Substitute Caregiver - Hired!

September 21, 2010

I’ve hired a substitute caregiver! I had kind of given up after my futile efforts to find someone in August. But, thanks to N’s great people skills, she told the right person about my search, and that person told her about another acquaintance of theirs who was looking for some additional hours. She’s already a caregiver, having been in the field for years, and specifically with the developmentally disabled in the last year. I interviewed her last week and hired her on the spot. During the interview she was talking about how much she loved her work at a day program. She said, “When parents are dropping off or picking up their children and I see the love that they have for their can I not provide the best care I can for that individual." Wouldn’t that be music to any parent’s ears?

C starts next weekend. I’m looking forward to having her with us. And, I realize how often, when I embark on training a new staff member, I am just dreading the training phase. Part of that dread comes from the uncertainty I have about the person I’ve hired. Part of it comes from the fact that new hires seldom have any experience so you’re starting from scratch. Part of it comes from the guilt, however irrational, that I have to ask someone to help me care for my child. So, is it any wonder that I’m actually looking forward to C working with us? N has known her for years, C is trained and experienced, and I know that she understands the very special love that a parent has for a child whose needs far exceed a typical child's and will never end.

The NJ governor’s office put out a proclamation last week naming it Direct Support Professional Recognition Week. The proclamation notes that the demand for more DSP’s will increase by thirty-four percent in the next decade and that there will be one million new positions available by 2016. In an effort to recognize DSP’s as true professionals and support not only their needs but encourage workers to enter this field, New Jersey has introduced the College of Direct Support. The College will offer an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills needed to provide appropriate care and to be certified in that care. This is the first step toward building a competent, well trained staffing pool. I look forward with hope to the day that I do not have to dread the task of training yet another person who is not doing the job because they want to, but rather, because they are waiting till something better comes along.

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