Brand New Book for Residential Staff!!!

I am glad to announce that there is a brand new book available for houseparents and all residential care staff.  It isEVOLVING Residential Work with Children and Families called “EVOLVING Residential Work with Children and Families” by James R. Harris, Jr., Ph.D.  It is basically a complete re-write of his original book “Respecting Residential Work with Children.”

Although it is considered a second edition, there is more than enough change to consider it a new and different book.  There have been several new chapters added to include: The Impact of No Physical Contact Policies, Managed Care, Mergers, Networks, and Accreditation, and Suggestions for Future Practice. The Workforce Crisis chapter was eliminated but its more important passages are included in this manuscript in various sections.  The Educational Needs of Youth in Care chapter was removed but will be available on the authors website for those who are interested.

Another great difference with this book is the price.  The original book had a list price of $35, though I paid $33 for my copy at Amazon.  The price on this book is substantially less.  It can be purchased from the publisher for $24 (http://nearipress.org/ ) and I am working on becoming a retailer so I can hopefully sell it for even less.

I have started reading my copy and look forward to doing a complete review when I am finished.  But in the meantime I wanted to let everyone know that it was available, I am more than confident that it will be worth your expense and time to read it.  If it is anything like the original it is one of those books that every new houseparent, administrator, support worker, etc. should read before they ever have their first day on the job.

The Webmaster’s E-mail Issues!

SPAM is a horrible nasty thing and has caused many people much grief since the beginning of e-mail.  It was even a problem before that, it was just called junk mail. 

Anyway, there are many things that have been done over the years to try and reduce SPAM.  ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) started blocking the ports that spammers used for sending spam.  Of course they just started using other ports.  There have been countless spam filters that you can install on your computer to try and reduce it.  You can block addresses and create filters and do all sorts of other things with the settings on your e-mail program  to block it.

The big thing now is for the ISP’s and Web hosts to block it before it ever gets to your inbox.  They use all kinds of different devices and programs to accomplish this, and in my case it has reduced the amount of SPAM I receive by about 90%.  The only problem, is that it also has blocked some of the e-mails that I want to receive.  I have been notified by three different facilities that their e-mails to me have been rejected by my server.  I have tried many different settings on my e-mail control panel, and it doesn’t seem to make any difference, those same people keep getting blocked.  I have no explanation for it so I am just going to have to do something different.

If you are trying to send me an e-mail and it gets rejected by my E-mail server, there are two things you can do.  You can either use the online feedback form here on the website to send me an e-mail or you can use HouseparentNetwork@gmail.com to contact me.  If all else fails, please call me at 662.574.1818.

I am sorry for any inconvenience, but the real blame goes to the spammers.  If they weren’t such a problem, others wouldn’t have to take such measures to try and deter them.

Free Book – How to Survive the Economic Meltdown

Since I have many Christian readers, I thought I would share a free resource that is directed specifically at them, though I believe the principles in the book can benefit everybody.  For those that aren’t interested in Christian resources you need to know that the book is written from a Christian perspective and references many Christian doctrines and Bible texts, so it’s probably not for you.

The book is called “How to Survive the Economic Meltdown: Practical and Spiritual Strategies for You and Your Friends” and is written by Patrick Morley, PhD.  He is also the author of “The Man in the Mirror.” 

I haven’t finished reading the book, but what I have read so far I have found to be informative and beneficial.  I am going to load the book onto my phone so I can read it in the van during my school runs this week.  It is in pdf format so you can read it on your computer or print it out and read the hard copy, or if you have a smartphone you can load it on there.  If you are planning to print it, I will warn you now that it is 106 pages long so you will need lots of paper.

For more information on downloading the book for free  in pdf format go to http://survivethemeltdown.org/  You can also purchase printed copies of the book and check out many other resources.

I Am The Greatest….

Allow me to introduce you to the most frustrating kid alive on the planet. Reginald (Name changed because he would enjoy reading about himself) is the most conceited and narcissistic 16 year old I have ever ran across. According to him he is always right, without fault, handsome, smart, great dancer and even better lover. In reality he never knows when to keep quite, cusses like a sailor, looks like a cartoon character, has the agility and grace of a bull in a china shop and is loathed by women young and old.

Reginald always has his hustle on and he is good. I have watched him talk a school administrator, a cop and a social worker into buying him clothes and bailing him out of every situation he has put himself in. Unfortunately, when Reginald doesn’t get what he wants he blows apart, which is how he came to our door step.

Reginald informed us upon our initial meeting with him that we would be informing us of his schedule when he needed a ride. He also was kind enough to let us know when he would eating and what the meal would be. He finished the conversation by saying he would just be doing his thing and everything would be nice and calm if we would be so kind as to accommodate his schedule. I just smiled and patted the young lad on the back and told him the next few weeks will be a bit of an adjustment for him….

Needless to say, old Reggie has had a heck of time adjusting to the fact that the world does not revolve around his self conceited little butt. For the first time in his life he is being forced to think of others and trying to blend into a peer group. At this point Reginald is doing better, but he still struggles with resisting the urge to hustle his peers and run scams on un-suspecting adults.

I have noticed that kids that come from a neglected backgrounds fall into two categories. The first is shy, withdrawn and soft spoken. They want attention but they believe they are not worthy of any one’s attention. Often when they are praised they become embarrassed, angry or ashamed. They want the attention, they just don’t know how to accept it.

The second group is boisterous, loud and often can be heard telling others how great they are. In extreme cases, like Reginald, they are the center of the universe. A complete lack of self esteem has lead them to the belief that they can only rely on themselves, no one will love them but them. It’s all about me, myself and I. Unfortunately, working with the second group can drive you mad.

Reginald has a long way to go. Humility is not exactly honored in our modern society and I think telling him he is a flipping jerk is probably against one or two of our facilities policies. So what to do?

Patience, love and grace are the only tools that will break past all the crap that he has thrown up around himself to feel safe. Understanding that he is coming from a place where being valued as a person was not an option available to him and letting him know that no matter how bad his attitude gets, we are still going to be there in the morning doing exactly what we did yesterday, being Houseparents.

We don’t pick the kids that are brought to us and the only rule is to give all we have to each one that we come across while hoping and praying it has made a difference. If your living the life of  residential child care it’s a ministry lifestyle, not a job and definitely not glamorous.

So in just a few hours I will be listening to Reginald explain why he is God’s gift to all the females in the Washington, DC metro area and how lucky we are that he chose to come live in our humble abode. I’ll then ask him to grab the cleaning supplies and scrub the toilets clean enough to admire his complexion in the porcelain…

Some Crazy Weather!!

Crazy Eather

Here is the pasture behind our cottage after one crazy weekend. It started with over 5 inches of rain Friday and Saturday (there is NOT supposed to be a lake there), then 3 inches of snow Saturday night and Sunday morning. This has been the coldest and strangest winter in the 10 years I have lived down here.

I have been a houseparent in Mississippi for 10 years now and have lived through straight line winds, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods but this weekend has had some of the strangest weather I have ever seen.

Thursday afternoon it was 72 degrees outside and the kids were having a blast enjoying the spring weather.  The trees are blooming and budding and it seemed like spring was here. 

Friday started with the rain.  Thunderstorm after thunderstorm after thunderstorm.  Our pasture out back is now a lake and when I was picking the kids up from school Friday afternoon, we already had some of the low lying houses beginning to be flooded and streets being closed because of flooding.

The Rare Mississippi Snowman

The kids had a blast for the short time the snow was here

When we went to Basketball on Saturday morning through the drizzling rain the creeks were overflowing and there were a bunch of streets closed and houses with water flowing over the thresholds into the house.  Saturday afternoon the drizzle turned to mist and the wind shifted to the North.  By 6:00 PM the temp was down around 40 degrees.

Woke up Sunday morning to about 3 inches of snow, 23 degree temperatures and a 20 MPH wind straight out of the north.  The kids had a great time playing in the snow.  It is something they don’t get to do very often.  This was the first substantial snow we have had since 2001.  Of course it didn’t last long it is now 11:00 AM and it looks like spring again, though it’s only 36 degrees outside.

Maybe it was God’s way of preparing me for next weekend.  We have to go back to Montana for my mother-in-laws surgery and it is supposed to be a balmy 29 degrees all week.

8:00 AM

At 8:00 am it looked like a blizzard (by Mississippi Standards!)

10:00 am

By 10:00 am it looked like spring again!