When interviewed recently about what it’s like to work in CCHO’s residential program, here is what staff supervisors Jontie Garretson and April Bostick had to say.
Being a staff member in our children’s residential center feels like being part of a family. Each cottage staff team, made up of 14 employees over three shifts, is running a household together and raising young lives together. There’s support for one another, giving each other breaks to step away for the challenging moments. And there’s a shared sense of joy as kids make positive changes.
Each of our five cottage teams belongs to a larger group across the residential campus. Together we celebrate wins, recognize coworker contributions and regularly participate in laughter breaks. We are always looking to improve and become the best service provider to our youth.
Our residential staff members have diverse backgrounds, experiences and personalities, but they do have key attributes in common. If you have this heart, we encourage you to apply.
Our residential program thrives on routine because our kids feel safer when they know what to expect from staff and from the schedule. That being said, flexibility is a valued trait of a treatment specialist. This could look like a child needing extra support and attention or filling in for another staff member to do so. Be flexible with yourself and personal goals as well. It could take up to six months to get fully acquainted with our program and become most effective in helping kids.
Desire to learn and grow
There are specialized approaches to working with youth who have been traumatized. We don’t expect our new staff members to have this knowledge. Our role is to teach you. You will participate in an intensive training (two to three weeks) at the start of your position and then provide ongoing education to keep you sharp. We love employees who desire to be developed and come with a learning attitude.
Responsive versus reactive
Our youth come from hard places. Many have experienced pain and abuse from those who were supposed to love and cherish them most. In our residential program, you’ll see and hear behaviors that display their trauma. Treatment specialists help bring the calm to the crisis. They respond with purpose rather than react with emotion to create the best outcome for the youth.
Want to make a difference
Our treatment specialists provide direct service to our youth out of love and a deep desire to help them know their truth worth in Christ. We are looking for individuals who believe in life change and want to help make it happen. Being others-focused, desiring for the kids and staff as a whole to succeed, is an ideal perspective. Sometimes you’ll see residents change during their stay. Other times, youth will check in with us months or years later to share their story and express thanks for the support and wisdom they received.
The treatment specialist position can be physically and mentally demanding. This is why we develop our employees individually and as a team. It’s also why treatment specialists receive 96 hours or 12 days of paid time off in their first year of employment. Plus they can earn up to three additional days off.
Some individuals become treatment specialists because they are looking for an entry point toward a career in social work. Others have joined our staff in midlife looking for more rewarding work in helping others. We are a great fit for many different candidates—perhaps you will be next.