What’s inside my Backpack as a Treatment Counselor

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Keys (lanyard & badge combo)

I use my keys to open most of the locks on campus, such as the laundry room, bathroom, and food pantry. My badge is my form of ID when I transport the residents off-campus, to their doctor’s appointment or when I pick up or drop them off at school. 


This is necessary as I keep my driver’s license on me just in case I have to do transportation and money just in case I want to buy something to eat off the grounds.

Smart Phone

I use my phone to communicate with my coworkers for assistance or questions. Since supervising the clients requires you to be in and out of the cottage, my phone is also used to make emails when I am not able to go inside the office. When I take residents off campus, I will use my phone for Google maps.

Phone Charger

This is extremely important when you are with a resident off ground. You need to be in communication with your team to update your whereabouts and the status of the client. Also, you may be stuck in LA and not sure how to find your way back to the group home if you’re unfamiliar with the area. So a charger is a lifesaver!


To listen to podcasts or music when the kids are outside.

Expo Dry Erase Markers

I use them on the whiteboard. As a residential treatment counselor, I constantly update the board when residents are inside (H), outside (O), off-grounds, at Dr. Appts. or have a Child and Family Team meeting (CFT).


These let me feel incognito. When you’re working with passive-aggressive coworkers, sometimes you just need to pretend you are okay. 

Black pens

To write in the logbook.

Hand Sanitizer

To use when I’m not able to wash my hands. 


To keep lips from feeling dry.

Lip gloss

To feel halfway decent while working a 10-hour shift. 

Blotting Sheets

To keep the face from not shining. 


To feel good and be presentable to the world. 


It helps you look professional and look as if you tried.

Face Spray

To help the face from feeling dry and not shiny. 

Hair Ties

Just in case I lose one.

Snacks for the kids

It’s important they don’t feel hungry during their medical or court appointment because it can take a long time. I always have a few snacks when they say they are hungry, but already had their 2 snacks for the day. This snack can’t be seen by my coworkers. They do not want you to be nice to the residents. 

Uno Cards

For when the kids feel bored, which is usually always. There is literally nothing to do. 

Coloring Book

Also when the kids feel bored. Coloring can be calming and pass the time when you already played 10 or more games of Uno. 

Coloring Pencils

To use on the coloring books. Everything in the office is considered office supplies. But everything that is in there is to keep away from the resident. The staff doesn’t want the kids to mess up their coloring pencils, because “they bought them.”