a sequel to the original Gus Chronicles. It was published in 2002 and was my favorite of the Gus Chronicle books. Now it is neck and neck with The Gus Chronicles 1. Click here to read the review The Gus Chronicles II.

You can buy the book from Amazon.com The Gus Chronicles I: Reflections from an Abused Kid
Click here to see other books in my bookstore

Click Here to see OTHER BOOK REVIEWS:

2014 Houseparent Salary Comparison

I am in the process of redoing the website and when I was working on the Members Only Section yesterday, I realized that the last time I did a salary comparison was 2007.  I decided to stop working on the redesign and do a current salary comparison to see how it compares to that one.  I can’t remember the exact criteria I used in 2007 to conduct the comparison, so I don’t know if the comparison to 2014 will be exact, however it should be “Close Enough”.  In 2007 I didn’t have as many job listings to work with and I didn’t have the tools I use now for keeping track of things.  The 2007 comparison covered almost 2 years, where this one only covers 1, that should make this one more accurate.

In doing the 2014 salary comparison, I went through my database of all job listings posted on The Houseparent Network in just the last 12 months.  If a facility had more than one job listing during that time, I kept only the most recent.  I had 128 different facilities that have posted job listings in the past year.  Of those, 63 facilities posted salaries, the rest posted things like competitive or negotiable, etc.  Stuff I couldn’t work with.

The good news is that Houseparent Salaries have definitely gone up in the last 7 years, especially in the lower and middle ranges.

Before I give my numbers here is my disclaimer:
Note: Let me start by saying that this is not a scientific sampling based on all the facilities in the country, but I think it is still a close representation of the average salaries throughout the country. All salaries listed are per individual.  If you are paid as a couple multiply these averages by two to compare it to your salary.  Also many facilities listed a range of salaries, so I also express my averages as a range.  I am also making the assumption that the salary listed by the facility is the cash salary and not total package.

The mean average (pure average) salary for a houseparent is $22,099-23,130 per year, compared to $19,419-20,653 in 2007  The Median average (half the salaries are less, half are more) salary for a houseparent is $21,000-23,000 per year, compared to $18,500-20,000 in 2007.  The mean average for the top 25% of salaries is $29,131-29,898 compared to $26,988-29,412 in 2007.  The mean average for the bottom 25% of salaries is $14,903-16,637 compared to $12,315-12,893 in 2007.  The Top salary is $37,500-40,000 which is exactly the same as 2007.  The bottom salary is $11,250 per year, which is almost double what the bottom salary was in 2007, however the facility that had the bottom salary in 2007 no longer posts a salary on their job listing.

I am hoping to do these comparisons every year from now on, since I am working the website full time now.  I am even looking into sending out a survey to facilities that would include more than just salaries.  I would also like to have a tangible comparison of benefits.

I now have the information posted in the members only section and it includes additional information from the comparison, such as sorted by state, benefits listed in the job listing, as well as all the raw data, minus the facility name.

If you would like to see the posting for the 2007 salary comparison.  Click Here

Synthetic Drugs (Plant Food and Incense)

As our society becomes more and more technologically advanced, so does the war on drugs. It seems like we have synthetic versions of everything these days including drugs, so I definitely think it is something we should be knowledgeable about.  I highly recommend you spend an evening surfing the Internet and see what is out there, you will be amazed at what you discover, for instance.

“Molly’s Plant Food”  really isn’t plant food, and even it it could be used as a plant food, not many people would pay $20-$50 to fertilize one plant.  It really is a chemical that causes a high similar to ECSTASY.  Not only is it available online, but it can also be found in smoke shops, gas stations, and convenience stores.  I have also heard of this being marketed as bath salts.

There is also synthetic or herbal marijuana type products that are usually marketed as incense.  They go by names such as: Spice, K2, K3, K4, K(whatever), Mystic Monkey, Krypt2nite, etc.  A lot of these have been sprayed with a chemical (JWH-018, JWH-073, JWH-250, JWH-200)  that produces a cannabis type high.  Many states and communities have made these chemicals illegal and there is rumor that the federal government is planning to take action, but as of today they are legal in many places.

Being knowledgeable about the drug culture and what people are using to alter their states of mind will help you be a better houseparent.  At our first facility (14 years ago) we had a young lady that always walked around with an infants pacifier tied to a string around her neck.  Everybody thought she was just immature and used the pacifier to comfort her.  My wife and I spent a lot of time watching programs on drug use and crime, and while watching one of those programs, learned that people that used Ecstasy sucked on pacifiers to prevent them from grinding their teeth when they were high.  Apparently that is a side effect of the drug.  Needless to say, once we mentioned that to our administrator, the pacifier quickly became contraband.

Suggested search terms for doing your research:  Molly’s Plant Food, Spice, Legal High, Herbal Marijuana.  I could provide links to sites with more information, but I don’t want to promote most of them.

The New Houseparent Network Forum

After over a year and a half without a forum I am pleased to announce that it is back.  The life of being a houseparent is ever changing, so it only makes sense that so does the conversation and information.  After you have finished checking out the blog I invite you to come over to the current forum to see what is there.  You may even want to sign up and join the conversation.

www.houseparent.net/forum

Case Management/Information Management Software

This article is more for administrators than houseparents, unless you know your facility is looking for case/information management software in which case pass this on to your administration.

Measuring outcomes, keeping records and managing the piles of information that has to be reported to social workers, licensing agencies and even board members is becoming more and more important in modern residential care.  Many agencies are discovering the flat paper file is not the best way to manage information and are turning to computer based systems.

I have been helping my agency look at different systems and have looked at some very good ones.  However, the problem with most of them was that they are so far out of our agencies budget we will never be able to implement any of them.  I am pretty sure there are other agencies out there like ours that can’t afford many of those systems.  The good thing for us and for them is that there may be an alternative. 

Back in 2005 I posted about an Open Source Case Management System called Freemed-YiRC, yesterday the developer of that package released a new updated version.

Freemed-YiRC is a software project which provides a fully-integrated, web-based, secure, modular, and customizable web-based product capable of providing Child Caring/Residential Care/Foster Care agencies with a fully functional internal case management/information management system.

Freemed-YiRC is FREE/OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE.

  • The software/source code is freely available for download from the FMYiRC site.
  • Freemed-YiRC is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL)
    • In short, the GPL states that you are allowed to freely download, use, copy, and modify this software.

I am still fairly early in my research of this system and there is a lot I still don’t know so there isn’t a lot of information I can give.  However, there is a great deal of documentation as well as a live demo available on their website.  For those facilities that don’t have the technical expertise to implement it themselves or need modifications done the publisher is available for consultation and programing.  He can be contacted through the website.

Make Your Home More Peaceful!!!!

ComputerTime™ is parental-control software for Microsoft Windows that lets parents set limits on the amount of time and the time of day when their children can use the computer. SoftwareTime believes that the computer is an amazing tool for children, both for educational and social purposes. However, children need to have reasonable limits set for them, and that’s what ComputerTime allows you to do, quickly and easily. Parents no longer have to keep track of the time their children spend on the computer, ComputerTime does that for them. It takes just a few minutes to set limits for each child. ComputerTime gives back to parents the control they need over computer use.

I have used ComputerTime in my cottage as well as personally in my home for over 5 years.  It has been the best program I have found to control the amount of time our children spend on the computer.  Most other parental controls control the times your children can be on the computer, this program does that but also controls the AMOUNT of time your children can spend on the computer. 

Features Include:

  • Limit the amount of time in a day, week, or month (or combinations of these limits)
  • Set specific times during the day when the computer may be used
  • Allow only a certain amount of time on the computer at one sitting
  • Disable the use of the computer entirely
  • Alternate Limits – Set different limits for things like vacation week, or as a punishment
  • Time Tokens – Provide additional time, without changing settings, as incentive or reward. The token can be provided from anywhere, even over the phone
  • Can be use by any number of children in the household on the computer
  • Automatic updates over the Web
  • Password protected
  • Different time limits for weekdays and weekends, or even individual days

We have started using version 3 at our facility and the fact that it works on networked computers is a great feature.  Set one time limit and it doesn’t matter what computer your children log into, their time is deducted from that one limit.  No need for separate time limits on separate computers. 

For families, you can purchase a single license for $39.95, or get a family pack to cover all the computers in your home (up to 5) for $49.95.  For those that would be purchasing it for their facility, I recommend contacting the publisher at info@softwaretime.com for site pricing, otherwise the cost is $39.95 per license.

Get more information about ComputerTime by visiting their website @ www.softwaretime.com.

Remote but Possible!!

I spend a lot of time working with computers, especially now, since I left houseparenting to become a computer professional.  As a part of that I spend a great deal of time trying to prevent and remove virus’s from the many computers I am responsible for, so I am very interested in stuff dealing with that subject.  A few weeks ago this article caught my eye on yahoo.

AP IMPACT: Framed for child porn — by a PC virus

Apparently there are viruses out there that can store child pornography on your computer.  A way for perverts to have access to their stuff without having it on their own computer.  Imagine how big of a problem that could be for those of us that are dependent on our clean name to stay employed working with children.

Here are some thoughts:

  • If your computer is not properly protected with good anti-virus software it can be infected by simply visiting a website that spreads viruses.
  • According to the article, people that were infected with the kiddy porn viruses weren’t just visiting porn websites.  They were also visiting websites in an attempt to get free games or music.  Here is a reality!!!!!  You can either pay for your music and games upfront or you can pay the equivalent in computer repairs and equipment, but you will pay for them one way or another.
  • Also understand that many of those free games contain Trojans that will infect your computer, even if you have virus software. Trojans are dependent on an action by you to install.  Either clicking on a button, i.e. those bogus virus alerts that ask you to “Click Here” to scan computer and remove said viruses or installing them with other software.  Only use free software from trusted sources.

I realize that the odds of being infected with a virus and then being charged with possessing child pornography is very remote, but if you are the ones having to deal with it, the odds won’t really matter.  Protect your computer with good anti-virus software and avoid dangerous websites.  Pay for your music and games up front, there are very few things in life that are free.

Great Deal on a Great Book!

Respecting Residential Work with Children I got an Email the other day from James R. Harris, Jr., Ph.D. He is the author of Respecting Residential Work with Children, One of my favorite books and one I think every houseparent should read. You can read my review of it, by clicking here.

Anyway he is in the process of updating the book and is getting ready to release the new edition this fall, but right now you can get his original edition for a steal, $12 postage paid by ordering directly from him. I paid $32 plus shipping for my copy from Amazon.com three years ago.

If you are a houseparent looking for a great resource this is it. If you are an administrator looking for a training resource for your houseparents, this is a great resource at a great price.

To get one or more copies of Respecting Residential Work with Children send your payment to:
James R. Harris, Jr., Ph.D.
RICORP
55 South Brow Street
East Providence, RI 02914
(401) 431-0555
(401) 431-0566 Fax
www.ricorp.net

CWLA (Child Welfare League of America) Internet Radio Broadcast

For those that are not familiar with CWLA they are probably the largest organization in America that deals with child welfare issues, including foster care, residential care, juvenile justice, etc.  They have recently started an online radio talk-show that airs on Wednesdays from 2:00-2:30 Eastern Time.

 I listened to last week’s show and it seemed that most of their discussion was focused on social workers, but referenced child welfare workers in general.  Tomorrow’s topic is “Child Welfare Workers: Overworked and Underpaid”  I am not sure if they have a very large listener-ship, but it may be a forum to gather information or even let your voice be heard.

Here is the information for the broadcast: The call-in number is 347/326-9411. Visit www.blogtalkradio.com/CWLA-Radio

 They also publish a quarterly newsletter that deals directly with residential care (Therapeutic Residential Care) you can subscribe to it at: http://www.cwla.org/programs/groupcare/rgcq.htm  However, I just checked their website and it appears that they haven’t published one since last summer (2007).