Most people saw over the weekend the drama that played out in New Mexico with a Boys Ranch and the New Mexico Family Services Department. Abuse charges were being investigated at the ranch, and then things got a little crazy, with boys disappearing, and amber alert issued, and boys being found with their parents, etc.
I like everyone else, other than those involved, really have no idea what really happened. What I do know is that so far this is turning out to be a black eye for residential care facilities. I read several of the articles associated with this story and more importantly I read the user comments with each of the articles. The perceptions of many are that all residential facilities are bad places and needed to go away. Others thought that only unlicensed facilities are bad and that states that don’t license all their facilities are bad. Surprisingly there were also commenters that felt all the children in these facilities are bad and should just be locked up in prison, because it isn’t worth the trouble to try and help them, many of which were former staff members of a residential facility. There were a few comments that tried to defend what we try to do as residential care workers but they were often times attacked for doing so.
I suspect that as a result of this there will be a further push for more regulation and supervision by state agencies. That there could be more lawsuits against states that are more lenient with their licensing regulations. What I hope is that this situation will lead to better care for the children that are placed in residential care facilities.
I have always believed that self regulation is better than outside regulation so I hope that those of us within the Residential Care community will do our part to provide the very best care we can, which I believe that the vast majority are trying to do.