• Bethany Collins

What happens when . . . the kids are at school

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

May I be frank with you for a moment?


This next question can frustrate house-parents sometimes. To be fair, I am not sure it should. From personal experience I can tell you it makes us feel like we need to be defensive - and I think a lot of that comes from it being difficult to have a clear understanding of what we do, so we perceive the question differently than it may be meant. The question is:


What happens when the kids are at school???


Short answer: Many things.


Long answer: Many things.


There is no typical day for a house-parent when the kids are at school. One of any number or combination of things could be happening/being done:

1. Attending Joy Ranch meetings.

2. Picking residents up from school and taking them to appointments, visits, etc.

3. Grocery shopping and other errands.

4. Editing/making menus.

5. Delivering medications and an occasional forgotten item to school.

6. Attending school meetings or events like plays, talent shows.

7. Communicating with teachers and other school staff; and checking grades online.

8. Laundry (Each resident is responsible for their own. We do try to put their things in the dryer if they started laundry before school and will help out the younger ones by sometimes making their bed or helping to fold their clothes.)

9. Talking with administrative staff to work out scheduling, issues, concerns, etc. regarding the residents.

10. Cleaning the house, organizing, etc.

11. Making sure the house is tour, and state inspection, ready.

12. Paperwork: So. Much. Paperwork. Narratives, med administration, daily communication log, quarterly reports on resident . goals, finances, work orders; to name a few.

13. Meal prep - as homework time is the same time dinner needs to be cooked.

14. Preparing for the evening activity.

15. Planning the next months activities.

16. Taking care of our own appointments, laundry, etc. - things that you might take care of during the evening or on a weekend.

17. As often as possible, we try to sneak in a nap. (Yay naps!)

18. If someone comes to visit/see Joy Ranch we give them a tour of our cottage.

19. Keeping in touch with guardians, GAL’s, probation officers, counselors and any others involved in our residents care/goals.

20. Anything else that needs to be done!


State regulations and requirements fill a lot of our time. Documentation and forms must be filled out daily.


No two days are the same and some may be packed full to overflowing, while others may not. Essentially, these lighter days are our ‘down time’ that others working a more ‘traditional’ job might have in the evening.


Always though, are days are full of excitement and keep us on our toes. Raising eight children is always an adventure and is easiest when you can think and plan and prepare ahead.

In all we do we strive to commit our work to God and do it to His glory.


“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3





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(276) 236 5578

813 Joy Ranch Road

Woodlawn, VA 24381

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