A New Day Delayed!

Today was supposed to be the first official work day at my new full time job as webmaster of The Houseparent Network.  However, things don’t always work as you plan them.  Even after three months notice, my old employer has yet to find somebody to replace me so I gave them two more weeks.  I guess I will just have to wait a bit for my new day.

Even though I am a little nervous about losing the security of a full time paycheck, I am very excited about the opportunity to help others, and to grow this site into something great.  At least I hope.

As I wait until I have time to devote many hours to the site, be thinking about things you might want to see change or be added to the site.  What information are you looking for.  Do you come here strictly for the job listings or is there other areas you visit, and if so, how do you think I could make them better.  Feel free to post your ideas and suggestions in the comments, on the Forum or on The Houseparent Network facebook page

Some things I am looking forward to is having the time to read books again and sharing about those here.  Scouring the internet for articles useful to houseparents, republishing when I can and linking to them when I can’t.  Finding more facilities for my directory and making sure the ones already listed still exist.  Sharing some of the funny stories from my houseparenting days and even some from my IT days watching other houseparents.

That’s just for starters.

James Harris Books Available

Being stuck at home recovering from my second total hip replacement I have finally got time to work making available the books I purchased from Author James R. Harris last year.  These are some of the best books written relating to residential childcare work and I believe are must reads for all residential childcare workers.  Jim used to offer Houseparent Network users a great deal to buy these books directly from him, but he has been so busy lately that he hasn’t been able to do it.  I was able to track him down last fall and was able to purchase several copies from the publisher through him which will allow me to sell them for less that it would cost to buy directly from the publisher.  I have decided to sell them through amazon.com to avoid the hassles I would have to go through in my state to become a book relailer.  This means that I will not make any profit, and when you consider my time to package and ship them will probably lose money.  The books that I have available are:

Evolving Residential Work with Children and Familie: Click Here for more information My selling price is $21 plus 3.99 shipping which is $12 less than the Amazon.com price and $3 less than the publisher’s price.  You can read my review of this book by clicking here.

Promoting Healthy Childhood Development Today: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers , Click Here for more information My selling price for this book is $14 plus 3.99 shipping which is more than $40 less than anybody else on Amazon and $3 less than the publisher price.  You can read my review of this book by clicking here.

Respecting Residential Work with Children [Hardcover]:  This book is no longer in print and is only available in the secondary market. I have three new copies that I am selling at a price much lower than anybody else for a new copy of the book, $40 plus $3.99 shipping and handling.  However, if you are just looking for a copy to read and don’t want a new one, I highly recommend that you purchase one of the used copies that are available through Amazon.com.  Click Here for more information  To read my review of this book, click here.

Houseparent TV Show

I got a call yesterday from a TV producer. He was looking for ideas and resources for a possible TV series. That got me to thinking that I should ask all the houseparents out there what their ideas are. If you were going to start a TV show about houseparents, being a houseparent, or anything related to houseparents, what would you call your show and what would it be about.

I am looking for serious ideas, but I also enjoy humor, so feel free to post your funny idea for a show also.  You never know it just might become a reality.

I started a thread over on the forum (Click Here to go there), post your ideas and comments there.

Hip Replacement Surgery

Beginning tomorrow the website will be running on autopilot for at least a week.  I will be going into the hospital at 5:30 AM for total hip replacement surgery in my left leg.  I have never been a big fan of being normal and when it comes to joint damage I have continued that trend.  I am told that it is not normal for a 47 year old to have Osteo Arthritis so bad to need a replacement.

I gained 50 pounds my first two years as a houseparent and I wonder how much packing around that extra weight for all those years had to do with the rapid decline of my joints. (I will probably need surgery in my right hip within the next 5 years).  Having done this for all these years I have seen over and over people that become houseparents and pack on the pounds in very short order.  We really need to find ways to eat and live healthier.  It is my vow that starting today, I am going to eat healthier and when I am able to walk again without pain I am going to put on some serious miles and see how quickly if can wear out walking shoes.

I hope others will join me and if you have ideas for exercise and eating healthy please start a discussion on the forum.  I will let you all know how I do.

You Are Not in Control

I am probably going to offend somebody with this post but it is something that really needs to be said.  Whether you are a houseparent in a huge organization or a one home community group home you are not the boss of your cottage, home, cabin or whatever you call it.  I have been doing the houseparenting thing for more than 15 years now and I have heard more than a few times the following statement, “If administration (or whoever) would leave us alone and let us run things the way we want, out kids would be better off.”

I can honestly tell you that in everyone one of those cases the houseparents that said it were either strongly encouraged to resign at some point or were fired.  In many cases, they will resign before they are fired and bounce from facility to facility trying to find the control they will never have.

Houseparents need to understand that they are a member of a team, a link in a chain, or whatever metaphor you want to use, that have to work with many other people to provide the best possible care for the children they are responsible for.  For starters, there is always going to be an administrator or social worker that is going to have a huge say in how your home is run.  You are going to have relief staff that you have to learn to work with.  You are also probably going to have birth parents that you for sure are going to have to learn to work with, and who may even have a say in the way you care for their child.  There may also be judges, attorneys, probation officers, school administrators, etc that you may have to work with.

Here is the meat.  If you are one of those people that think you need to have ultimate authority, your best bet is to find another line of work.  You probably aren’t going to find a facility that will give you the authority you are looking for and if you do it will probably be such a crappy one that you won’t want to stay there for very long anyway.

Houseparent Theme Song

I again apologize for being so bad at posting and again I promise to do better.  This here is something I have been meaning to post for a while.  It is my pick for the official houseparent theme song, because I truly believe you are an average everyday SUPER HERO!

Research Project

For my first post in a very long time I would like to share a link to a research project that was sent to me by a grad student.  I hope you will participate.

Dear Colleague:

I am asking for your participation in a research
study on Secondary Traumatic Stress symptoms and coping styles in child and
adolescent residential treatment centers.  The study involves completing four
questionnaires.  This will
take no longer than 25 – 30 minutes of your time.

To participate, please go to the following
website:  http://RTCstress.net.  You will need to enter the password
(rtcstaff) in order to complete the assessments.  Each of the questionnaires is
copyrighted and may not be copied or printed without permission from the author
or publisher. Thank you for your participation.


A.  Stapleton, M.C.C., N.C.C., L.P.C.

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.

Been Around 10 Years!!!!!

It was 10 years ago today that I launched The Houseparent Network.

I am so thankful to be able to celebrate this, especially when you consider all the websites that have come and gone over the last ten years, and the fact that I had NO idea what I was doing when I started it.  At the time I was a fairly new houseparent that new Nothing about websites but realized there was a need for houseparents to have a place to find resources or be able to network with other houseparents.  We are such a unique group that I thought there should be a place for others that share the struggles, concerns and rewards of being a houseparent/residential childcare worker to be able share those experiences.   

I started work on The Houseparent Network the previous September when I bought the domain name houseparent.net and some cheap website editing software at Walmart.  At the time it seem fashionable to name your website “whatever dot com” and my plan was to just have “Houseparent.com” but somebody had already registered that domain.  I was extremely disappointed and pondered things for a few days, then I realized what a blessing that was.  My vision was a place where houseparents and other residential childcare staff could share resources and network, so I registered the domain houseparent.net and decided there was NO better name than “The Houseparent Network” which fit perfectly with .net domain. 

The look sure has changed.  Here is what it looked like back then:

 Looking at that first page, I realize I didn’t fulfill every vision I had for the network and probably never will, but I am still thankful for all the good that I have been able to do through my site.  I hope that in this next decade, the network will continue to grow into a bigger and better resource for houseparents as well as the facilities we work at.

I would like to thank everyone that has helped to make it a success over the last 10 years:  The millions of visitors that have viewed the site, the facilities that have posted your job listings, all of you that have shared on the various forums we have had, Launchpad for all the work you did on the blog (I still love reading your entries), my wife and family for putting up with me during the early days when I spent every free moment I had working on the website, the authors of HTML and Websites for Dummies which helped me when I knew nothing, and everyone that sent me ideas, encouragements, and even complaints because you helped make the site better.