Types of Residential Childcare Facilities
One this page I have attempted to describe the different kind of facilities. It is not all inclusive, and there are probably several exceptions to these descriptions. I am only trying to give the reader, new to child care, a basic understanding.
Basic Child Care Facility/Children's Home
The Basic child care facility is basically the modern equivalent to the orphanage of old. Their primary purpose is to provide care to children that have nowhere else to go. Many basic child care facilities specialize in keeping siblings together. The living situation is often similar to that of a large family. In some cases children may grow up from a very early age in the home. In the home we are in now, there are se4eral children that have been here for over 15 years. Some facilities may have a kitchen staff and group dining halls, housekeepers, assistant houseparents, on grounds school, chapel, etc. Most are privately funded and are ministries of various Christian Organizations and Denominations. Their size varies from just one house to several houses at different locations. Some are equipped for and take children with behavioral problems, others do not.
These are normally short term placement facilities, and usually have placements of 30 days or less. Some are focused toward younger children that have been abused or neglected. Providing a temporary immediate placement until a more permanent placement can be found. On many occasions a shelter or crisis center will take a placement in the middle of the night. Other facilities are focused toward adolescent children and are used as a cooling off placement for teens that are in the early stages of delinquency and causing conflict in the family. They are also used as a temporary placement for kids waiting for placement in a long term behavior modification program and need close supervision or are run away risks. Most crisis centers have 24 hour awake staff and employ shift workers.
The Group Home is sometimes the community catch all. It can be used as a children's home, crisis center, treatment center. Most of the time kids in the group home come from the local community. They are in the early stages of delinquency, are non violent criminal offenders, or teens removed from their home because they have been abused or neglected, but would not be appropriate for placement in a foster home because of their behavioral issues. Many group homes use level or point systems to manage behavior, and have alarm systems to monitor the children while the houseparents sleep. The Group Home normally employs live in houseparents but some also have shift workers. The average placement for a group home is 3 to 6 months, but can go over a year.
Youth Ranch/Treatment Center
These are long term facilities, with the average placement of 1 to 2 years. They in almost all cases deal with behavior modification whether it be delinquency, substance abuse, sexual acting out, etc. The methods and programs vary greatly to include: boot camps, wilderness, intense counseling, etc. Most have 24 hour awake staff and are self contained with on campus: school, counseling, chapel and recreation. Some incorporate basic care facilities as part of their campus. Most are funded by the state on a per child basis, but some are privately funded through donation.
Foster Care Home
Foster Care Homes may make up an entire facility or may just be a program within a facility. In this type of facility you are basically foster parents that are provided with a home, vehicle, food, supplies, support staff, etc. Some facilities may pay you based upon the number of children placed in your home or just a flat salary. In a Foster Care Home you don't normally have as many children as you would have in other types of facilities, usually less than 6, but you also don't normally get as many days off as you would in other facilities. Some facilities will provide you with respite staff, in others you find your own as you would in a normal foster home. In recent years I have seen many new Foster Care Homes opened.
There are several other opportunities, that are similar to houseparenting but don't necessarily involve child care. They may include: Maternity Homes (Usually for young unwed mothers and their babies), Battered Wife Shelters, Handicapped Adult Homes (Usually functional, self care adults), Private Boarding Schools. You can usually find placements for these facilities in the same places houseparent job openings are advertised.