Blue Sky says house manager being trained for group home

Gary Kean gkean@thewesternstar.com
Published on July 10, 2014

The operators of the Blue Sky Family Care group home in Corner Brook say a house manager will be at the site within the next two weeks.

The group home on Cossitt Place has become a bone of contention for many of the other residents living in the area since it opened in early June.

The neighbours, who have presented a petition with about 150 names on it to Corner Brook city council, say the operators of the home have inadequate control of the youth living there.

The city has said there is nothing it can do about the situation. The neighbours have also complained to the police and to the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services, the latter of which issued the contract to Blue Sky to operate the home.

Caitie Burke, Blue Sky’s director of programming, confirmed for The Western Star this week that a house manager has been hired and said her presence should help address any issues arising at the home.

The house manager is not yet actually at the home, though. She is in the process of going through about three weeks of training in Gander for the position.

That in-house training, said Burke, includes a course called Therapeutic Crisis Intervention and another called Children and Residential Experiences.

Both training programs are standard for any Blue Sky staff, said Burke. The house manager will also do additional management training.

Burke said the woman hired for the job already has experience doing this type of work.

“She has extensive training working with children who have challenging behaviours and she is very adept at meeting their specialized needs,” said Burke. “Her primary responsibility is the overall management of the home. She will ensure all the programs are implemented properly to meet the individual goals of the children and youth.”

The Western Star requested an interview with the house manager, but Burke said she would not be made available as she has yet to start work at the home.

The home in Corner Brook will have a staff of between eight and 10 people, including the house manager and a program manager. Burke said all will have done the in-house training provided by Blue Sky and all will have had some previous experience dealing with children and youth.

Burke said Blue Sky had hoped to have a house manager at the site earlier, but hopes her presence will help alleviate some of the tensions between the home and residents in the area.

“Due to circumstances that were out of our control, we couldn’t get her to start when we opened the home, but it was always our intent to put a house manager in there,” she said.