Question #9 10/26/2006 Would it be Appropriate to Bring a Hostess Gift to an Interview?

My husband and I are visiting a children’s home for an interview and will be staying at one of the cottages/homes. Would it be polite or inappropriate to bring a hostess gift? Would it be best to bring it and just leave it behind with a thank you note or present it up front? Thanks!  heidismom

This question is totally out of my area of expertise, so I asked my wife and my neighbor, whom I consider my etiquette expert, and this is what they say:

My wife felt that it wouldn’t be inappropriate, but she wasn’t really sure it would be necessary either.  We have never left a hostess gift at any of the facilities we have interviewed with, however we are also from a less formal culture where hostess gifts are not usually given.

My neighbor said that it depends on what the gift is.  If it is something that is consumed it should be given up front so they have an opportunity to share it with you.  If it is not something consumed, she would probably leave it with a thank you note when she left.

They both felt if a gift is given, it should be something simple.  You don’t want to give the impression that you are trying to influence anybody’s decision, by giving gifts.

Hope this helps!

If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments.
If you would like to ask your own question CLICK HERE to go the submission form.

Question #8 10/26/2006 Where to Begin – Starting a Home?

I live in N.J. and have been trying to get information in regards to opening a residential care program and have not been successful.  Can you please if you know tell me where to begin?

Thanks Kattia

The very first place to begin is with the licensing agency in your state.  They are usually the same people that license foster homes and deal with foster placements, however there could be an exception depending on which state you live in.  You might start with the state agency listing in my government agency directory.

 You may also want to contact other agencies in you state for information, many are more that willing to offer information about the home and state regulations. One facility I know of has a program to assist others wanting to start their own home.  You can find out more information at

Finally, you can hire a consultant.  If you are unable to find the information you are looking for in the other sources, contact me and I will give you some names you can contact.  I don’t know how much their fee is, but imagine it could be substantial.

If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments.
If you would like to ask your own question CLICK HERE to go the submission form.

Question #7 10/19/2006 Is this some sort of Drug/Gang Slang?

I work in a high school and recently had a student ask me to watch his hat (children are not allowed to wear hats in school). The hat had 765 written on it. I asked the student what it meant, he laughed and said it was our area code. I have to tell you, I didn’t quite believe him. Is there some significance to these particular numbers or am I being a little bit toooooooooooooooo cautious. Thanks, Nannie

Area codes are sometimes used to identify the more prominent drug and gang cities, for example 313 for Detroit, 213 for Los Angeles,  and 817 for Fort Worth.

I would say in your case your student either has short term memory loss and needs his area code written on his hat so he knows what it is to call home, or he is more likely a wanna-be that wants every one to know his turf is suburban Indianapolis.

I hope this helps and that others will add their own solutions to your situation. 

If anybody has any other ideas or you would like to add something, just register and add your comments.
If you would like to ask your own question CLICK HERE to go the submission form.

Report on the Fishing Trip

I am back from the fishing trip and I can report that all the kids had a great time.  We caught lots of fish, and every kid caught at least one fish.

We had one boy from our group that may have caught a world record fish for his age.  It is a 1.8lb Goggle-eye Snapper.  Though it is an abundant fish, apparently it is very rare that you catch one because it primarily feeds at night.  They also don’t grow very large, and are one of the smaller snapper species.  He was very excited and enjoyed the extra attention.

My only real disappointment for the weekend was that everybody pretty much kept to themselves.  I was hoping that all the houseparents that were there would look forward to meeting others and visiting with people that can relate to them.  I introduced myself to a few people, and was able to visit at length with a couple that knew of me through my site, but I quickly discovered that people weren’t real interested in meeting other houseparents.  In fact some of the couples seemed very stand-offish.

I have visited with some people about it and there is a discussion in the forum on my other site “The Christian Houseparent” about houseparents and how they treat each other.  The consensus is that houseparents are either overworked and over stressed to worry about meeting other houseparents or that being a houseparent is just a job to them and they are not real interested in building relationships with other houseparents.  I can agree with both.

If anybody has any thoughts on the subject I would like to hear them as well as ideas as to how the gap can be bridged.  I am thinking I might download, “How to win friends and influence people” for my iPod.  I read the book several years ago, but maybe I need a refresher.

Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation

I got this off their website, hopefully they won’t mind:

“The Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation takes foster home children deep sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
The LHFF will attempt to lessen the unpleasant past experiences in their life by fishing off the coast of Destin, Florida and offering a weekend of fun and fellowship.
The LHFF will give those individuals hope for a better life by demonstrating that there are people in the world that care about them and their welfare.
The LHFF will, as long as financially able and without boundaries, be dedicated to the children that it is fortunate to serve.

The Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation is a 501c3 Organization based in Memphis, TN that takes foster children deep sea fishing off the coast of Destin, FL. We are currently taking children fishing from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The 2006 trip is scheduled for October 14th and will have 150 children. Our goal is to one day take 1,000 foster home children fishing.”

The facility I work for is one of the facilities invited this year and I get to be one of the chaperones.  We will be bringing 10 boys down for the weekend.  I can tell you that they are truly excited and frankly, so am I.  This is an opportunity that many of our kids would otherwise never get, and I am sure it is going to be a great weekend for them.

I am also looking forward to hopefully meeting people that know me or of me through my website.  Many of the other facilities being invited advertise on my site, so maybe I will meet some people that found their position through The Houseparent Network

I will be off the computer during that time Thursday Oct 12th through Sunday Oct 15th, but will be excited to report on it when I get back.

You can vist the Larry Hatchett Fishing Foundation website at

U.S. State Department Fact Sheet: Offshore Behavior Modification Facilities

I often times have parents looking for a placement for their child visit my website so this is for them.  I found it on the State Department website and thought I would share it here.  If you are thinking about placing your child in an offshore facility you should read this first. 

In almost every region of the world, there are facilities for the treatment of minor children with drug/alcohol and/or discipline problems. These private and state-owned overseas treatment centers can often be characterized as “Behavior Modification Facilities.” Parents/guardians enroll their minor children in these facilities in the hope they will improve their problematic behavior.

Some facilities request parents/guardians to sign a contract for their minor child”s treatment authorizing its staff to act as their agents. These contracts purport to give staff very broad authority to take any actions deemed necessary, in the staff”s judgment, for the health, welfare and progress in the child”s program. The facilities can be located in relatively remote areas, restrict the minor child”s contact with the outside world, and employ a system of graduated levels of earned privileges and punishments to stimulate behavior change. The minor child”s communication privileges may also be limited.

The Department of State has no authority to regulate these entities, whether they are private or state-owned, and does not maintain information about their corporate or legal structures or their relationships to each other or to organizations in the United States. The host country where the facility is located is solely responsible for compliance with any local safety, health, sanitation, and educational laws and regulations, including all licensing requirements of the staff in that country. These standards may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States. The Department of State has, at various times, received complaints about nutrition, housing, education, health issues, and methods of punishment used at some facilities.

Prior to enrolling their minor children in such overseas “Behavior Modification Facilities,” the Department of State strongly recommends parents/guardians visit the facility and thoroughly inform themselves about both the facility and the host country”s rules governing it and its employees. The Department of State also encourages parents/guardians and facility administrators to ensure that all U.S. citizen enrollees are registered with the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate in case emergency consular services are needed.

U.S. consular officials are not qualified to determine whether the programs offered by the facilities are of therapeutic benefit to the enrollees. When aware of such facilities, U.S. consular officials conduct periodic facility visits, sometimes accompanied by host country officials, to monitor the general welfare of the U.S. citizen enrollees. Inquiries into the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizen enrollees may be initiated by contacting the closest U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the host country or the Department of State”s Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) office at the below telephone number. Also, parents may contact the closest U.S. Embassy/Consulate in the host country to inquire about the facility or speak to the Department of State”s Bureau of Consular Affairs” OCS Specialist for that country (Tel.: 202-647-5226 or, for after hours emergencies, 202-647-5225).

The Federal Privacy Act protects U.S. citizens, including minor children, from the unauthorized disclosure of information that the U.S. Government has collected and maintained about them unless the U.S. citizen has consented in writing to the release of the information or one of the Privacy Act”s “conditions of disclosure” permits the U.S. Government to release the otherwise protected information.

While parents/guardians may at times act in loco parentis for their minor children and obtain information that is otherwise protected by the Privacy Act, it must also be noted that minor children”s explicit wishes must be respected. Thus, a U.S. consular officer who has been advised by a minor child that s/he does not want any information released to an inquiring parent/guardian should honor those wishes absent the presence of circumstances affecting the health or safety of the minor child (i.e., one of the “conditions of disclosure”). Parents/guardians should be aware that U.S. citizens 14 years of age and older have the right to apply for a passport without their parents”/guardian”s permission. In extreme emergency situations, they may also request repatriation assistance from the U.S. Government without parental consent.

January 2004