This blog entry is directed primarily at all the administrators out there working in residential childcare. I am certain there are several methods and techniques for creating successful and competent houseparents. However, there is one that I can say will result in failure in almost every circumstance.
I have worked at three different facilities and visited several others and can honestly tell you that failing to properly train and guide a new houseparent or any residential childcare worker will almost always result in them failingÂ in a very short time. I have seen and spoke with people that have become so frustrated trying to do something that even with a great deal of training and experience is difficult – give up and quit because they didn’t know what else to do. I have seen houseparents that appear to be miserable all the time because the didn’t have the skills needed to deal with the behaviors that many of the children they cared for had.
People that didn’t understand the differences in development between their own birth children and that of a child from an abusive or neglectful situation. Didn’t understand how a child will use acting out to express needs. How to build relationships with children that are detached or fearful of adults. There are just so many things a person needs to know to be a good houseparent and many do not.
Please, please, please train and properly supervise your staff. Not everyone is like me. You can read about my start in houseparenting by clicking here. If I were a logical person I probably would have quit after that first week. Thankfully I am not always logical and decided to stick it out and learn what I needed to be successful as a houseparent, however, most people won’t.
If you are in a staffing crisis and thinking about putting somebody to work without training, ask yourself this question. Is my staffing crisis going to be any better if these staff members quit in two months out of frustration. If you feel you can’t justify the expense of properly training somebody ask yourself: Is it really cost effective to continually have to be recruiting new people because we didn’t properly train the previous people and they quit out of frustration?
I personally believe that improved initial training and continued training after hire will go a long ways in improving staff retention as well as providing better services to the children and families we are entrusted to help.