Are all the houseparents at your facility couples or do you have any singles? Our facility is trying singles. Most are young and inexperienced. They have a helper AKA babysitter/assistant when they are on duty? Anybody seen this? Any thoughts????
I started out as a single HP. But it was a facility where the kids were much higher maintenance and most were stepping down from the psych ward. The facility really did not understand what they needed to do to bring in couples. Soon after my wife and I married we moved to a facility that was looking for couples.
IMO- The biggest issues I have seen with facilities hiring singles is they try to match a man and a woman in order to model a family style setting. Problem is the kids know they are not married and it seems more like a play act you put on for the kids, not to mention all the drama associated with the boy- girl thing, but the facilities that are struggling with finding couples almost have to hire singles to keep running the facility.
There are some awesome single HP’s out there. I know of many actually. The biggest problem is when a facility just runs an add in the local paper to fill the vacancy instead of using tools like this web site to find HP’s, single or married. Professional HP’s will come from all over the country to fill positions you have open IF you are interested in being a serious, professional ministry and not some hack outfit that only warehouses the kids. Since our facility has almost exclusively advertised and hired off the Houseparent Network site, there have been nothing but professional, ministry minded couples and singles hired here. The turnover rate is also ridiculously low since they have incorporated the network (13%).
We have single HP’s here, but they usually pair them up with the same gender (So as to avoid any soap opera stuff) and generally with the older teens. Every one of the singles here are extremely dedicated to what they do, which is a first for me. Couples are always more preferable to a facility, financially and in modeling family style living. But it just is not possible to fill all positions with qualified couples. There are more slots available then there are couples, especially for larger facilities.
We use singles as relief staff at my current facility. The lady that relieves in my cottage has been here for over 33 years.
The downside to singles is that they can only really keep the seams from bursting the week they are there. I always feel for them at those times my wife is gone and I have to run the cottage by myself. We try to make things easier on them by not scheduling appointments for the week they are on duty and trying to have everything in the cottage organized and scheduling sponsor and family visits during our relief so they have fewer kids to care for.
The upside for us is that we have a very low turnover in our relief staff. Being in a different place all the time and living out of your car just seems to be easier for a single person than for a couple and especially for a family. Our relief staff ladies have been here for 33 and 10 years. Our vacation relief staff couple, changes about every year.
At a former facility we had singles that they paired up in teams to be houseparents. Sometimes they paired them as male/female couples other times they were same sex teams. IMO it worked best when they paired same sex in teams in the same sex home. It was all about B-mod so there wasn’t any family modeling issues to deal with.
My biggest grief with singles at that facility was that they got paid more than married couples. The administration said that both the husband and wife could combine their income to pay their bills and singles couldn’t. This part blew my mind, they had no problem paying a brand new pair of singles a higher combined salary than their most experienced couple. If a single is doing the job of a couple they should be paid more, if they are being teamed up and doing the same job as a married couple, the team should be paid the same.
I foresee as a future trend the more therapeutic facilities continually moving to singles and shift work; however I see the residential foster care home model expanding which will use couples. I see more homes that will hire couples and provide them with a home, vehicle, groceries, and other things yet they will operate as an independent foster home with support of counselors, tutors, etc.