Don’t believe everything you hear 

A friend of mine heard he was going to get a young lady from another home and he was pretty uptight about it because he had been told that she was a trouble maker who manipulated a lot. I knew the young lady and told him that I believed she was a great kid and that I would love to have her in my home. He rolled his eyes at me and said a very important staff person told him she was trouble.

Well, that was months ago and so far the young lady is one of his best kids earning the highest level possible by being mature and responsible. My friend had to admit I was correct and that he was happy about that.

So, don’t believe everything you hear. You never know how a child might be in your care no matter how they may have behaved or been perceived in another home.


Again Adam and I agree. There are going to be kids you don’t like – PERIOD!! Regardless of what they do, even if they were to walk on water, you are not going to like them and will have a very hard time seeing the good in them. Yet will be able to spot every single flaw.

On the other hand there will be children you will bond with that will defy explanation, and will be able to bring out the best in them.

Be your own judge. Just because a situation didn’t work for a child or for you in the past, try to focus on the present and always try to be fair even with the kids that rub you wrong. 

Right now, maybe for the FIRST time in 13 years I like every child in my house. There are some I feel closer to than others, but that honestly bothers me because I have some great kids and I would like to feel just as close to all of them as I do to others. Thankfully my wife seems to bond with those girls who seem distant or shy. I am much better with open kids who aren’t afraid to step up and be who they are. I thank God that my wife and I seem to be gifted completely differently in regard to reaching kids! Of course there are some we both equally click with, which is great too!


A lot of staff tend to cringe whenever a new kid is coming into the facility for the first time and they have a rap sheet or some adverse behaviors. Mention sexual issues about a incoming kid and you can hear a collective sigh.

I have one kid now that for whatever reason had a hard time in some of the houses before. He’s been a good kid for the most part, but not a week goes by that I don’t hear someone say they are glad they don’t have him, totally based off of behavior from a year ago.

To be honest I have had kids in the past that if they were to show up in the facility I would struggle with wiping the slate clean. I know it’s what we are called to do, but some history runs deep.

In the public


I just wanted to know if anyone else deals with their kids in the public, i.e., schools, etc.

Our program is more of a foster home-type setting. These kids go to public school (not a very good public school), are able to go to friend’s houses and spend the night, able to go on outings by themselves, etc. They have A LOT of freedoms. This proves very difficult in keeping outside influences from filtering in. Each day it seems like we have to remind them of their language and their attitude. Each day we argue with them about the privileges “regular” families have (like cell phones, etc.). It is a battle.

One of our kids absolutely does not want to be in this program so he is protesting by not eating anything in the home. He does not eat lunch at school and then does not eat breakfast and maybe only eats a few bites for supper because he does not want ANYTHING from our program. He protests about not being able to have his own money to carry around on him or have cell phones; definitely feels entitlement and thinks he’s better than the others in the program. I feel he needs humbled pretty bad–LOL. The other kids in the home do not like him because of his behaviors toward the houseparents and to peers. He has a bad choice of friends at school and brings home this bad attitude. He is 16 so, you know, he thinks he should have all the freedoms of an adult! LOL. It’s just so frustrating as a houseparent to have this many outside influences.

We will be dropping the bomb to him tonight and his privileges probably over the next week will be null due to his behavior. He does not want to sign forms to be in the program (which require his signature) AND last night we caught him throwing out clothes that our facility bought him (luckily we dug them out of the trash and saved them). Like I said, it will be like jail for him over the next week due to his behavior.

Do you guys have any similar problems?




We work in a residential foster care home and the children we have the most difficulty getting adapted to living in our home are the ones that come when they are older. For the majority of the older kids they have had little or no supervision prior to coming to live with us and find it very difficult adapting to the structure. On top of that they attract to the very same kind of kids at school, so they believe that all kids are just allowed to do whatever they please, to go where they wish, anytime they wish.

They don’t understand that in normal families, there is structure and boundaries, and have a hard time adapting to it. What makes it easier, is having a good sponsor program, where they can spend time with families in the community that are stable so they can see there are families that have structure and boundaries.

My personal feelings are that facilities that are more foster care than they are therapeutic need to make provisions for the kids to be able to earn money, be able to carry money, and use their money even on things like cell phones. In our facility all our older kids are allowed to have money, and once they are in high school can get prepaid cell phones provided they are responsible with them. I think foster care facilities need to provide for the normal things of life as much as possible to include things like Internet access, phones, outings, dates, school sports, etc.

As for your 16 year old, be patient. I think I would use some serious restrictions like you describe. He will eventually get hungry enough to eat, and will run out of other things to wear and start to settle in, or do something bad enough to be sent home or somewhere else or possibly run away, which result in the same thing. Either way it will get easier.

teenage girls


My husband and I are about to accept a position as full time houseparents for seven girls between the ages of 13-17. (Well, we haven’t officially accepted the position yet- but we are pretty sure that we are going to take it.) I have heard from several people that girls are much more difficult than boys. Girls are said to be more dramatic, emotional, etc. I was wondering if anyone has any advice or stories specific to dealing with the drama of teenage girls.



I worked in a co-ed facility for two years. My dealings with the females were very positive, and in general the girls were better behaved.

However the dynamics were much different. We had six boys and two girls in every house. Most of the time we were dealing with boy issues and the girls would tend to fly under the radar. They seemed to kind of enjoy the status of being the more “Mature” ones.

But when they had an issue, it was always more dramatic and way more volatile than the boys. Most boys I have worked with that become agressive will do so until a point is reached. The females I have worked with that become agressive go all out. They fight for keeps.

All that aside, I have really enjoyed working with the girls. Communication seemed to be easier with most of them and the relationships seemed more genuine than with alot of the boys.

I do feel more comfortable with the boys, but I definitly would work with girls in the future. 


My wife and I LOVE girls! Here is an answer I gave regarding girls and their “moodiness” that I think might help you.

I live and work with 13 teen girls and have for 14 years now. So, including my wife (and up until a year ago our daughter) it’s me and 14 (was 15) women. Can anyone else claim that kind of experience with females?

I LOVE girls (lol) I love their complexity, I love their minds, emotions, and moodiness. I just love the challenge. Now my daughter has me a bit depressed because she continues to reject Christ, but when we are together we get along, talk, joke, and just have a pretty solid relationship.

Some simple advice:

-Girls LOVE to talk. Do not deprive them of this. Don’t expect them to shut up and go play. That works with boys, not girls.

-Girls need an explanation, “because I said so” doesn’t go over well with females. There is a time for that, but when you can discuss the situation with a female you should.

-Girls need attention. Put the ball game on mute, go to their sporting events, spelling bees, recitals, etc. They love that.

-Girls need to see what a real Godly man is. Like my daughter they may chose to reject it, but they still need to see it, BADLY.

-Girls need a fatherly figure, but they also need a strong woman (mother), yet the woman CANNOT be domineering. Tough mix to find today, but it’s a must to raise a strong daughter who understands her role as a female.

Now, when dealing with moodiness…ready for this???

Call them on it!

Don’t be mean, sometimes you can even be a little funny about it, but call them on it. A girl who grows up with parents who excuse or ignore her moodiness makes a terrible woman. As the dad discuss their emotions and hormones with them, point out what’s bad and why along with what’s normal and why. Conversations like this is why a strong mother is also a must as I mentioned earlier.

If you need any other opinions let me know



My wife and I have cared for Teen Girls, Teen Boys, Little Kids, and Co-eds. She personally prefers Younger children or boys over girls. I however prefer Teen Girls.

They are more emotional and petty than the other groups, but most of that can be ignored or as Don’t Lie says call them on it.

Teen Girls are also more nurturing and helpful. It’s much easier to get them to help you around the house than the other groups and they are usually much cleaner.

One of the major down sides to teen girls is that they are, at least in my experience, much more likely to make accusations against staff than Boys. So, you have to be extra cautious about not putting yourself into questionable situations with girls. The male staff should never be left alone with one girl and should never go into the sleeping or changing areas without at least announcing themselves. I always had my wife check that everyone was dressed and appropriate before I ever entered their areas. (to make repairs, move furniture, etc.)

Don’t sweat it too bad, they’re not that bad.


You DO have to be careful of false accusations, but know this, in 14 years of working with girls (many of them sexually abused) I have never been falsely accused (thank God) of anything at all! Just be aware of it, sensitive to it, and SMART!

Mike is correct about them being cleaner and more willing to help around the house too. I think teen girls are the best kids to work with. 



How well does it work logistically with trying to always have another peer or houseparent with you while working an all girl house?

At my last facility we usually had three staff and at least one of the boys around, so I never had an issue with isolation. The one staff that I know of that was accused of doing something repeatedly found himself in rather awkward circumstances that I believe were more of his own making.

Just wondering how much different or on guard you would have to be in an all girl environment.



In an all girl facility….expect the woman of the couple to do most of the work. When the man takes a girl somewhere, you have to take two more girls along to always have more than one in the car. Most of the time kids have homework or tutoring to do and if you have a working girl that needs transportaion…or anyone else that needs transportation in the afternoon, the woman ends up doing it. If the man doesn’t cook, that means the woman has to cook, drive and do all the managing that requiers the houseparent to go into the girls’ halls and bedrooms. The man better learn to cook….that’s all I can say…..and I don’t like for my wife to do all the work. Also….when I’m in the house I run the house, and a lot of the girls aren’t used to the man doing that…so that can cause some issues….especially if they are used to houseparents where the woman runs things and the man sits on his royal and is scarcely more than a “teddy bear daddy.”



How well does it work logistically with trying to always have another peer or houseparent with you while working an all girl house?

 We worked all girls for almost two years and it was usually not difficult to not be alone. It was pretty easy to find a couple of girls that wanted to ride along or want to stay at the house. My wife did do most of the one on one and “glidenhi” is right “I did the cooking and most of the other household management stuff”

 I learned to cook when I was 16 and all of a sudden became the household manager of my family household because my parents divorced and my mom had to work.


I’ve taken girls on short trips alone. First of all I developed a very strong trust with my girls, and secondly, these trips are 5 minutes or less. I AM careful, but the way I look at is that if a girl lies about me, then I no longer want to do this.

Frustration (Taking Behaviors Personally)

Wow, what a week. I thought that I could not become anymore frustrated about some of the girls in my house, and then Friday arrived. My wife and I have been doing this for 3 months, and I was loving it until this week. I am feeling completely squashed by one of the girls, I will call her “Drama Queen”.

 Drama Queen and I have about the same personality, except for the fact that she does not care what she says or when she says it, and I am having a really hard time holding back. Yesterday it seemed as though I was put down so much by her that she just knew that it was getting to me, and it did about 8 o’clock. I let her have it and then felt totally terrible about how I reacted. I am really feeling frustrated about the situation and feel helpless. I have been spending time in God’s Word and trying to seek his guidance. Lately I feel like there is a wall up between me and God, and I know that it is me and my attitude. I just need a way to release the resentment.

They say that you cannot take what they say and do personally, but it is extremely hard for me because I am the person that feels I need everyone to like me. Monday we are planning on going home to see our families and I know that it will help to see some people whom I know love me and care about me “I cannot wait”. I know that there are many of you out there that have been doing this for quite some time, and if you can offer any advice I am all for it. 

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have said something stupid and/ or inappropriate to a kid. I remember one teen boy that told my wife he hoped our unborn daughter would die and fall out. The rest of my interaction with him looked more like a conversation between Tony Soprano and somebody he was getting ready to shoot. That was the last big blow up I had.

We work in a highly emotional environment. Most of these kids could not handle foster placement because of emotional and behavioral issues, so they get placed with us in group homes. In reality almost all group homes are “behavior Modification” facilities, whether they think they are or not. We try to teach and empower these kids to make better decisions and create healthy relationships.

My patience and reactions have gotten better over time. There’s a lot to be said for experience and the fact that after being called a B***h for the millionth time it actually starts to become hysterical and you find yourself teaching to the behaviors, not reacting out of anger or frustration. But it still happens- at least to me.

I think everyone has a certain boundary that is not to be crossed. When you have a 14 year old not only cross that line, but doing with a sneer and taunting you, it’s only natural to imagine you spanking them out by the wood pile. Just don’t do it.

All the rules and regulations that are in place are there because we are only human. The child care industry is in a much better place now than it was as little as 20 years ago when de-escalation at some places consisted of a leather belt or wooden paddle and a good swinging arm.

As for the wall between you and God- I find myself there often. I start feeling like that when I don’t have a solution as to how to deal with a kid or I feel like I’m making no difference at all. I pray, jump on the motorcycle for a few miles and go talk to some of the guys I trust here and unload on them. It helps- at least for me. 

It is one thing to be offended by a resident… is another to watch one undermine your credibility with the other residents and feel powerless. You may be running into a former houseparent’s neglect. For some it is easier to let a strong anti-leader run the house and reward them with special privileges in return for conditional allegiance. That results in losing credibility with the whole house anyway, and leaves a “lord of the flies” survival of the fittest…. game player mentality. That will work ….although pitifully at best…..for “keeping” kids, but it won’t work for redeeming them.

Take the kid aside and get real with them. If putting you down continues…just remember…you probably aren’t the only one being put down. Make her pay consequences for putting anybody down. Find out if you have offended her….if she has a legitimate beef, ask forgiveness and fix it. …..but don’t let it continue. You have to have control of the house…otherwise…the whole house suffers…and the children have no security under your leadership.

You ultimately have to have the support and the confidence of the director. Sometimes kids do better with one houseparent over another. Sometimes they do better in another type of setting. The director can make changes if they are needed. If they don’t want to be bothered when a destructive situation can’t be resolved at the house level….which should be rare…’s time to move on.


Haven’t posted for a while. My wife and I are still in the process of becoming HPs. We recently visited a terrific Christian facility and spent time with three cottages, including overnight. My/our question is. How do you as houseparents not show favoritism to some kids more than others?. As a parent of three I love and treat my kids all the same, but as a HP I would think it would harder to do this. Darrel

It is difficult. There are kids that you WILL NOT get along with and others that pull at your heart and you feel you could make them your own. For me, this is where my faith comes into effect. God has a way of humbling you when you begin to treat one in a way that you wouldn’t treat another.

My director gave me this advice. You have to recognize that one kid could get preferential treatment. When you have openly recognized this you work hard at not doing it. To do this ask yourself before you do something with or for that child – Would I do this for the child that I don’t get along with? If I do this for little Bobby, what am I going to do for Joe?

This is a battle that EVERY hp deals with. If they say they don’t – They’re lying. It is an everyday battle for hp’s. You have to wake up in the morning and pray that God will give you patience and understanding for the difficult kids. That he would help you find a common ground with them and that He will help give you a spirit of humility and the love for each child in your care that he has.

No one does it perfect! But, the longer you are a hp, the more you learn. You will learn how to work at finding common ground with a child.

Also, having a director that is observant is a HUGE plus. If your director can see that you are giving unfair treatment, then they can step in and let you know. Try not to take this as criticism, but as an observation. Let your director know if a child is hard to connect with. Let the director in on the situation and they really can help.

OK, I’m not a HP, but I’ve worked with kids in Scouts, Children’s Ministry, Youth Ministry, raised my own two as well as my wife’s two children (my step-daughters). So, although I hesitate to chime in, here I go anyway.

Is there a difference between truly showing favoritism and the perception of showing favoritism. What I mean is, suppose Johnny at age 8 just eats up attention from a parent (or HP); he loves to sit next to you while watching TV or eating dinner, wants you to tuck him in at night and so on… Pushing him away might be hurtful for him. Now little Bobby (who is now 11 years old) has always had a “tough guy” exterior. You’ve always gotten along with him, but he did not crave that kind of attention and it simply did not interest him if you tried to show that kind of attention. I’ve been in similar situations where I was accused of showing favoritism when in reality; I was simply allowing a child like Johnny to follow me around because he wanted to be near me.

Another example of perceived favoritism might be the case, as was sited by another member of these forums, where a child in your home is the only one with no place to go for a holiday. So, he goes with you for the holiday. Some of the other children may perceive that as favoritism. I’ve even worked with some adults who would see that as being favoritism. I’m not saying it is but there are those who in the face of all the facts would say it is.

So, since my wife and I are looking into the possibility of doing this in a couple of years, I would like to add to the open question.

My question is do you ever struggle with the perception of favoritism when in fact underlying it all there really was not favoritism?

If so, were you accused of favoritism by the other children, or by adults?

Or am I wrong in my assumption that cases like the examples above are only perceived favoritism?

No, it definitely exists. We have 2 boys in our home right now. One is 15 yrs old and definitely does not want hugs, or any kind of physical touch right now. The other is 6 yrs old and CRAVES it. We do morning hugs, during the day hugs, come home from school hugs. We hold him in our laps. We tuck him in at night, and because he gets scared easily at night, I stay in his room and pet his head until he falls asleep.

This has been questioned by several people as whether or not we are showing him favoritism or “more love.” We just have to do our best to provide what the older does need. We are open to hugs with him and let him know this. I play football and basketball with him. My wife takes him to starbucks for coffee. We try to spend 1-on-1 time after the younger goes to bed. It can certainly be perceived as favoritism, but you just have to know your kids and believe in what is best for them.

I have always thought that favoritism was not nearly as big of an issue as anti-favoritism.

Anti-favoritism is what you show toward that kid or kids that you don’t connect with or rub you the wrong way. You could even say that you don’t like. You really have to check your attitude when you deal with them and make sure you don’t let your feelings dictate your behavior.

My wife and I do pretty good with this because it seems we always have a different child that we have difficulty with so we are able to keep each other in check. If you don’t have a spouse to keep you in check, listen to your supervisors and coworkers, because you can do it and be completely blind to it.

Thanks for all the replies. The Home we visited actually was in the process of switching a couple of kids between homes. Administration said they sometimes do this because of personality differences with the kid and the Houseparent.

I first saw this subject and really didn’t have time to answer… goes…..I believe “favoritism” is natural. Even God said that King David was “a man after my own heart”. I’m not jealous of David. But it shows me that we naturally will “favor” those who please us. I think the key is fairness. We are to treat each other the way we want to be treated. That’s fairness. We are tasked with the parental role of guiding and growing the children in our care. Proper behavior earns privileges. That’s fairness. Some of those privileges may mean being treated more “favorably” in certain trustworthy situations.

The real difficulty comes when you have to treat – with equal fairness – those kids who may not be so loveable (snot running from his nose and shoes always untied) and those who are blessed with natural cuteness. In this business they both have needs or they wouldn’t be here. Meeting their needs with the unconditional love of Christ while maintaining fairness is what works for my little guys.

As for the comment above, I have seen “personality differences” cause a child to be relocated to another cottage. It’s usually a shortcoming in the houseparent that caused the problem.

I’m sure there’s more that can be said, but that’s all for now.

Do you have a pet peeve behavior?

I was just wondering what every-one’s pet peeve behavior was?

Mine is LYING – it absolutely drives me nuts, yet I can’t even count how many times I get lied to in a week. It seems in most cases when somebody says something to me I have to assume that it is a lie until I prove it’s NOT.

I hope you’re referring to the children and their families at your facility and not your co-workers.

I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve gotten burned because of my assumption that what other adults tell me is the truth! As a houseparent, however, I’ve dealt with more lies than ever before and I’m learning to distrust more than before…….I think that’s sad…..

That being said – my wife and I tolerate zero (0) lies from our boys. We have a standard consequence for lying and it’s enough to get their attention. They know that we will apply it across the board regardless of the level of the lie. It helps a LOT!

Jesus said: “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life.” -TexPop

I was referring to the children’s behavior, though I wouldn’t be surprised to find out some adults have told me whoppers.

I agree with you that being around lying makes a person less trusting in general, I am pretty sure it has with me.

I think we are pretty good about being consistent with consequences for lying, but we have a couple of children that continue to do it regardless of the consequences. It just becomes real frustrating.

I, too, agree lying is the worst. I know I was lied to at least a zillion times over the weekend, uh oh I think I am now lying too. My husband and I talked about it today, and these kids have come from folks who have lied to them all their life, you learn what you live. Hopefully, all of us houseparents will be able to help these kids. I think that is why I really like Don’t Lies’ name. It says it all, and sometimes the truth is so hard.

I have to agree with lying is the worst peeve for me.

The students know up front that lying is by far one of the worst thing you can do to me. I know that this is something the children have acquired from their home life. Beside the standard consequence, I give a long boring speech and I use examples in my own life where lying has affected both myself and my family. I show them how it hurts others and themselves. The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a classic example for them.

You have the classic student who has lied in the past, then, when he/she is punished for something they can swear up and down they are telling the truth. After some time later, come to find out they lied again.
While I agree that lying is terrible, and I do give consequences for it, what drives me up and over the wall is being unappreciative!  I absolutely cannot tolerate children who are ungrateful. Look, they don’t have to like me, they don’t have to like our home, or even the organization, but if you can’t appreciate all that’s done for you, I will have a serious problem with that child.

Ungratefulness is a tough one and it does bother me, but I guess I have just come to expect it and hope that in a few years most kids will see the light and appreciate what we did for them. Lying seems to just continue to erode a relationship. My 17 YO birth-son has an issue with lying and it is seriously hurting our relationship.


Rolling eyes, talking under breath, one fingered salutes and oh mans!!!!

Being unappreciative is HUGE for me, but there is one other one that just drives me nuts. You know that one kid that you stayed up with until 11:30 with last night working on geometry or algebra or whatever. You finally got it done and then guess what – yup, they just didn’t turn it in. Yeah, that burns me like nothing else. THE WORK IS DONE – JUST TURN IT IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ok – I took a breather. Sorry, that has just happened a couple too many times – and definitely not all with the same kid. Anyways, just my thoughts.
lol-I hate that too! I have had many kids that do that. When they turn it in they lose points but discover it would have even been an A if they had turned it in on time as well. It’s worse if administration shift some kind of blame on you for a child having low grades and you know that’s the problem, I mean how can you MAKE a kid turn something in on time? You can make sure he or she does it, and does it well, but you can’t sit in class and force them to turn it in!

Stealing!!! This is the toughest one for me because it affects everyone. We’ve had only a few kids who had a habit of taking things from other kids in the past. It’s horrible for the other kids who are having their stuff taken and know that it’s someone who they live with and it’s super frustrating for me because I feel so helpless. We’ve always been able to get to the bottom of the situation, but not without some serious damage to the morale of the house. Since lying typically goes with the stealing, that would be right up there at the top of my pet peeve list, too!

……..”one fingered salutes”………..hahaha!!!!….you’ve got some “corkers,” there….. Launchpad !!!!…..LOL!!!!!

Sounds like a skateboarder for sure….

My biggeset pet peeve-

House Parents that think there is some kind of campus competition as to who is the best HP. They tend not to play well with others. 

How about when your director promises things that your home will absolutely get for Christmas, so let’s not buy them during the year, even though there is money in the budget for them, and then none of them get donated. Yeah, and then you find out that your director is leaving and you will be having a new boss, so really you feel as though that director didn’t really care anyways – yeah, that’s a pet peeve.

Generation Y or The Entitlement Generation, Current youth labeled Entitlement Generation


I read an article that really interested me it was on yahoo titled “The Young Labeled ‘Entitlement Generation’ ” I thought it was a very good article that explains a lot about the teens and youth today.

It also has some links to some very good resources about “Generation Why” that you should check out. I will be adding those links to my resources page soon.

Do you think this describes kids today and if so what can we do to help them be more humble and motivated.

Lady Incredible

I think today’s kids are spoiled somewhat and aren’t held accountable for their actions, why else is the juvenile system so full. The kids in my state actually laugh if you tell them they are going to court and threaten to put them in custody.
Now don’t get me wrong, not all kids are bad and I believe that even the best parents have bad kids. I’m talking mostly about the juvenile system. If we don’t hold these kids accountable for their actions then what are they learning?
Okay, I could ramble but I’ll get off my soapbox now

You are right lady incredible. Anyway these kids aren’t afraid of court or juvenile to them juvenile hall is just another foster care home. Besides these kids are smart they know most of the time they are going to get an easy rap because of their backgrounds and most of them aren’t too worried about what laws they break until they turn 18 they know whatever they do before they turn 18 isn’t going to count against them later. They might be scared of prison but juvenile is a joke. they can do whatever until they are 18 and someone still has to take of them and they know it or they can always say they are seeing things and go to the mental hospital instead. I have actually had a seven yr old tell me” miss I’m just going to keep telling the doctor I see stuff so that when I grow up I can get a crazy check from the state and keep my checks going. And miss if you tell my therapist I said that she’ll just tell you I’m only saying that because of my emotional problems, besides the more messed up I am the more money they get. Believe me I know what’s up. ”

As for being spoiled these kids get their college paid for, for all five years and financial help once they age out of care to help them get started. I know most of you don’t like to look at it this way but at 12 there are kids that kill, rape, have babies steal cars. If your old enough to do the crime your old enough to do the time. and to let them get off easier because of their backgrounds is only handicapping them for the future cause yeah everyone feels bad for that cute 13 yr old who been beat and molested but what about when he’s 18 and then 20, then 30 He can’t keep being a cute little kid forever he has to learn at 10, 12 or 13 otherwise he’s going to go into his adult life thinking the world owes him a living.


I agree but there is a degree of children just doing what they are taught to do. We have to find a way to reteach them instead of always condemning them. I know there is a fine line there and figuring out who is really willing and wants to change. But you can’t throw the whole bunch away just because we don’t like the choices they make.

Decision of a lifetime., Becoming houseparents for the first time


I am 48 and my husband is 53. He has a job as an assistant manager of a grocery store. He also drives a school bus so that we can have insurance. He is also a pastor of a small church and has been so since 1988. I stay at home and am slightly disabled with a nerve disease called Neuropathy. Some days are bad, some are so so and some are THANK YOU, JESUS! We have a daughter who has just graduated from college and one entering her second year of college.

Basically, we are in a rut at present and we like it. But my husband is working so hard and we have about 2 hours a day to spend together, and that’s if he doesn’t fall asleep. At our church, we have spent many years dealing with children and the color and scratches they add to our world. I have also been a Girl Scout leader and homeschooled for 7 years. In other words, we are very use to children and teenagers and feel we are very capable at working with them.

We have been offered a job as houseparents at a youth ranch. This is a ranch where the children cannot live at home for some reason, often no fault of their own. Each cottage can have 10 children, and that includes the houseparents children. It is a brand-new ranch so the kinks aren’t worked out; it will take about a year. The pay is equal to what my husband makes at his assistant manager’s job. As for insurance, which we must have, after 3 months you pay 1/2 of the premiums. After you’ve been there a year, you pay only 10% of the premium…AWESOME. They also have a retirement plan that will match at least up to 5% of your yearly income. My husband would have to keep driving the school bus until our other insurance kicks in. He says he might as well drive it for another year. I don’t know if I could handle the cottage while the kids get ready for school and the 2 hours they come home in the afternoon. That’s scary.

Also, you only get paid once a month. We’re use to getting paid every Saturday. It is on a 265-acre ranch with a pond/lake, horse arena, woodworking shop, automotive shop, gym w/cafeteria, a huge guest lodge and we would be living in a 3-bedroom apartment which is attached to the cottage, which is really not a cottage it is at least 2500 square foot house, complete with a huge pantry and a kitchen that all women would die for. At present we would be responsible for taking the kids to their appointments and basically anywhere they had to go until the ranch can hire people to do that job. We are expected to prepare at least one meal a day for the kids. And they have to attend at least one church service a week. My husband will continue to pastor, so they will probably be attending more than once a week.

You might wonder why we’re having trouble making up our minds. Well, I’m just wondering what folks think about us being so use to not doing a whole lot and being in a rut. How hard would it be to take on this job being a mother and father to up to 10 boys or 10 girls? Remember, our days consist of watching Bonanza while we eat our lunch and then going back to work, then coming home and watching a little more t.v. and then going to bed. Although, we have raised 2 daughters, could we wonderful parents to the kids at the ranch? We’ve talked in length to the houseparents that are presently living in one of the cottages and they had a lot of valuable stories to tell us. But it seems from where we stand, that these houseparenting jobs require a great deal physically and mentally and emotionally. Please, I need any feedback. My husband is 53. It’s not that easy for a 53 year old man to find work, if we were unable to be houseparents. WE have to make up our minds in about another week.


Because of your stated condition I think you should spend some time visiting and talking with other women that already are house parents. Have you disclosed that to the administration?

No matter what is said about support the only one you can ever truly count on is your husband and vice versa.

You will be up before the crack of dawn and the stress and pressure of your days can be unrelenting as you deal with the needs of children with issues you have not comprehended.

I would be surprised if there is the time in the schedule to allow your husband to still drive the school bus.

It takes 2 people working together in unison to get a house off to school in the morning and to be there for them when they return.

It is far less about being a mother and father than most think. Especially with the youth coming into placement these days.


It sounds like a great place to be. While I think your desire is great, I am not sure if your husband would be able to do the other jobs. I know that here, there is a staff/child ratio that is 6 kids to one staff member and you would not be keeping that.

What you could do is look into other children’s homes that have less kids. There are a lot of jobs available on the jobs board so take a look to see what is out there.

One thing to consider is whether you would be working with girls or boys. Since I work with boys, my husband is the primary caretaker of them. I just can’t go in their room whenever etc. Same goes for the girls cottages – the women are the primary then. I try never to be one on one with any boy and I know all of the husbands are NEVER alone with the girls. Just too much could happen or be said. Our Children’s Home offers assistants to come help so if you were able to have help in the morning and afternoon that would be great. Only thing is, sometimes assistants could be more of a bother than a help.

Just some food for thought!


Wow, it sounds like a pretty good deal, if you can handle it. My Husband and I have talked about going into this type of a situation after our own children are grown. I work currently at a home for girls, I work 3.5 days on and 3.5 days off. I know while I am at work it is great during the school year but harder during the summer. We have 3 staff on at all times and a group worker during the summer and on weekends. This can be the best job in the world and it can be one of the most challenging. My concern would be what would happen if you discover after 3-4 months it isn’t for you and need to go back to your other life style. Is there any way you could start as relief parents? go in for a weekend to give other parents a break? Just a thought…


The situation could possibly work. However I strongly doubt it could be done in addition to two other jobs. If insurance is an issue, there are many places that start with insurance on your first day of employment. If you have only looked at one program, it might not hurt to look at some other programs so that you have something to compare it to.