Queens County Residential Services Inc. (QCRS) is a not-for-profit organization that has been in operation for almost 40 years, delivering a range of programs and services to adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
The programs strive to enrich the lives of clients, providing person-centered plans that promote self-esteem and well-being.
- group homes
- small options homes
- day programs
- associate family program
- community housing
- employment supports
- person centered planning
- respite care
- summer camp for those 14 to 20, and more.
QCRS owns 13 properties and operates 21 programs in Queens County. The property at 39 Maypoint Road houses management and administration staff and the Community Supports program (CSP). The CSP offers adults of all ages the opportunity to participate actively in their community. Individualized services are designed to meet the specific interests and training goals of each participant. Each person is encouraged and supported to reach his or her full potential through a broad range of personal development activities and training opportunities.
An expansion of the CSP is under construction at 39 Maypoint Road. The expansion will offer a fully accessible area for additional programs to meet the specific needs of our growing population. “With the growth of our agency comes ongoing opportunities for new staff to join our team,” says Barb Mullally, Program Manager. “The work is rewarding and the skills and talents of staff are integrated into specific training opportunities for clients.
“Over the past 30 years, we have seen a huge increase in the number of people requesting service. QCRS plays an active role in working with clients, families, caregivers, and teachers to aid in the transition from school to community. Support is also provided for aging parents to plan for the future of their adult child.
“We currently have 26 people on our residential waiting list. Some of our homes have clients who need high medical care because of their disability and associated mobility issues. Three of our programs are wheelchair accessible. In the last nine years, we have received funding to build two new complexes that are completely wheelchair accessible, all on one level, with ceiling lifts and other adaption needs required by clients with mobility issues.”
About the staff
There are about 144 staff members. The number is higher in the summer to staff the Summer Camp for youth. Most staff work full-time, and there are also staff who work part-time. Each group home is staffed 24/7 with generally one to two staff members working at a time. Staff ages range from 19 to 63.
Staff turnover rate
About 70 percent of employees have worked at QCRS for more than 20 years, and some have been there for 25 or 30 or more years. “Our employee turnover is very low. Our increased hiring needs are as a result of program expansion.”
- Community Living/Day Program Worker
- Program Manager, Financial Officer, and Admin Support
- Behaviour Assessment team helps employees deal with challenging client behaviours
- Maintenance program and grass cutting program supervisors mentor clients to do most property maintenance.
Family residential support needed
“We are constantly in search of people who want to be part of the QCRS Associate Family Residential Support program. People are paid directly through the Financial Assistance program and the Disabilities Support program to provide varying levels of supervision and support in their own home for people with disabilities.”
A long-term employee
Barb Mullally has worked for QCRS for 31 years. “I was involved with Allied Youth as a kid, and I was exposed to people with disabilities very early in my life,” says Barb.
She had considered becoming a nurse, but a neighbour who was taking the Holland College Human Services program urged Barb to enroll. “I loved the program. I went to a camp for children with disabilities in Bangor, Maine for my on-the-job training. It was the best experience of my life. It broadened my horizons, and I came back to PEI pumped and ready to change the world.”
She worked in Calgary in a facility for children for four years, and then moved back to PEI in 1986. “I have evolved, and my position has changed many times in my career here. I have worked front-line positions, managed different programs, and now I’m doing HR. The agency has offered me an opportunity to do a wide variety of jobs, which really suits my personality.”
A new employee
Danielle Rice, Project Coordinator, has worked for QCRS for the past six months. Her position was created through the Graduate Mentorship program, and funded through SkillsPEI.
She graduated with a Business Administration degree from St. Francis Xavier University. “I was looking for a career in my field, and noticed this position posted on Facebook,” says Danielle. “I was hired for a one-year contract, and after three months, they offered me a permanent position.”
Her duties include HR, IT resolution, project management, overseeing repairs and maintenance, and many other tasks. “I love working here. It gives me a chance to do a lot of different things. I originally did not see myself in the Human Services field, but now I am constantly learning more about people with disabilities, and I want to know everything about the programs and the HR side. I love every aspect of the company.”
“Danielle has an uncanny ability to come into work every morning and be fresh and ready to deal with whatever comes her way,” says Barb. “We are so busy that we can’t always stick to the plan, and we have to be comfortable with change. She has the passion and adaptability, and if she doesn’t know something, she will find out.”
QCRS is unionized. New hires start as casual employees. Most staff work full-time, but there are opportunities to work part-time 50, 75, or 90 percent. They will also accommodate people nearing retirement age who want to work 75 or 50 percent of the time.
Wages and benefits
Casual relief wages start at $15.15/hour. Casual relief workers do not receive all the benefits of permanent staff, with the exception of statutory holidays if they qualify. They are paid time-and-a-half for working statutory holidays if they have worked a certain number of hours in the previous month.
Unionized staff receive higher pay and receive sick days, vacation time, bereavement leave, a group health package, and a pension program. Incentives for education are available which subsidize part of tuition costs for staff who want to enhance their skills. They also offer professional development days.
All employees need to have their grade 12 diploma and pass a criminal record check. Preference is given to graduates of a Human Services, Resident Care Worker or Youth Worker Program. “However, we do hire people with other backgrounds, such as psychology or social work. Lately we have hired a lot of newcomers who were trained as RCWs, LPNs or RNs in another country.”
Most employees should have a drivers’ license and a driver’s abstract, because they often will be called upon to transport clients to community activities.
Front-line workers in a residential setting do shift work to provide 24/7 coverage. “We will try to accommodate single parents to give them shifts that work with their schedules.”
“We are always connecting with community partners. Clients use the pool and the gym at UPEI, the Stratford gym, music therapy, Murphy’s Centre, cooking lessons, recreational programs for walking, equine assisted learning, and hockey games. They learn how to access Charlottetown transit, learn vehicle maintenance, and receive counselling to learn relationship and employability skills.”
“We are always hiring for casual positions, and in the last few years we have hired 15 to 20 new union employees. There is an ongoing need for casual employees, and we are trying our best to hire trained employees for individual programs and people who are adaptable and able to move from program to program. Our goal is to find people who are diversified and can work in a variety of different programs with a variety of different clients. We strive to build on the skills and attributes of our employees.”
Most difficult positions to fill
“We sometimes have difficulty finding people persons with the right mix of skills. There is also a growing need for male staff. We look for people with a balance of Human Services, Youth Worker, and other interpersonal skills.”
How do you attract staff?
Job openings are posted in The Guardian, Job Bank, Kijijji, and Facebook. Word of mouth from other employees is another recruiting tool. They also advertise through the college programs for students looking for casual work that can enhance their training.
“Many educational programs require applicants to perform a number of volunteer hours to qualify to be accepted. We welcome applicants to do their volunteer hours with us.”
About the staff
Best way to get your foot in the door
“Be available, flexible, adaptable, and willing to be mentored and grow. Good work ethic and team work are also important.
“For casual staff, the more willing you are to work, and the faster you respond to an e-mail or a text asking you to work, the more shifts you will get.”
“We like to maintain a high professional standard, so we require a formal résumé and cover letter.” E-mail the résumé to Danielle Rice at [email protected]
Typical interview questions
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What do you know about QCRS?
- What life skills are you able to teach others? eg. budgeting, cooking, cleaning, etiquette, life skills, and manners
- Give examples of when you used teamwork, problem solving, communication, conflict resolution, and working towards common goals.
How to stand out during the hiring process
“Do your homework and know what our organization does before you go to the interview. Check our website, and talk to some employees. Being prepared shows great initiative and a passion for working in this field.
“Be professional and serious. Dress accordingly. Be prepared with copies of your résumé and references. Show your passion and interest in working here, in learning new things, and a willingness to change. Display patience and respect for all.”
Barb Mullally and Danielle Rice are responsible for hiring. They review the needs of each home and try to match them with new hires who have the experience and credentials they are looking for. References are checked.
Terms of initial employment
“Within the first three months, we make sure to provide the mentoring and training a person needs to do their job, and we decide if they are suitable to work here or in another location.”
In-house and on-the-job training
Training is paid for by the employer and includes First Aid, Transfer Lifting and Repositioning, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention (behaviour management and modification), and medication administration.
“A communication specialist can work with staff to teach them alternative communication tools such as sign language, and also trains clients to use electronic tablets to add to their skills. We have clients who are visually impaired, so one of our staff took a course in Braille.
“We work closely with Holland College and other learning institutions to offer on-the-job training opportunities. We have been a practicum site for the 40 years we have been open. We also speak to classes about what we expect from employees, and work closely with program instructors.”
When working for the company, what are the keys to successful employment?
“You must have a caring nature and a commitment to the clients you will be serving. Come to work with a positive attitude and contribute.”
“Since we offer such a variety of programs, people can move from one program to another, because change keeps us all fresh and up to date. Casual relief staff have opportunities to become permanent staff. As well, two of our managers have advanced from front-line positions.”
What will the work within your company look like in five years?
“Our client number has grown to over 140,” says Barb. “We can see that number growing. We are always in discussions with government to expand our services to meet the growing need.
“In the last two years, we have hired three new managers, and one manager has retired. With our growth came many new employees working in new programs. Each time we start a new program, we add more staff. We opened five new programs in the last five years, and we have expanded our CSP.”
For more information or to apply:
Queens County Residential Services Inc.
39 Maypoint Road
Charlottetown, PE C1E 0H5