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Career Story: Child Care Worker At A Home For Troubled Children

Child Care Worker At A Home For Troubled Children

Job Title: Late Night Child Care Worker

Education: AA in Education

Previous Experience: I worked with mentally handicapped adults in an institutional setting for eight years prior to starting my current job

Job Tasks: We are a home for troubled children and those who are in trouble with the law. The children are given counseling to be able to overcome their problems, be they mental, emotional or physical. These children are usually placed with us for a period of six months to a year while a foster home is found for them if one is needed. Many of the children return to their own homes and some keep in contact with us after they are discharged. It is interesting to listen to the ones that do keep in contact and see how much they have grown due to their experience and therapy. The unit that I work in is a community residential unit consisting of 14 boys ages 12 to 17. Many of these boys attend public school, and the others attend our school. These boys are taken on trips regularly to learn proper interaction skills with others in the community.

My typical day consists of some light housekeeping, cleaning and laundry during the evening while the boys are sleeping. I also do bed checks to assure that everyone is in their beds and sleeping. In the morning, I wake the boys for school and prepare breakfast for them. I have had to break up a few fights between the boys, listen to them when they are troubled, and console them when they are upset. The morning time that I get to spend with the boys is the most gratifying time of the day. It is extremely rewarding to have a child who usually is combative turn and want to give you a hug or say thank you for something that you did for them.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is seeing a smile on the face of one of the boys who is normally depressed. In knowing that without saying anything, he is thanking you for something that you have done for him. This may have been something that you did a week ago, or two minutes ago.

The worst part of my job is when I have to break up a fight between two or more of the boys. Some of the boys are bigger than I am and extremely strong. I always worry about getting injured when I have to do this, although most of them respect me and will not swing at me. There are other boys who will talk the fighters out of swinging, telling them they shouldn't hit a "girl".

Job Tips: If you are considering a position like this one, you must have a lot of patience. You need to remember that the children are there for a reason and put yourself in their position. I always think about how I would react if I were in their place. It is a thankless and emotionally taxing job, so if you are easily upset when people say things negative about you, this isn't the position for you.

Additional Thoughts: If you enjoy working with children, this is an extremely challenging position. One day they might all be as good as gold, and without warning something will trigger one of them. The domino effect is extremely present and you need to be aware of triggers at all times.

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