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Group Home Worker


When it comes to demanding jobs, group home worker should be at the top of the list. The US has a lot of group residences, both privately and publicly funded, which house anywhere from three to 30 people at a time, all dealing with various issues which prevent them from living on their own or within a family situation. There are group homes for young offenders, group homes for the elderly and group homes for the developmentally challenged. There are group homes for adult offenders recently released from prison, and group homes for offenders who are close to being sent.

There are group homes for young mothers, and temporary group homes for children with special needs whose parents need a break from the constant care. These homes are very important. For some residents these homes are their only hope, without the support of a group home they may be on the streets, in correctional institutions or psychiatric hospitals. Group home workers do everything from counsel residents to brush their teeth. Group home workers are important to residents as these workers are their friends, therapists, and their advocates. They meet with their social workers and clients' families. They assist with support sessions, financial aid applications, making lunches, doing laundry, and organizing outings and events like movie nights or birthday parties.

Group home workers often spend a few nights a week living in the home with the residents. The relationships that develop between the workers and their clients can be powerful, especially if a resident and a worker live in the home for a long period of time together. A group home worker must therefore be an emotionally stable individual, who remembers to maintain a close distance between the clients and themselves. The primary objective of a group home is to foster in the residents a sense of independence and self-sufficiency; therefore, group home workers must remember the professional aspects of their jobs, no matter how connected they may feel towards a certain resident.
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Ashford University
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Programs Offered:
  • BA/Health and Human Services
  • Master of Public Administration
  • BA/Social Science - No Concentration



  Average Earnings  
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Median Salary:
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  Interests and Skills  
Successful group home workers are mature, patient, sensitive and non-judgmental, as well as resourceful, emotionally stable, and flexible when it comes to hours, workplace, and client behavior. They have a genuine desire to help all people. Many group workers have an interest in activism, and are comfortable speaking on behalf of marginalized people.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Meet with clients regularly, giving support and discuss any difficulties or problems
  • Refer residents to other social services
  • Run workshops and programs dealing with issues like communication and respect under the supervision of social workers or health care professionals
  • Assist in evaluating the treatment programs by monitoring changes in residents' behavior
  • Communicate information about resident with other social service agencies
  • Maintain a safe emotional distance from residents
  • General maintenance and cleanup throughout house
  • Bathe and dress residents
  • The typical day for a group home worker will involve a lot of different tasks. Because the job usually requires shift work, the worker may spend most of a night shift monitoring a house full of sleeping people, ensuring safety and appropriate behavior. A day shift may include cooking a meal, and getting residents ready with showers and clothes. There may be therapy sessions with the residents, as well as workshops and programs. The worker will meet with supervisors and other community and social workers to discuss the patients. The group home worker will most likely write reports detailing the progress of residents and the overall functioning of the facility.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Group home workers work in group homes. These can be large or intimate, privately funded (both for- and non-profit), and government funded. They are in cities, usually in residential neighborhoods, and can be for the elderly, young and adult offenders, or developmentally challenged individuals who would otherwise be forced to live in hospitals or correctional institutions. They work shifts, along side other group home workers, supervisors, and social workers.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Group home workers may choose to move into different home environments and work with different types of residents. With additional education and experience a group home worker can progress to a group home or shelter manager. They may also choose to go back to school and train as a social worker, counselors, recreation programmer or health care worker. Some group home workers may choose to become full-time social activists, representing the various groups who inhabit group homes and who rely on the services these homes provide.

  Educational Paths  
Group home workers require completion of secondary school and typically require a college diploma in the field of human services. Managing a group home or moving into counseling residents usually requires completion of a bachelor's or master's degree from university in social work, rehabilitation or counseling.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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