Second interview at a home, what to wear?


Our first interview was in an office, then a tour of the place. We wore very professional clothing but the scene was far more relaxed than we anticipated. The second interview is with a different director (they have more than one campus but you have to go through the first to get to the second) at one of the children’s homes. They want to show us how this home functions because it is a model for the new one opening (which they are considering us for). They are hoping to introduce us to some kids too. I’m confused as to what to wear. We usually dress professional- skirt, jacket, hose, and heels for me and black pants, nice shirt and tie for hubby (we are in tx so many professionals skip dress jackets). I’m afraid this could be too formal and off-putting though. I was considering wearing dress pants and keeping the rest the same- any thoughts?

Also we were not put “through the wringer” with role playing and tough questions. The hiring supervisor said she likes to ‘get a feel’ for people. We stayed overnight there and spent time with two families. It all seemed good but I worry a little bit about not being put through the wringer. At first we thought that would be done with the second interview but I don’t see that happening at a children’s home. Did any of y’all get hired this way and it all turn out ok?

Thanks for the input; I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts lately.



I personally think you are way overdresses for a houseparent interview. Khakis and a polo shirt for guys, khakis, and a blouse, sweater, or polo shirt for gals is appropriate for the initial meeting. Bring some jeans and t-shirts with you to change into if you find the home more casual.

I was always taught to wear slightly better than you will be working in and the only time we wear ties at the facility I work at is for board meeting, awards banquet, open house, and some wear them to Church. Our administrators wear khakis and polo shirts or t-shirts. Only the executives wear dress slacks and button up shirts and usually without the tie.

As far as the interview goes: I have worked at three facilities, my wife four, plus we have interviewed with at-least 6 other facilities and have never had to do role playing. We have had to(or would have had to) do it during training at some facilities. But don’t think they are not watching how you interact with the children and other staff. That type of interviewing is much more common at therapeutic facilities. Basic care children’s homes are much less formal, though it may not be such a bad idea to at least discuss some scenarios with prospective staff.

Relax, be honest and ask lots of questions.



There is one facility, also in Texas, that we interviewed at – we were dressed “business casual” and felt way underdressed – it seemed it was more a corporation than a children’s home. We turned down the job because of this reason. On one interview, I ended up ironing all the kid’s clothes for a special event they were having…. so I guess you never know what you will be doing. We never had to role play, but it seemed like we went through a lot of group interviews (several people asking my hubby and me the questions). Go with your gut, and show them your heart. Most importantly, be honest, and hopefully they will also be honest.

Good luck in your search.



I had interviews at two facilities a little while back. The first one my wife and I showed up and dressed like we were going to an awards banquet. I even spit shined my shoes. The interview went great, but we were stressed out and feeling very uncomfortable the entire time. But we were offered the job.

The second interview (the next day) we were very sure that we were going to the first facility. So we showed up to this interview wearing what we normally wear, flannel and jeans. I might have brushed my teeth that morning. My wife and I were very relaxed. The interview was MUCH more comfortable and flowed very naturally. Thankfully we decided to go for the second facility.

Is Houseparenting for me?

louisville parents


My name is Tim. My wife and I have been considering becoming house parents for several weeks now. Your material on has been very helpful to us, thank you. We will be making this decision within the next 6-12 months. We’d like to visit many homes and talk with lots of houseparents in the mean time.

So, I don’t even know what I don’t know. What questions should I be asking these homes and myself?


louisville parents

Ok, let me add a little bit here.

My wife Laura and I are both 28, we have been married 3yrs and we have a one year old daughter, Teresa.

I have worked as a campus pastor at the University of Louisville for 4 years.

Along with my work on campus I have attended seminary, and worked as a substitute teacher and freelance musician.

My wife worked as a secretary for two years and has been a stay at home mom since the birth of our daughter.

Both of us studied music education in college.

Basically, what we want to know is:

What do you wish you had known when considering becoming a houseparent?

What are the most important character traits and job skills we must have to be successful HPs?

If you could suggest one book to read to prepare for becoming an HP what would it be?



I would suggest two books: Respecting Residential Work with Children -By: James R. Harris Jr., M.A and No Such Thing As a Bad Kid!: Understanding and Responding to the Challenging behavior of Troubled Children and Youth — By: Charles D. Appelstein

I also recommend everything I and others have written on this site. The old forum archive has a lot of good information as well as the houseparent articles section.

There are many character traits that will make somebody a good houseparent: compassion, faith, motivation, etc. But, I think the most important is perseverance. There are many days you will just want to quit, even at the best facilities, and you need perseverance to keep going until you can see the good you do again, and there is a lot of good that a houseparent does.

I am sure there are others here that will be happy to share with you also.



I wish I would have known there were different models of facilities and procedures and had known the difference.

I wish I would have known about this site before my first HP job. 

I wish I would have known that there are other HP’s who only do this for a paycheck, nothing else.

As far as what you should ask these homes? Make sure you and your family can live with what they are providing in the package. Sleeping in the hayloft is fun during the spring but come winter…..

Being able to set up interviews at several facilities will also help you to see differences in style and procedures. Talk with other HP’s while you are at the facility. If the admin will not make arrangements for you to do so be careful, BIG RED FLAG.

After thinking about it for a while, I have to go with the webmaster on perseverance. Some days are gravy, others you pray for an early death. It is a very emotional environment. You will get attached to the kids. But it’s the greatest ministry on earth! 



Definitely read through the old forum questions – extremely informative.

I think good, solid houseparenting boils down to simply this…

unconditional love, consistent consequences

These two things are your greatest tools in modifying behavior. But they are much easier said than done at times!!

How soon should we start applying?


I may have asked this before but I am wondering how soon should we start applying for jobs. We are not going to be ready until next July at the earliest. That is when we are going to be moving back down south. I am so anxious to talk to some facilities but don’t want to jump the gun either. So my experienced friends what do you think.



Everyone’s situation is different. 11 months before you want to move would be a little too far out for me personally.

But it would be a good time to research and find out all you can about certain facilities before even applying. Research the local areas around the facility and see if it will be something you and your family will be comfortable with. Some like being out in the sticks, while others are more comfortable with the suburbs. Coming from Upstate NY your husband may be shocked as I was at the complete lack of glorious trout in the south and the total lack of respect for anyone that dares to cast a fly out on a pond.  (But it will never snow in May here)

Look for churches in the area that you might be interested in, pastors in a facility’s area will also have more firsthand knowledge of the facility. Chances are good they may have projects with the facility or at the very least know someone who works there.

Then again, carpet bombing facilities now with your resume may open up some doors for you and your family early. You may go to a facility for an interview, and everything will fall into place. But if your still not ready- it would be good for them to know you and your family, so when next summer rolls around and your ready to make the move they will have your resume and they will have a better feel for you. Remember, a lot of these places have high turn-overs. 



Thanks Launchpad,

You crack me up with your fishing (I am more of a fisherman than my husband he is an off roader) anyways. We are actually native southerners. We are both originally from Texas and are transplanted here in NY. We are excited to get back to more laid back people and life style. We love Buffalo but it is time to be home. Thanks for the advice. I feel like that is all I do is research facilities which is why I am so excited to send in our info, but I have not thought about hooking up with pastors in the area, what a great idea. Thank you. We appreciate it. Talk to you later.

Interview to Hire How long?


Sorry about all the newbie questions! About how long did it take between interview (or 1st and 2nd interview if you had more than one) and getting a call? We are willing to wait until the best place is found and are not expecting to jump into the first place we interview, but with moving and all we need some kind of plan. We return to the USA April 1st, then interview during April. If we should expect to wait 2-6 weeks or longer, we’ll need to make plans for somewhere to stay in the interim.



As difficult as it is to find good, quality houseparents – and with all the opportunities out there – I’d expect to hear from a prospective employer within 10-14 days. That’s about what it is here anyway.



At our first facility we were offered a position before we left from the interview.

At our second facility, we made a huge mistake and didn’t go and interview at the facility. We did it all over the phone and they offered us a position sight unseen after about 3 weeks of conversations back and forth over the phone and by E-mail

At our current facility, I called them after about a week to see how things were and how they were leaning and they offered it to me then.

We applied at a couple of other places a while back and always heard in about a week what their decision was.




I have to say that if you were indeed offered a position at the first interview then most likely that facility is very desperate

They were in great need of houseparents, but we had also gone through a 2 hour phone interview, completed our 20 page application and had our background checks finished. Plus the on-site interview lasted for 3 days, so it wasn’t like they hired us after talking to us for 5 minutes.

I like to think they knew they were hiring the future webmaster of The Houseparent Network

If your facility expects multiple on-site interviews, they either have a huge budget to reimburse for travel or do most of their hiring locally. Most houseparent applicants don’t have the money to travel out of pocket for interviews very often.



Not only would a facility have to have a huge budget to provide travel but who has the time to go on several interviews? We took a week when we were first looking and visited three different homes. We were offered jobs at all, and took our time deciding. We chose the one we spent the least amount of time at as that is where we felt God wanted us to be. I do have to say at this point, I feel he is calling us elsewhere. If it was up to me, I would research every job available in the location you want. They don’t have to be advertising on the houseparent website to have an opening. Look at the facility directories that are listed, and check on their websites – we found a lot of good information that way.



We came to look at our facility and spoke with the houseparents that were here at the time. We came in for an interview about a week later. We were offered the job during the interview.



One of my best friends decided to move from one facility to another. He made a spread sheet of all the facilities he thought he would be interested in (From the HP Network of course) and started calling around. He had a spread of over thirty facilities complete with salary, benefits, comp time, housing options and other criteria that was important to him and his wife.

After a month he had several offers. But he took his time and worked down the list to 5 facilities. He told me some of the determining factors in his decision:

  1. 1. Facility does not return phone call or cannot give a candidate a up or down decision in two weeks- FORGET IT.
  2. 2. Program- How the facility was ran, what impact it was having on the kids.
  3. 3. School system (For his bio)
  4. 4. Housing conditions
  5. 5. Benefits

It is a ministry, but if a place you interviewed at cannot call after two weeks with a yea, nea or just to check in and let you know they are still interviewing, shows a total lack of professionalism on their part. I personally would lose interest in them. Don’t forget- you are interviewing them as well. Fact is, if there is a question in your mind about this place being even a little shady or uncomfortable for your taste, move on. I wish I would have at one point.

At the moment we have an advantage of more job opportunities than people. Facilities that fail to be professional and invest in staff will suffer.

Prospective Houseparents Former student looking to make a difference


I am a 25 year old graduate of Milton Hershey School. My wife and I are interested in pursuing a career as house parents and are looking for more information to help decide which facility is best for us. Location isn’t an issue, and we’d be willing to pretty much anywhere. As a graduate of Milton Hershey, I understand the importance a houseparent plays in the life of a student, and I dream of an opportunity to return the service that was provided to me as a student of a similar school. We currently live in NE Texas, and both work at an after school recreation facility and summer day camp at a local church.

Particular details about the type of facility we are looking for include a few different criteria. While we dont mind working with troubled kids, we do not have an interest in working with mentally unstable or special needs children, as I feel completely unqualified to work in that environment. We are looking for locations that may accept a pet or two (I’ve found a good deal of information about this in a previous thread.) Also, we are looking for a location that does not have a problem with young/less experienced houseparents. My wife has been working in child care for approximately 10 years, while I have only worked 1 year relative experience, I do think my experience as a student at a similar school must count for something.

Anyway, if anyone can help guide us in the right direction, any information would be greatly appreciated.



The most difficult part of your criteria will be finding a facility that will allow pets, there seems to be less and less of them all the time and although regulation is usually what is blamed, but I think the true blame can be placed of those few irresponsible staff that allowed their pets to be a problem. When you look at facilities, it wouldn’t be the first thing I asked about, but if it is really important for you, it should surely be a question early in the process.

There are many facilities that will not have mentally unstable or special needs kids in the sense of handicap’s or disabilities, but as you know all the kids in care have special needs as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment, etc.

As far as being young, there is always going to be somebody that will be suspicious of your age. There will often be that staff member that thinks you are just going to be try and be peers with the kids. Your professionalism when you start will go a long way in changing those perceptions. I know many houseparents that have started young and are respected and very successful.

I do have one word of advice for you as far as your experience in a facility when it comes to the kids in your care, and I share this from my own personal experience. My wife was in foster care and I should have been. When we first started as houseparents we thought the kids would be encouraged by the fact that we had experienced something similar in our youth, turns out they couldn’t care less. They felt that our situation was nothing like their situation; therefore we couldn’t possibly understand what they were going through. After going through that a few times, we simply decided to keep our past to ourselves and use the experience of our past make us better houseparents. To be more compassionate, understanding and caring as well as being really good at the cat and mouse game that youth can play. We still have kids that are amazed that we would think to look there, where ever that may be or how we can tell something is wrong, even when they are trying to appear normal.

I hope your search for a position goes well. I hope you will find tons of information on this forum/site and if you can’t find an answer to a question you have please ask it. Chances are somebody here has the answer or at least a piece of the answer and if you can get enough pieces together you will have something substantial. Welcome. 



Thank you for your response! In terms of my pets, its not necessarily something that will keep me from accepting a position, but it is definitely something I’d obviously prefer. In terms of my experience as a student, I don’t think it is an advantage so much as you had stated, the experience I was referring to as a student was more related to my extensive inner knowledge of how a home is run (at least at MHS). I was a leader as a student within my home, and continue to be a strong leader in my adulthood.

I feel that do to my youth, children relate well with me, however I do try to be an authoritative/parental figure, more than just a friend. What I didn’t mention in the previous post is that I would prefer to work with younger children (k-5th grade) as that is what my wife and I have the most experience with.



That is the age group that my wife and I have worked with the last 6 years. I think they are easier to work with mentally, but much harder physically. However in our case, long term residential foster care, it is MUCH harder on you emotionally when they leave.

It is great that you were a leader in your house, and that information you have about the workings of a home, will truly benefit you.

Renters insurance and first interview overview


I’ve been re-reading the topics on the other forum and the issue of personal property came up. Do any of y’all hold renters insurance? I’m not even sure if we would qualify.

We had our first interview a few weeks ago with an agency that we really like. It was held at their primary location but they really wanted to interview us for a different location. It was a little surprising because we expected the interview to be the next day and it was conducted the moment we got there (we were not informed of the change of plans). It was ok though, but odd because we expected it to be formal.

Our interviewer was very open and honest. She told us what to expect, females that would come onto the father figure, etc. After about an hour, maybe less, we went onto the campus and looked around. We went to one house (that was NOT expecting us, lol) and joined a Halloween party. It was great, kids everywhere, food being cooked, decorations on the floor. I was afraid it would be so uptight and institutionalized but I didn’t feel that at all. The next home was the one we spent more time with. We met the family, older girls, and made plans for church the next day. After that we had the evening alone in an unoccupied home. It was nice, upkeep except that the paint had peeled and been repainted on all the closet doors from being slammed repeatedly.

We attended church and then ate out with the teenage girl family. The couple had been there 18 years total. They had left and gone other places a couple of times but came back. They were a much older couple and the kids seemed to respect them. The girls asked us questions and talked about themselves during lunch. There were times that they could have told us bad things but they didn’t.

The second interview is with the director from the location we are wanting to go. There is only one home in a neighborhood there and they are opening another in the same city. We are meeting at the first home for the interview. I get the feeling its more to get a feel for us than an interview.

The schedule would be 15 days on, 8 days off. We really like this because we own a home three hours away, and most of our family lives near our home. My grandmother and one sister also live where we would be houseparenting.

Oh and the position would be with 6 boys, age 10-18. We are young with no kids so I’m hoping this will work well for us. If anyone could share what to expect with basic care teenage boys, please do.

I had to add this, it cracked me up 

Thanks everyone, esp momofmany and 



My wife and I have renter’s insurance on our stuff. It was no problem to get thru our previous homeowner’s insurance company.

Our first cottage was also Jr. and High school boys – “basic care”. I’m not going to detail our experience because it might scare you. However, they may treat you as if the house is “their turf” and you have no right to tell them what to to in it. This can be a constant struggle until the passage of time or the turnover of kids.



I don’t have renter’s insurance but I probably should. However, everything I have that is most valuable I keep at my house, and have homeowners insurance. Everything I keep at the cottage is my second set and although I would lose financially if it was damaged, I just don’t want to pay for anymore insurance.

There are others at my facility that have everything they own at the cottage and carry Renter’s Insurance.


My car insurance company (Erie) offered me a big discount on renters insurance. We carry 50K dollars worth because we own a lot of nice electronics.



TexPop is right – it is their turf – and you are invading their space! On our first day, the oldest kid in the cottage bowed up to my husband (former Marine, and not real small) and asked why do I have to say sir to you – why do I owe you respect as this is MY house, you are new here, and I have seen a lot of houseparents come and go? My husband QUICKLY informed him that he was hired to be the houseparent, and deserves the respect because we will be taking care of him. My husband reassured him that if the kid ever did not respect us, we should talk. The kid actually seemed to respect that. Just don’t try to be their friend right off the bat – it never worked for us. Both sides have to earn trust.

Two important things that I was told that have stuck with me – It is not about you AND Don’t take anything personally. Although I am in my 40s, I quite often start singing Jesus Loves Me this I know, for the Bible tells me so ……… because constantly reminding yourself of God’s love, you can endure any arrow satan is shooting your direction.

Good Luck, and God Bless.

What to search for?


Ok, question number 2. As we search for a position, what am I looking for in an organization? What kind of questions do I ask? Also, how do you as houseparents not come to the place of burnout? I am making a huge move with my family to another state possibly, and I do not want to get burned out of this job. Just searching for some Godly Wisdom on this area



I have never replied before, I am the webmasters wife, but we have been houseparents for almost 10 years and as for your question about burning out. There is no easy answer because I believe this is a calling from God and when things get hard, and they will, he will give you the strength. My best advice is to pray a lot and have other people also pray. This is a life altering move and there are a lot of tough days but if this is what God has asked you to do you will lead you path and he will always make that clear to you even on the days when it looks dark. God has always blessed us, protected our birth children and given us children that we would not be the same people without. We work in a facility that is 1000’s of miles away from our extended family and yet he has sent us wonderful Godly people to fill that void. I guess what I am trying to say is give this to God and he will not let you down. 



I am not a houseparent yet (my husband and I start on January 2), so I don’t really have an expert opinion. But I do know that these questions you are struggling with were on the forefront of our minds as well. We have been especially worried about the burnout issue. We are giving up careers, and we don’t want to just be houseparents for one year and then start new careers all over again. Our pastor said something during his sermon recently that really helped us feel confident to take this plunge…

God will never ask you to do something that does not require you to have full faith in Him.

That fact really resonated with us. Houseparenting takes a lot of faith, and it does not really make sense to the natural mind. Working 24 hours a day, with someone else’s kids, for very little pay – those aren’t qualities that we would normally look for in a job. But, throughout the Bible, God is constantly asking people to have faith and follow His direction in situations that make no sense to the natural mind. And in all of those Bible stories that we know so well (Noah and the Ark for just one example), God provides above and beyond the human expectation.

There is a reason that God wants us in houseparenting, and what God ordains, He sustains.

I hope that some of this helps. It’s all stuff that we already know, but sometimes it just helps to hear it again before taking such a huge leap of faith. I know it has helped us! God bless you!



Thank you all for your responses. I am taking one step at a time. We believe with all of our hearts that God is calling us to be Houseparents. It is a big leap of faith, and I am glad there is this forum to help us in our decision process. The Lord brings into our lives forerunners that can help us in our ministry. To show us what to do and not to do. This is all new to us, so we will take any advice we can get. Thanks again.

Also please pray for God’s direction as we are fasting and praying for these next 3 days for this decision.



Hey there! DH and I just secured our job so I remember these questions keenly. Here is what spoke to us about organizations (the one we almost got hired at and then found out later they had a bad rep for houseparents, and the one we accepted the job at)

In interview:

Do they want you to communicate with other houseparents? I’m talking more than meeting for lunch, are you allowed to hang out with a family and do activities (go to church, eat dinner) If you are allowed limited contact or no contact with houseparents- that’s a big red flag! Facilities that take care of their houseparents will be eager for you to see how happy their staff is! And don’t be afraid to ask either, a facility may not offer but once you ask to spend a day with them, will allow it.

Do they admit their problems? Do they let you know up front that some kids might be violent? (our facility admitted it could be a problem and provides non-violent restraint training but it has only had a few instances) Or do they deny it will ever be a problem and look at you like you are crazy? Denying problems that you know have to be an issue with troubled kids is a big red flag.

Do they let you check out the grounds and homes? We received a tour but were not allowed into the homes at one place and found out later that probably meant BIG red flag. Our current facility let us spend the night in a home.

Do they let you share your faith? One place that called themselves Christian would not allow hps to talk about God, just take the kids to the church on campus. I would have had a real problem with that since faith is the only way dh and I can handle this job.

Lastly, do you feel a connection with the people at the facility? DH and I didn’t know that would happen since we didn’t feel it the first place we interviewed at. Once we found the place God led us to, there was a huge difference, a feeling of rightness. A LOT of prayer went into our search and decision.

It sounds like you guys are approaching this exactly the way it should be- as a ministry.

Oops- forgot the burnout question. Our current facility (the main campus) has several hps that have been there 18 years. That spoke volumes to us. Then, the branch-off campus where we will be working has had the same hps, same director for five years and that’s as long as it has been running. You could see that the hps and the director liked and cared about each other (the hps were in on the interview). I think finding out the average time of turnover helps. The national average is 6 months. The place that had a bad rep w/hps had a 3 year rate so sometimes the statistics can lie.

Good luck and prayers!

First Houseparent Interview

Hello! My husband and I are going across the country a few weeks for our first houseparent interview. The interview will last for 2 days. We will stay in the home for that period. How can we best prepare ourselves for this interview? What is an on-sight interview like? Do you know what kind of questions may be asked us? Thanks for the help and insight!

How can we best prepare ourselves for this interview?

It sounds like you already have by doing a lot of research. All of the interviews I have ever been on are very casual and are more like a visit than an interview. Wear nice casual clothes: good jeans or khakis, collar pull over shirt or sweater, or even a nice t-shirt style shirt without any writing or messages. Some facilities may not like you WWF, Black Sabbath, or “My Wife Thinks I’m a Stud” shirt. Avoid the suit and tie, skirt and blouse thing. We showed up at our first interview so overdressed and felt completely out of place.

What is an on-sight interview like?

It is like a visit. You will get a tour of the facilities, will visit with administrators either individually or as a group, visit a cottage and usually spend a day or several hours hanging around a cottage. Just try to be relaxed, honest and natural.

Do you know what kind of questions may be asked us? Thanks for the help and insight!

They may ask questions to determine your style and philosophies of teaching, disciplining children, if it is a Christian home; what your spiritual beliefs are, your testimony. You may have to take a personality test, or they may ask a bunch of “what if” questions, for example if you walk into a room and two children are in the middle of a sexual act – what would you do or A child is in his room breaking furniture and tearing up other things what would you do? In about the 10 interviews I have been on I have only been asked “what ifs” twice.

Just relax and do your best to enjoy yourself don’t get too stress and follow your gut. If your heart is saying something like this just ain’t right, you should probably listen to it. Also if its right you will just know it.


Debt a Hindrance in Getting Hired?

The places we have interviewed at have a section to sign that says they are running criminal background and credit checks. I am worried about the credit check keeping us from getting the job. We had great credit last year when we bought our house but we do have a lot of debt. We’ve never missed a payment. Is it debt that they are looking for or bad history of not paying? We have about 40K in student loans, less than 2K on a car (the other is paid off, which I hope will help our credit), and roughly 8K on credit cards, plus our house mortgage. Has anyone had experience with this? Has anyone had debt and gotten hired?

I have definitely been hired with some huge debt. I personally have not had debt be a factor in any interviews except in the military with a security clearance. I have heard a lot of places are now checking and in some professions it actually can be a deciding factor when choosing between otherwise qualified candidates.

I would be honest with any debt issues if it comes up, I’ve made some horrible financial decisions in the past. I would hope I could present, and the employer could see, the potential for a great house parent- not necessarily as the accountant. 

We had one place ask us about debt but he gave a good explanation. We all know that houseparenting isn’t exactly a top-dollar job. He said that he’s found if potential houseparents have too much debt they are more likely to leave when the going gets tough. You can imagine something thinking, “Boy, this job is a lot harder than I imagined plus I get paid peanuts and can’t get my debt paid down….” The explanation made sense to me.
My place of employment uses this and it has been a deciding factor on more than one occasion, but I think it’s a bad idea to use credit checks for employment purposes. My wife and I had terrible credit for years because we were young and stupid (we were married at 19) and we’re still rebuilding it!
Our place of employment listened to us and understood, but sadly I don’t think everyone does this. Here, the people who interview change from time to time and while I am not sure of this, I suspect the newest person thinks those with poor credit are an instant no.

I know many people who struggle to pay their bills who would be WONDERFUL house parents. Working where I do would actually help them with their struggles! To disqualify them for struggling is wrong imo.

I think it’s acceptable to look at someone’s credit and to bring it up with potential employees, but you can’t use it as a determining factor. Insurance companies do this now too and I think it should be against the law. Some of my friends have had terrible employment issues (hard to find work) and got behind on their bills, but they are GOOD drivers.

The entire “credit check” usage has gotten way out of hand. Do you know every time someone checks your credit it hurts your rating? I went to six car dealers on week and the last one I went to showed me how poor my rating looked because the 5 before him ran a credit check on me! If your rating can be damaged that easily something’s wrong with the system.

Rarely have I heard of a facility that will deny employment based on debt, It is much more common for potential houseparents to disqualify themselves based on their dept situation.

I have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle and can honestly say that I wouldn’t be able to work for a facility similar to the first one I worked for, because I wouldn’t make enough money. My teenage children would break me.

I do agree with what the administrator told “Sunshine” If you are carrying a lot of debt and struggling just to get by, you will be much more likely to quit and do something else when it gets difficult. You sacrifice so much of yourself to be a houseparent emotionally and physically that unless you are content financially and spiritually you will bail.

Advice on Interviews and Being Rejected

by Launchpad
Interviews are kinda like a first date. By the end of the night you have a pretty good idea if you want to have a second date or run away- fast.

I have to admit that I hate waiting by the phone for the much anticipated call back. So much of your life and future rides on that call and if you’re like my wife and I, we definitely build ourselves up and think positively that they will offer the position. So when the call comes in that we didn’t make the cut, it feels like someone just kicked you in the stomach.

I guess it would be nice to have them explain what it was that made them turn you down, but it’s not the norm. Besides that, you may have a hard time getting an honest, clear answer as to why they turned you down. Most people have a hard time giving effective feedback. In other words, no one likes feeling like a jerk.

Here’s how I approach an interview.

1. Never, ever, ever bash your former facility. Even if you were working for Satan himself, find a neutral way to explain your time there. Obviously you left for some reason, just don’t go out of your way to make the former facility look like the bad guy, or else YOU WILL look like the bad guy.

For example, my first facility was tough. Notice I said “Tough”, not “The miserable S.O.B’s will surely burn in a fiery pit”. I try to let the interviewers know that the kids we worked with were coming out of psychiatric units and were very aggressive and behaviorally challenged. Notice I said “Aggressive” not “The children were miserable and out of control”.

All of this may seem like common sense, but I have seen and heard of many interviews where couples were very angry with a former facility and described the kids and facility as being horrible.

2. Never “Vent” during an interview. No matter how well you think things are going, pouring your heartaches and issues out never works out well and makes you look like an emotional wreck. Leave the sob stories for your Pastor, Counselor or Bartender.

3. When they ask what your wife’s weakness is, don’t say “Compassion”. (This actually happened with a couple I recommended for an interview here).

4. When they ask what your husband’s weakness is do not say “Responsibility”. (Same couple as noted in #3).

5. Do not walk in with a list of demands. You are kinda on their turf. You can either play by their rules or you can take your ball and go home.

6. Dress like you want the job. Everyone knows that we are House Parents, sweat pants and flip flops are part of the uniform on most days. But when you walk into the office looking like you just came off a fishing trip with your buddies it says that you have no respect for any authority or leadership. Get the slacks out, dust off your suit that you only wear for marrying and burying, and walk in there like you mean business.

7. Be human. It’s ok to be yourself and have a sense of humor. The more comfortable you are, and seem, the better your chances are. Stay away from the one liner jokes like “A priest walks into a bar…..”

8. The interview is a two way street. You are checking them out as much as they are checking you out. It’s totally like a blind date. Some interviews may seem like a gorgeous woman, others will be like a fat, hairy guy with plumbers crack. In both cases you still remain polite, but you want to see the woman again not me, err, the fat, hairy guy with belt adjustment issues.

9. Apply to multiple facilities that are of interest to you. You are not married to a facility because you applied there and are anxiously awaiting a phone call like some 16 year old prom date wannabe. Play the field and throw out a few resumes, see who bites. The worse that will happen is they, or you, will say “No thanks”.

10. Never compromise your moral integrity. If a facility believes and practices abortion or some other issue you have problems with, do not compromise your values for the job. It will never work out, and will make you feel like a cheap, dirty person. It’s just not worth it.

And lastly, always remember you are expendable. All facilities expect turn over and they get it. While working the front lines is a ministry you need to always keep in mind that you are absolutely replaceable should you become a little to full of yourself. I have seen a lot of couples come and go because they begin to feel like they know better than everyone else and choose to play by their own rules. Fortunately I have a wife who does a great job at bursting my bubble and keeping me humble every-time I start feeling like I’m Mr. Residential Child Care Guy.

Basic Care vs Intensive Supervision


I would like to hear from some that have worked both.
My wife and I have only experienced intensive care type facilities where we deal with multiple diagnosed DCFS kids that have blown through numerous placements and have many issues or kids on Probation for rather serious crimes.

Our days are filled with Therapy Appointments, Court Dates at Juvenile Hall, Drug Court, Treatment Centers and Probation Officers. Although there are only 6 kids in our care we have not a moment for ourselves and seldom for each other between 7AM and 10PM.

We recently interviewed for a Basic Care facility with up to 12 kids in placement. Although the interviewing staff seemed impressed with our qualifications it all seemed so foreign to us and I found it difficult to comprehend how we would ever have any quality time or moments with twice the kids.

Yet many of you not only do it AND you do it while raising your own children.

Can any of you relate experiences from working both? We love what we do and the kids in our care but there is nothing close to “homelike” in our current situation.

The Home we ran before this one settled in after about 4 months with the same kids but other than dinner as a “family” type unit it wasn’t much more “homelike” either.


My wife and I started in a group home that was primarily for delinquents and child in need of supervision (CHINS) kids, it had a level system, therapy, courts and all the other stuff that goes with that type of care. We did it for two years but found we didn’t want to raise our children in that type of a home.

We have been in Basic care for 5 years now at a home in Mississippi. Our children are now 10 & 13. It has been a good experience for them, for the most part. We have been able to experience things and places we never would have been able to in a 9-5 job setting. We were always home when they got out of school, they were able to attend camps I otherwise couldn’t afford to send them two, as well as all the extra activities that are donated that I couldn’t afford.

On the other hand there have also been some real sacrifices. We work a 29 day shift, with 6 days relief. Usually the second to last week we are pretty tired and downright sluggish the last week. The first day of relief is usually spent sleeping and resting. Also when it comes to being able to attend a function that the kids participate in, our birth children’s functions are usually trumped by our home children’s function. Because we don’t take government money and have to spend our funds thriftily, we usually have to wear several different hats (grounds keeper, mechanic, handyman, etc), so we are always busy doing something. On top of that in my cottage, our ages range from 2 years old to 13 years old, so we have to do all the things the little kids can’t do for themselves. We are very tired.

I believe that both types of care have their advantages and disadvantages; it just depends on what type you are comfortable with. My wife and I have decided after 7 years as houseparents to take a break from houseparenting in general. In one month, I will be the full time computer guy, for the home we are currently at, and she is looking forward to having her own home and a job with 8 hour shifts for a while. When our kids are grown, we may go back into childcare, in a therapeutic type facility, we’ll see.


My husband and I have been in three different facilities. The first was a very strict, we even had monitors to listen to them in their rooms at night. I felt like I was in jail. We then went to a facility in Waco and it had 12 boys, we started making it a family run home. We did have level systems and campus planned activities. There were a lot programs. The Lord then led us to San Antonio where we are working in setting that is just like having our own children, they come and go like a real family. We take vacations, one year to D.C., this year to Atlanta and Destin, FL. They can drive the car with a learners permit, we buy their clothes, decorate the home with our taste. It is heaven. We work 10 days on and 5 off. We did however have to learn to balance our own time. It becomes so much like your family that you need to be aware of your own time. We do have an opening for a relief. 5 days at girl’s house and 5 days at boy’s house. We only have two homes on this campus.

Questions to Ask Facility

Philippians 4v4

Greetings all. We are prayerfully considering becoming houseparents. We are considering basic care (dorm parents at boarding school, etc.) and maternity care. We have been married for almost 8 years and have 3 young children (5, 3 and 8 months). From your experience, what are the questions you would ask the home/facility.

Thank you for your input. It is greatly appreciated.


First of all i salute you for stepping out as to becoming House parents with 3 children of your own. We have 4 and it has been very beneficial and rewarding for our own Children to share in the Ministry that the Lord has bestowed upon us.

First of all i would ask if the facility welcomes a couple with 3 children it will save you a lot of time and expense before pursuing your adventure in the direction of certain Facilities. There are a great deal of those who will not allow but only 2 or less but there are some that will welcome you with 3 or even 4 children of your own. I would ask them how large is the House parents living quarters we have found that there are those places that has 3 to 4 bedrooms and will go out of their way in helping you out by being flexable in your schedule especially when there is training to be done they either have that many children of their own or there are house parents who has 3 or more children and the leadership knows what it takes for those house parents to be able to care for their children as well as those children given to them to look after.

And there are those who will flat out tell you it cannot be done with 3 or more children but we know different for we have attempted and with Christ’s help have accomplished such tasks. DO NOT DISAPOINTED when you hear such foolishness they apparently have never seen or had anyone with that many children do child care. It is also very beneficial if they allow you to stay in your own apartment when you have time off so that you will not have to drag your family to a staff house , this helps a great deal. God does and is calling even ones with large families in the Ministry of Child care .

We will keep you in our prayers as you allow God to lead you to that perfect place to meet the needs of you and your family.


My biggest suggestion is to spend as much time at the facility as you can during the interview, 2 or 3 days if possible. An hour or two at a facility will not give your a very good feel for the workings of the facility and you won’t get a very good idea of what houseparenting is all about. Also visit with as many different staff members as you are allowed to. Ask them about the good and bad parts of their position, what they enjoy and what frustrates them.

Remember that even in Basic Care (boarding school, maternity home, residential care home) there is a great deal of therapy that takes place. Just the situations that lead up to being in a facility, will bring with it baggage that will lead to behaviors that need to be dealt with. It is not like raising your own children and requires training that hopefully the facility will provide.

I agree with Gracecountry about accommodations, the more space that you have and the less moving that you have to do the better. I have two children in our first home we had 110 square feet for all of us and had to move every other week. Very difficult. We now have three bedrooms and move once a month. The moving is still difficult.

I have been in childcare for almost 8 years; my children were fairly young when I started (5 & 2). In our case this is true; It is a whole lot easier doing childcare when your children are young. As they get older and they wish to become more involved with school and church activities it becomes more difficult for them. Trying to balance time between your birth children and home children becomes more difficult.

Also the number of children you are required to care for makes a big difference in your ability to do it with birth children. Two people can effectively care for only so many people and state regulations many times only allow you to care for so many children. A home that has 6 kids in the cottage and you have 3 of your own you have 9 kids, very manageable. A home that has 10 or 12 kids in the cottage and you have 3 of your own you have 13 or 15 kids, not so manageable. Each situation is different. In a boarding school situation you will be responsible for more children than you will in a maternity home situation.

One thing I have learned since I started in childcare is that each and every facility is different and it is very hard to make generalized statements about childcare and the situations you will face. You need to look at each facility you consider and if possible look at several facilities before you accept a position. Especially never having been houseparents. By looking at several facilities you will be able to compare situations and find the one that has the positives and negatives that fit you best, for their will surely be positives AND negatives with each situation. Be Blessed and I pray that God will lead you in this search, and you will sense His direction.

Yes so true as the Webmaster has mention, it is very important to visit a facility and stay there for a few days. This will let you have a great opportunity to get to know the folks as well as the facilities opportunities.

Please take your time and allow God to lead you to the right place for this is a position that will be asking for a long term commitment.

God speed to you and yours

Grace and Peace
I would definitely stay as long as they would let you. And ask the kids that are there how they like it. And I know they don’t want to be there, so they might not say anything positive.

Ask the Administrators, how long they have been doing this and their experience.

We had the bookkeeper take over, and it was horrible for us. He would band-aid problems, didn’t take the State requests/requirements seriously.

Pray about it and then pray some more.
We had a teen boy in with other teen boys and it was O.K. he became a mentor. And was able to reach them in a way we couldn’t. He could go worship in Church and it meant something else for the others to see. Some facilities require one to push ‘religion’ down the kids throats, and I believe to life it in front of them.

One staff had CD’s that weren’t allowed for the boys and he’d tell them ‘NO, you can’t listen to that.’ But it was O.K. for him to listen to them.

I will remember you in prayer.

Urgent Question., What do we wear for the interview?

Good morning. We usually get dressed up at the business level for interviews. Angie wears dresses, and I wear suits. What is the typical dress level for a houseparent interview?


I have never been to a houseparent interview where a suit was needed and in many cases if you do you will be dressing above virtually everybody but the top executive. We showed up at our first interview dressed as I describe below and we were even over dressed for the Executive Director. He was in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers.

I would say that in 95% of all cases wearing the following would be totally appropriate. Men/Boys: Nice collared shirt, khaki style slacks, casual dress shoes. Women/Girls: Casual dress or nice slacks and a blouse or sweater. That attire would be good for your initial introductions.

If you stay for more than a day, you will probably find yourself in jeans and a t-shirt or casual collared shirt to match everybody else.

If you are in doubt, feel free to call Nancy and ask her, I am sure she would not want you to feel out of place.


IMO, You do not want to over dress. You are going to an environment where there are going to be children not business people. I have dressed dressy casual for interviews at children’s homes. No jeans but not a Sunday morning dress. If you are going to be around any of the kids for any reason you do not want to be overly conscious of their fingers being dirty or whatever. You should look nice and like you care but you are not going to an interview for bank president or CEO of a company. Take into consideration the environment. Are you going to the campus or are you going to a business office that makes a difference too.


Thanks for the advice. I have actually been to interviews, in other fields, where I knew I was not hired, and sometimes even not interviewed, because I was toooo over dressed. lol

newbees, insight


July 11, 2005 my wife & I report to a facility for 2 weeks of training. After training, we report to another location 45 miles away. It seems there is a high turnover rate there. We will be living in a 4500sf home with 6 to 8 children. The facility is rather remote, 45 min. to 1 hr. from civilization.
We met only a trainer/interviewer, director & administrator. No parents or children. We toured one home while no one was there.
Without sugar coating, would someone give us some insight as to what to really expect. We are self employed & will be giving up our business to do what we believe is our calling. We are going into this with a long term commitment & just need a little reassurance from someone not affiliated with the facility.
We will be 17 on, 4 off. Benefits after 90 days and a salary of $3000/mo. after probation. Just need that extra nudge if you know what I mean
Thanks for any input!


Welcome aboard.

Child care will either break you or make you but please don’t let this bring fear but just a willingness to be teachible in entering a new world as this. Very rewarding indeed surrendering all to become House Parents to those children less fortunate than us or our children. When My wife and I began over 10 yrs back as Child care workers in Ministry we was analyzing everything and had soooo many questions starting out .
Most are indeed called in this type of lifestyle and will meet many challenges along the way but also they will accomplish a great deal too. You will have some very stressful days I can assure of you that and you will ask yourself what have I gotten myself into but then after a long relaxing time away in a cool tub of refreshing water or a time away in your little private get away area to listen to either music or just read a book you will find a time of refreshing moments that will enable you to get the Armour back on and hit the front lines Hey but there are also many great times of joyous events also and you will have a blast working with the children within a few months or more you will notice a bond between you and your kids that are in your care. You will learn what makes them tick and what sets them off you will become their punching bag mentally that is because these kids are most of the time being removed from their homes and parents and that is a great trauma in their lives so you will experience much anger and resentment from them but do not take it personally because they are actually either angry at their parents or case workers for the move or just plain angry at life at the moment.

You will be fine you will do a great job .there is a great shortage in house parents
and so you are a blessing from God to enter the world of House parenting you will need to get familiar with other house parents that has been doing it for a while they will be of much encouragement and support and hopefully you will have the support of the staff there in the Administration offices, you will learn this during your initial training and as time goes on.
We will be praying for the both of you as you start on your journey with the rest of us. Once again it is a pleasure to see yall become House Parents may God always give you wisdom in the tough times and compassion toward those in your care.


IMO High Turnover usually = Poor Training or a Lack of Support.

Make sure your 2 weeks of training count and are not just 2 weeks of paperwork procedures. You need a firm grasp of a Crisis Intervention system as well as a solid understanding of whatever behavior modification system is in place in order to feel a sense of confidence from day to day in yourself.

Being 45 miles away from “civilization” could also mean being an hour or more away from therapists and support staff to assist in interventions.

Make the most of your training and ask EVERYTHING that comes to mind.

Most organizations tend to have you shadow another set of house parents for at least a couple of days before injecting you into a home.

The “remoteness” of the placement could be a big factor in the turnover rate.

Expect as well as insist on support and let the Agency know up front of your misgivings and don’t get “trapped”

The hardest and probably most important lesson to learn is to “Care for the Caregiver”.

Meaning your own physical and mental health are tantamount to your potential for success.

Stop in here a lot with questions.

We’ll try to help

Interview, Travel Expenses


Should I expect the facility that wants to interview me to pay for my travel expenses for the interview?


Hmmm, good question. Ask the employer, “Will your facility cover travel expenses for the interview?”
I strongly encourage you to be on top of questions such as these in order to establish early on that you
1. are able to communicate perhaps uncomfortable questions and situations 2. Have a clear understanding of EXACTLY what is being presented. For instance, starting out as respites we were offered a private bedroom and bathroom in either home. What we weren’t aware of and didn’t think to ask was, the residents hold the key to our private bedroom. The clients use the ‘private’ bathroom when we aren’t there. Think ahead for situations such as this as well as address issues ASAP when they come up!

musibeth Mar

At my last interview, I was required to pay for travelling expenses (which were relatively low, since it was only a few hours from my home), but they provided a room (and private bath) and meals for the several days I was there.


Some facilities will pay all your expenses, some will pay a portion, and some will pay none.

If a facility that is far away won’t pay expenses and you can’t afford to cover the expense, obviously they should not be a consideration. Don’t make the same mistake we once did and accept a position – sight unseen. It was a very bad thing. We only lasted five months and knew after about 2 1/2 we were for sure leaving.

Any expenses that are not reimbursed are usually tax deductible if you itemize including mileage. (However, this is not tax advice. You need to check with your accountant or tax professional concerning any tax deductions)