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Direct Care Specialists

Welcome to the toughest job you’ll ever love! Direct care specialists are key to building strong relationships from a child’s first day on campus. Our kids have experienced abuse. Their behaviors show the pain they try to hide. We see these boys and girls as worthy of respect and love. Individually and as a team, you’ll give affirmations, provide safety, and help youth from hard places learn how to trust and have healthy relationships.

Interested? Keep reading and learn more about who we are and how we set up new team members for success with specialized training to best care for youth who have experienced trauma. 

What happens at a children’s residential center

Christian Children’s Home of Ohio (CCHO) is a ministry to kids from hard places. Our 165-acre Wooster campus includes four cottages that are home to as many as 46 children whose lives have been turned upside down by abuse, neglect and trauma of all kinds.

Boys and girls ages 6-17 receive a mix of music, recreation, individual, group and equine therapies to help them process painful trauma, learn how a healthy family functions, and develop coping and life skills. Our hope is to see these youth succeed upon return to community life. Our heart is to help them experience their worth in Christ.

Learn more about the work being done in CCHO’s residential treatment program. We also work hard to maintain many certifications and licensures.

What direct care specialists do

Direct care specialists provide care and supervision to our youth residents individually and in groups. This could range from helping youth prepare for and engage in daily educational and therapeutic activities as well as offering guidance and redirection. It also includes participating in recreational fun, arts and crafts, meal times, and movie nights. It’s also likely you’ll answer a bazillion questions, receive hugs, and enjoy field trips to baseball games, trampoline parks, and more.

Our FAQs page includes the schedule of a typical day with residents. The role of third shift childcare specialists is unique. Here’s more information on our overnight team.

All of these tasks are important because trauma work is about safety and connection. Here’s what one of our cottage therapists had to say about the importance of treatment specialists in supporting a youth’s healing process.

What it takes to succeed as a direct care specialist

Our residential staff members have diverse backgrounds, experiences and personalities. They also have key attributes in common. Check out these important qualities as shared by residential supervisors.

Staff who are calm, consistent, and compassionate bring a lot of support to youth from hard places. The best treatment specialists choose not to make a big deal out of little things like a swear word or forgotten socks.

Some of our team members have chosen to become childcare 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.

Here’s our residential director’s story of working at CCHO.

How we prepare you to care for youth with trauma

Each staff member contributes to a child’s transformation, and we want you to have the tools to be a successful and supportive member of your cottage team as you work together to care for children with high-level needs. We don’t expect our new childcare specialists to have knowledge of specialized trauma approaches. Our role is to teach you.

Experienced behavioral health leaders will train you in trauma-effective approaches, safety protocols, de-escalation techniques, trust-based relational intervention skills (TBRI), and more. Three weeks of paid training includes a mix of classroom training as well as in-person shadowing in the cottages to get to know staff and kids. We’ll also provide ongoing education to keep you sharp. We love employees who desire to be developed and come with a learning attitude.

TBRI is our tool of choice in caring for youth with trauma. Here’s why.

What your fellow direct care specialists have to say

Our work life is a big part of who we are. It’s where we spend a good bit of time during the week. It’s who we spend that time with. It’s how we contribute to our community. Our hope is to encourage personal and professional growth for all of our staff. Our heart is help others experience their worth in Christ—and that includes each team member.

With many employment choices available, we asked employees why they choose to work at our family of ministries and what compels them to stay.

How faith is part of what we do

The heart in our logo represents the radical transformation that only God can initiate. It reminds us that, while we strive to do our jobs well each and every day, there is only One who can renew hearts and restore lives.

We provide voluntary opportunities for our youth to learn about God’s unconditional love for them. Residents may choose to participate in Bible studies, worship nights, chapel services, and one-on-one discussions with our campus pastor. He started at CCHO as a treatment specialist by the way. Here’s his story.

Our staff come from a variety of churches and model faith in Christ through kindness, selflessness and dedication.

Still have questions

We’ve given you an overview of being a direct care specialist (sometimes referred to as a treatment specialist), but there’s always more to know as you consider a new career opportunity. Check out our frequently-asked questions page or contact our talent recruiter at for more information. We invite you to fill out an online application.

Some additional fineprint

Direct care specialist applicants must be 21 and have a high school diploma/GED, valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. Childcare specialists are required to be able to restrain a client when necessary (training provided) and must be able to pass a pre-employment physical. References, background checks and drug screenings will be completed on all potential candidates. EOE.

We are dedicated to building a diverse and authentic workplace, so if you’re excited about this role but your past experience doesn’t align perfectly with every qualification in the job description, we encourage you to apply anyway. You may be just the right candidate for this or other roles.

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