Book Review - Respecting Residential Work with Children

By: James R. Harris Jr., M.A.


Please note that this book is NO LONGER in print. Mr. Harris has written an updated version called "Evolving Residential Work with Children" You can purchase the updated version directly from The Houseparent Network for $21 (Postage Paid). Send you check or money order to The Houseparent Network, 1835 Highway 45 North PMB 114, Columbus, MS 39705(I hope to be able to sell them online soon.)

Disclaimer: This book review is my opinion of the book. If you have a different opinion of the book that is great. I know I have loved several movies and books that other reviewers have not liked and disliked movies and books that receive great reviews. I think we all have. If you would like to submit your own review, I may consider posting it. Thanks.

If you are thinking of getting into or are already working in residential childcare and can only read one book it should be this one.  I would recommend it for direct care staff, supervisors, clinicians and administrators.

Mr. Harris has worked at every level of residential childcare from being a houseparent to being an executive director.  From his experience he gives an excellent overview of working with youth in residential care.

He covers several topics such as:

  • History of residential care.
  • Roles of the different levels of staff
  • Behavior Management
  • Human Stage Development
  • Ethics in our field
  • The staff crisis and what can be done to improve it.
  • Plus many more.

The book was published in 2003 so it addresses the issues we face today, not the issues we faced 20 or 30 years ago that are addressed in many of the available texts for our field.

The only real negative I have with this book is the price.  After I paid for shipping, the book cost me almost $33 through Amazon.com.  However, I would rather pay $33 for a book that is relevant than $15 for a book that is NOT.  The price through the publisher is $35 plus shipping.  It is published by a small specialty publishing company.  I believe the small number of volumes printed accounts for the higher price.  Hopefully greater demand for the book might result in a soft back printing and lower price.

After you read it, try and get your supervisors and administrators to read it.  The  information in this book will only help you and your program whether it is basic foster care, a community group home, or residential treatment center.

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