Question #3 6/30/2006 Services for Older Youth

I have a 19yr old daughter that has no high school diploma, got kicked out of job corps. We live in Connecticut how could I help her?  Sincerely –  Help me

This is one area within the system that is very lacking – services for youth that would be “aged out” of any system yet still in need of services.  Unless she has a drug/alcohol problem or is a mother, there probably are not many programs for her.  You may want to contact your local government agency that governs social programs (Department of Family Services, Department of Human Services, Child Protective Service or whatever it is called in your state) they may know what services are available in your local area. 

I would also contact the local Junior College or public school.  They may know of local education or job training programs that are available.  Finally you may want to contact local charities like “Boys & Girls clubs, United Way, etc.” or your local Church.

If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments.  If you know of a program for youth over 18 please let us know. 

If you would like to ask your own question CLICK HERE to go the submission form.

Finally on Relief Again!!!

I realize there may be super houseparents out there that never need days off, but I do.  Today was our first day off in over two months and it could not have come soon enough. 

I realized just how tired I was when instead of doing my usual first day off routine of running all over town hanging out in my favorite stores by myself or starting right away working on my house, I sat down in my chair and fell asleep. I didn’t sleep for long, only about an hour, but that is something I seldom do.  I was then able to go and mow my lawn that was almost two feet tall from not being mowed in almost two months.  I am sure glad my house is in the country and there are no neighborhood commitees to bother me about my lawn length.

Being a houseparent sometimes means being very busy and having the kids out of school even more so.  It can also mean some very long shifts depending on staffing and other circumstances.  I am sure this relief will be extra special since it was so long since the last one.

Question #2 6/20/2006 YOUTH FRIENDLY SERVICES

What are the “YOUTH FRIENDLY SERVICES”?  Thanks Dina

The best I can tell “Youth Friendly Services” is a term associated with youth sexual health services and making it comfortable for youth to seek out the available services related to Birth Control, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Sexuality, etc.

It is not related to residential childcare or houseparenting that I am aware of.  I would suggest you contact a health care professional for their opinion.

I now open it up to the users of The Houseparent Network.  Am I right or have I missed something? 

If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments.
If you would like to ask your own question CLICK HERE to go the submission form.

The Choking Game Resource

I have been a houseparent for 10 years and in that time I have had to experience two boys hang themselves at the facility (not in our house) we worked at.  At the time of each of their deaths we the staff thought they were suicides.  I have since come to believe through research that they were probably playing “The Choking Game” by themselves like so many children are doing today.

I think as houseparents this is one of the important topics we should be educated about.  Many of the children that we care for are very susceptible to play “The Choking Game” as well as many other risky behaviors.  We need to be prepared to deal with these behaviors.

Yesterday I received an E-mail about a non-profit organization (Stop the Choking Game Association) that is working to educate children and adults of the dangers of this behavior.  Their website has many resources about “The Choking Game” also known as the Passout game, Space Monkey and Black out, including down-loadable brochures and “Powerpoint” presentations, statistics, stories about victims, recommended books and links to other resources.

I think every person that works with children as well as every parent should learn about the dangers of this behavior.  Maybe we can prevent the death of a child we love.

Their website is: www.DeadlyGamesChildrenPlay.com

Why or Why NOT be a Houseparent

It has been a while since I have blogged and for that I apologize.  However, now that I don’t have to spend hours dealing with hackers and spammers on the forum anymore I should have more time to blog.  However that is not the point of this entry, why you would become a houseparent is.

If you are thinking of becoming a houseparent there really is only one reason to do it – Because you want to help children.  If you do it for any other reason you are doing the children a disservice.  The children and young adults that are in residential care have issues.  They may have been abused (physically, sexually or emotional).  They may have been neglected and had to struggle just to survive.  They may have emotional issues, or substance abuse issues, etc. 

Because they have issues, they need caring adults that will care for them and THEIR needs. Adults that can help them work through their issues and become responsible adults.

The list of reasons to NOT be a houseparent is a lot longer.

  1. Do NOT be a houseparent if you are looking to fulfill a need to have a family.  Though we care for the children in a family environment, and at some facilities they may even call you Mom or Dad, you are not a family.  The vast majority of the children in care have families and when forced to choose will always choose their birth families and you will just be the houseparents.
  2. Do NOT be a houseparent if you are looking to fulfill a need to be loved. There will be children that will love you, but most will be ambivalent  and some may even downright dislike you.
  3. Do NOT be a houseparent if you are looking to fulfill  a need to nurture.  Children in care need to be nurtured, but if you do it to fill your need to nurture you will often times sabotage their independence so that you can continue to meet your need.
  4. Do NOT be a houseparent if you are looking to fulfill a need to control.  Children in care need rules and boundaries.  They need to be taught self control.  They don’t need somebody that has an unfulfilled need to dominate.  Many of the emotional issues they have to deal with are the result of dominate/controlling caregivers that have abused them physically or emotionally.  The children don’t need the people charged with protecting them from that doing the very same thing.
  5. Do NOT be a houseparent if you are just looking for a job.  There are much easier ways to make a living that don’t involve devoting your life 24/7, day after day to children that most often would prefer to be anywhere else but with you, birth families that may try to sabotage everything you are doing, co-workers that might fall into many of these 5 categories, court and social systems that can often times be anything but fair or working in the best interest of the child.

I am sure there are many others that could be added to this list, and I now open it up to your comments.  All comments will be queued in moderation and must be approved by the administrator.

Question #1 6/14/2006 Pre-service Training

Since I don’t want to start this section with a blank page I have decided to use a question asked of me a few months ago through E-mail.

I have been put on a committee to help put together a pre service training curriculum for our facility and on going training and would love to get some help from you in this area, Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. My first thought was to come up with about 10 topics first and then fill in information and why each is important to house parenting. I was thinking about professionalism, consistency, relationship building, tolerance levels, cultural awareness, preventative teaching and how your relationship can affect that and make it better, being a good listener, just things that make up a positive house parent experience for the staff and the young people in our care.  Thanks D. B.

The following are some of the topics I think are important to include in pre-service training of houseparents:

  1. Facility Mission and Philosophy
    1. Their views on house management
    2. Philosophy on discipline.
    3. Philosophy on childcare, etc.  (This way all staff is working from the same sheet of music.)
  2. Facility Policies and Procedures.  (I have always been amazed at the number of facilities that put staff to work with out letting them know what the policies are.)
  3. Behavioral Management Training. (Even if a facility does not use restraints, the de-escalation training that goes with the training is invaluable.)
  4. Child Development of Normal vs. Troubled Children.  (Children that are abused and neglected do not develop in the same way.  Charles Appestein discusses this in his book No such thing as a bad kid.  It is also being discussed in another book I am currently reading Raising other people kids)
  5. Dealing with specific behaviors: Bed Wetting, public masturbation, sexual acting out, fighting, stealing, etc.
  6. Those other topics you listed are good and should be incorporated.

I now open it up to the users of The Houseparent Network.  What do you think would be good topics for Pre-service training? 

If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments.
If you would like to ask your own question CLICK HERE to go the submission form.