Foster care: US moves to phase out group care for foster kids

Here is an article by the Associated Press posted on The Christian Science Monitor that talks about how different organizations and government officials are trying to reduce the number of FOSTER children in residential care.  It gives some pretty good insights as to the current trends in residential care.  It also helps explain why many houseparents today say the children are so much more difficult than they used to be.  If states are working hard to reduce the number of children in residential care, it would only make sense that the children that are left would be more difficult.

Book Review – The Gus Chronicles 1

 The Gus Chronicles 1
Reflections from an Abused Kid

By: Charles D. Appelstein, M.S.W. (and Gus E. Studelmeyer)

Disclaimer: This book review is my opinion of the book. If you have a different opinion of the book that is great. I know I have loved several movies and books that other reviewers have not liked and disliked movies and books that receive great reviews. I think we all have. If you would like to submit your own review, I may consider posting it. Otherwise feel free to share you reviews on the Forum. Thanks.

The Gus Chronicles 1 is an updated and revised version of The Gus Chronicles (originally published in 1994).  Doing something over will almost always result in something better, and it is certainly true in this case.  I enjoyed this book much more than I did the original.

I think Charlie (The Author) does a great job of helping a person get a perspective of how children in care, and their parents feel about those of us that work in residential care, he also does a pretty good job of highlighting some of the prejudices that we may have toward the children and birth parents that we need to be aware of and deal with.

I very much like how he changed his presentation of the need for Family Centered Services in residential care.  He does a very good job at presenting his case, and I fully agree that we need to find a way to work with the whole family.  If we don’t, we are, for the most part, wasting our time with the kids.

The Gus Chronicles 1 is a fictional story about a kid, Gus E. Studelmeyer that is living in a residential treatment center (RTC). The author uses a fictional person to address realistic situations in an RTC, and for the most part does a very good job.

The main character “Gus” is the narrator of the book and tells his story as a resident in an RTC. He also interviews and talks with other characters to get their perspective. Topics covered in the book include: Residential Treatment: A Child’s Perspective, Restraints, Foster Care, Bedtime and happenings during the night(sexual acting out, bed wetting, etc.), families perspective of residential care, activities, self-esteem, etc. The book is easy reading and presents information with little of the psychological speak. It does a good job of using terminology and phrases common to residential childcare, which will help a new person to residential care, better understand what those around him/her are saying.

This book would be excellent reading for somebody thinking about getting into residential care. It will give you a good idea of some of the situations and behaviors you will have to face, keeping in mind that the frequency and severity of the situations presented in the book would be much less for the majority of workers in residential foster care and community group home facilities. This book would be good reading for those already in child care, and might give you some ideas on how to better handle situations you deal with in your facility.

WARNING: This book contains profanity!!. Because the author is trying to paint a realistic picture of life in an RTC for the youth, he uses some of the same language the youth in RTC’s actually use. Although one of our goals is to help youth express themselves properly, with some it is a long hard road; you are going to hear some bad words working with troubled youth. This book will give you a chance to test your feelings about that.

I still somewhat struggle with using Gus and his 163 IQ to present the technical aspects, and would have preferred a second character, like a super computer, being a huge fan of the movie and book, Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, to present those aspects of the book. On the other hand it is strictly a personal preference and not enough of a distraction to prevent a you from getting very valuable information to help you be better providers.

I highly recommend the book and encourage all residential care workers and those thinking about becoming residential care workers to read it.

Click here to read my original review of “The Gus Chronicles”

The Gus Chronicles II is a sequel to the original Gus Chronicles. It was published in 2002 and was my favorite of the Gus Chronicle books. Now it is neck and neck with The Gus Chronicles 1. Click here to read the review The Gus Chronicles II.

You can buy the book from The Gus Chronicles I: Reflections from an Abused Kid
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