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5 Things Parents Should Consider Before Moving Their Child Into a Group Home

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Placing your son or daughter in someone’s care is emotional and scary regardless of your child’s disposition. In my personal and professional career, I have listened to parents’ fears and dreams when it comes to the future of their child. The top concern is, “Who will take care of them when I am no longer able to?” followed with doubt their child would receive fair treatment. I often inform family members who feel this way that no one will ever treat your child the same way you do, period.

Being able to witness transitioning a loved one from home to a residential facility personally and professionally has given me the insight to determine if an organization is a good fit for a loved one with a disability. In this blog, I will give you my top five suggestions on things to consider before you move forward with selecting a residential facility for your loved one.

1. Find out how the employees feel about the organization. 

As a parent, it is your job to research the organization that is going to be responsible for taking care of your child, and there is no better way to do this than by visiting websites with employee reviews. Glassdoor, Indeed, and Great Place to Work are a couple of sites you can use to investigate employees’ feelings about the agency. Visiting the sites can give you a feel for the organization’s culture, the pros and cons of working there, and the wages. The information is valuable to you because it gives an insider’s view of the business. If the workers are unhappy with the leadership, pay, and there are more cons than pros, then this is not the place for your family member. A lot of negatives usually indicate high turnovers which can be counterproductive in your loved one’s livelihood. Studies show jobs with high satisfaction rates usually have employees who are dedicated, committed, and involved in doing their job to the best of their ability. Therefore, happy workers usually equate to better quality and service.

2. Is the organization proactive in developing the residents?

Any group home you intend on putting your loved one in needs to be innovative, active in the community, invested in their client’s work and social life balance and devoted to enhancing life skills. You want your family member to be somewhere that will improve their quality of life and continually cultivate the development of its programs. It is critical for your loved one to live the best life possible while being a resident of a facility. If the organization does not show any initiative to improve their services, programming, or curriculum, then you may want to look elsewhere.

3. Is the organization involved in the community?

Community involvement is essential for the overall financial health of the business. Many social service agencies are nonprofit and receive funding from various sources but mainly through fundraising tactics. Bringing valuable attention to a cause requires outreach, interactions and partnerships with stakeholders, consumers, and companies. If the organization is not active in the community, it usually means that outings outside of the facility are probably scarce, there aren’t many partnerships, the volunteer base isn’t up to par, and contributions are probably weak. What does this mean for your family member? Their social life may not be as active s it would be in a residential facility that receives local support from businesses, sponsors, volunteers, and the workforce. Also, the availability to get innovative equipment, help from outside sources and extracurricular activities is probably limited.

4. Ask for a tour.

Once you figure out housing facilities in the area, it is important to schedule a tour. The tour will give you a feel of the everyday life of the residents, and it will let you know if others living there are happy with the services they receive. During your tour, you should hear testimonies of the services being provided, and you should ask the staff how they feel about working there and why they enjoy their job. You will be surprised by the answers, and you will be able to see if they’re sincere or just buying time until a better job comes along.

5. The census.

Ask questions about the demographics of people living in group homes. The activity level of the home as a whole may be based on the majority of the residents. Seniors living in a residential facility may want to relax more while younger adults may want to be active outdoors, listen to loud music, or play video games.

I hope this information helps you when deciding to place your loved one in a residential facility. Remember scouting homes is like scouting for colleges. You want the best for your child, and the organization should want and demonstrate the same.

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Thinkstock photo by utah778

Originally published: February 11, 2017
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