New Mexico Boys Ranch Drama

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.

Coming Changes!!!

Well, the day has arrived.  I am now ready to spend most of my day making The Houseparent Network better, more useful, and more visible so that facilities can find more qualified staff members and houseparents/residential staff can better prepare themselves for the life of a residential childcare worker.

Some of the things I will be working on:

  1. I am looking to change my logo and do a site redesign.  My last major overhaul was in 2010, and to be perfectly honest, a lot of people didn’t like the gold and blue.  I will be playing with some different designs.  I want the design to be simple, easy to use and easy to view on all devices.  I am also planning on redoing the logo to a variation of a previous design that will allow me to put it on t-shirts and other items I can give away.
  2. Daily Blog Posts.  Some of it will be original material (my own thoughts, experiences and opinions), the rest will be material that I have scoured the Internet to find and will link to.  I want to be one of the top sites for information relating to residential care.
  3. Updated Facility Directory.  Over the next few months I will be going through my facility directory and removing facilities that no longer exist and hopefully adding hundreds of newly listed ones that I find through social media sites and internet searches.
  4. Creating a new Houseparent Community.  I think it really sucks that I had to take the forum down, but the fact is that there are really bad people out there that spend all of their time trying to take advantage of other people. Rather than build their own quality sites, they try to hack and SPAM other people’s sites.  The malicious activity I had attacking the old forum ended up crashing it to the point of being unrecoverable.  Hopefully the new one will have better security tools for combating that.  I want to have a community where people can ask questions, share thoughts, stories, triumphs and failures, so that we can all have the information we need to better care for the children, mothers and adults that live in residential facilities.
  5. Expanding Job Listings to include International facilities.  I am going to create a special section so that facilities in all countries have a place to post job listings and find quality staff.  Hopefully I will someday have to breakdown the international section into different regions and even by country.
  6. Make job listings sortable and searchable.  As my programming skills improve I plan to write code to make the job listings sortable and searchable, to make it easier to find a position in specific regions, states, denominations or using other criteria.
  7. Expanding Book and Resources Store.  Rather than just being an associate of Amazon I am hoping to be able to make deals with various authors and publishers to offer books and resources at discounts, directly to The Houseparent Network users.
  8. Adding Featured Facilities.  I am hoping to find time to travel and visit facilities that I can feature on the site.  Include pictures of their facilities, interviews with their administration and staff as well of highlights of their programs.
  9. Plus More.  I am open to suggestions and ideas for making the site better.  If you have ideas for features or resources, please share them here or on the Facebook page.