Single Houseparents


Are all the houseparents at your facility couples or do you have any singles? Our facility is trying singles. Most are young and inexperienced. They have a helper AKA babysitter/assistant when they are on duty? Anybody seen this? Any thoughts????



I started out as a single HP. But it was a facility where the kids were much higher maintenance and most were stepping down from the psych ward. The facility really did not understand what they needed to do to bring in couples. Soon after my wife and I married we moved to a facility that was looking for couples.

IMO- The biggest issues I have seen with facilities hiring singles is they try to match a man and a woman in order to model a family style setting. Problem is the kids know they are not married and it seems more like a play act you put on for the kids, not to mention all the drama associated with the boy- girl thing, but the facilities that are struggling with finding couples almost have to hire singles to keep running the facility.

There are some awesome single HP’s out there. I know of many actually. The biggest problem is when a facility just runs an add in the local paper to fill the vacancy instead of using tools like this web site to find HP’s, single or married. Professional HP’s will come from all over the country to fill positions you have open IF you are interested in being a serious, professional ministry and not some hack outfit that only warehouses the kids. Since our facility has almost exclusively advertised and hired off the Houseparent Network site, there have been nothing but professional, ministry minded couples and singles hired here. The turnover rate is also ridiculously low since they have incorporated the network (13%).

We have single HP’s here, but they usually pair them up with the same gender (So as to avoid any soap opera stuff) and generally with the older teens. Every one of the singles here are extremely dedicated to what they do, which is a first for me. Couples are always more preferable to a facility, financially and in modeling family style living. But it just is not possible to fill all positions with qualified couples. There are more slots available then there are couples, especially for larger facilities.



We use singles as relief staff at my current facility. The lady that relieves in my cottage has been here for over 33 years.


The downside to singles is that they can only really keep the seams from bursting the week they are there. I always feel for them at those times my wife is gone and I have to run the cottage by myself. We try to make things easier on them by not scheduling appointments for the week they are on duty and trying to have everything in the cottage organized and scheduling sponsor and family visits during our relief so they have fewer kids to care for.

The upside for us is that we have a very low turnover in our relief staff. Being in a different place all the time and living out of your car just seems to be easier for a single person than for a couple and especially for a family. Our relief staff ladies have been here for 33 and 10 years. Our vacation relief staff couple, changes about every year.

At a former facility we had singles that they paired up in teams to be houseparents. Sometimes they paired them as male/female couples other times they were same sex teams. IMO it worked best when they paired same sex in teams in the same sex home. It was all about B-mod so there wasn’t any family modeling issues to deal with.

My biggest grief with singles at that facility was that they got paid more than married couples. The administration said that both the husband and wife could combine their income to pay their bills and singles couldn’t. This part blew my mind, they had no problem paying a brand new pair of singles a higher combined salary than their most experienced couple. If a single is doing the job of a couple they should be paid more, if they are being teamed up and doing the same job as a married couple, the team should be paid the same.

I foresee as a future trend the more therapeutic facilities continually moving to singles and shift work; however I see the residential foster care home model expanding which will use couples. I see more homes that will hire couples and provide them with a home, vehicle, groceries, and other things yet they will operate as an independent foster home with support of counselors, tutors, etc.

Any Singles?

Are there any other single people on this board? How do you deal with trying to have a personal life? I find that I am so busy with work that I’m never going to meet anyone. I’m only 25 but am not an extroverted person. I am totally waiting on God but most days’ that is hard. I’m just wondering how others deal with this… if you do. I desire to be a primary houseparent at sometime in life but don’t see that happening if I’m single forever. As much as I like being a relief I feel like I am gifted for so much more. I’m not sure how that last statement came across but I just know I am gifted to run a home. Those of you that pray… pray that I would faithfully wait on God! I really appreciate it.

I’m not single but I can relate to where your at. I worked as a single in Maryland and there were many times I felt like I would never meet someone as insane as myself to live and work in this kind of ministry.

I met my wife there shortly after she was hired. She worked the morning shift and I worked the evening/ overnight shift. We started out by me waking up in the morning and having coffee before I left to go home. Pretty soon I found myself sitting there drinking coffee for about four hours every day.

Eventually she was put on the evening shift with me. She thought we were just friends, I thought I was smooth. Every weekend I took her and the kids to the movies just so I had an excuse to sit with her in the theatre. All of our dates were with 8 kids and a beat up 15 passenger van.

Eventually Amy figured out what a righteous dude I was and we got engaged. Even then the kids were part of it. I and another staff member restrained a kid while the other kids ran inside the house yelling for Amy to come help. As she ran up to us, the kid we were restraining spit the ring out at her. I guess you had to be there to get the effect.

We got married while on duty, the kids were in charge of decorating the church which they did with black and purple balloons and streamers. We even spent our honey moon night on the second floor of the boy’s house. (I did take her for a proper honey moon to the mountains three days later).

My point is if God can match someone as ugly and crazy as me up with someone as classy and decent as my wife, there is hope for everyone. I remember praying for someone to share my life with; I actually thought there was no one in their right mind that would even consider doing this ministry as a husband and wife (This was before I discovered the HP Network). At one point I resigned myself to living as a monk in the mountains of Western Maryland and living with dysfunctional teens at our vegetarian facility (These were my hippy years).

God bless you. I know it’s a lonely time, but it sounds like you have a real heart for this ministry and we will pray God brings someone that is just as out of their flipping mind as you that can live this kind of life.
If you ever get real desperate, I got this buddy of mine we all call “Groundhog”. He aint real pretty but he has a pleasant demeanor…….when he’s sober  (I’m just teasing, he won’t be out on parole for at least another six years).

I need a little advice in finding a job (Singles)

I am a 23 year old single male with no college diploma and I feel god calling me to work with struggling youth full time, teens in particular. Understandably, I am having a very tough time finding any organizations looking to hire a single person. Do you have any suggestions about places I could look into or any other types of employment that I could check out. Thank you for any help and advice. God bless


One of the relief staff working our house (California) was 23. We had Teens 13-17yo. He had a difficult time drawing the line and maintaining a professional distance from the kids. He would get caught up in the horse play at times himself.
He also worked another home with 7-10 yo’s where there was NEVER an issue. The younger ones loved him and he did great work with them.

You might try the “Big Brother” program or look into “Mentoring” depending on where you are located. Your age would be a factor at many locations I have talked to or worked when it came to contact with Teens.


i have actually been working with jr highers since I was 17 and senior highers since i was 21. over the years i have learned to keep a safe distance from the teens. Because of my appearance, experience and demeanor keeping the authority is also not a problem.

I work at an agency in Texas and our facility currently has an opening for a couple, because of quarters, no children would be better. Our facility has two houses, one girl’s and one boys (teens). It is a very open campus, more like foster care. It is a beautiful campus, with lots of oaks and lots to do. We are located in San Antonio, Texas. Please e-mail me for inquiries.

If you’re still interested in a houseparent position I know of a couple places you can work in Texas. Most of the staff is young under 30 and single you can email me at

I also wanted to tell you that if you’re going to be a houseparent you have to live there. The ranches I know of are four days on three days off but they always want you to work overtime and you really don’t have time for a social life unless it’s with another staff member. The houseparent turnover rate is high I saw over a hundred people come and go in the two years I worked at this ranch. I don’t think your age will matter much as long as you’re really strict from the beginning when I first worked at the ranch in Texas the boys cabin which was boys 8-10 of them level of care 4 & 5 ages 10 -18 had male staff all under 25 and they ran the best boys cabin the ranch had seen in a long time. Anyway e-mail me if you want and I can talk to you more about what goes on at these places.

Is This For Me? (Young & Single)


I discovered this website last night when God laid upon my heart the possibility of being a house parent. This whole idea is new to me, as I had not even considered it until yesterday. I’m hoping that some of you can help me sort some things out. (I apologize that this will be a long posting)

First of all, let me say that I am a 21 year old college senior. I am unmarried and do not see that condition changing anytime soon. (I have read that there are some positions for single houseparents, correct?)

My degree is in Public Relations/Speech Communications but have increasingly realized that I do not desire a fast-paced, deadline-centered lifestyle. I am confident that God has called me to be a wife and a mother, but it seems He intends to bring that about sometime in the future.

I am now faced with the decision of what I am to do with my life until which time God changes things. While a professional career has always been my assumed goal in life (and one that I wanted at one time) I do not want that any more. Over the past year or so, God has given me a passion for children from broken homes, or no home at all. I am about to become a Big in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. (My interview is Monday, wish me luck!)

Yesterday I was asking God for his guidance and out of nowhere the thought came to me “why not find work at a children’s home?” I began researching and found that there is a children’s home in the city I will move to upon graduation.

My mind has not quite wrapped around this possibility yet, but I can see myself as doing this and loving it. I asked my friends if they could see me working in this capacity and they said they certainly could. I know, of course, that it would be the most challenging, emotionally draining thing I could ever do. But what an incredible opportunity! It breaks my heart that there are children in this world that have never known love or caring. (My maternal instinct kicked in about 10 years before all of my friends…I’m a bit of a freak in my circles)

I am not sure if I have any specific questions. For the most part, I would just appreciate any input on this occupation and you opinion on whether it might be an option for me even though I’ve never had specific training in childcare-related issues.

Also, the children’s home that I mentioned earlier is currently advertising for a youth counselor. Although the position will certainly be filled by the time I graduate, would anyone be able to tell me what that would entail? Once again, do you need a certain degree or any other mandatory education to do something of that nature?


First of all let me say that working in this field will probably be the most frustrating/rewarding thing you ever do. Many will tell you that you are too young to do this however there are becoming more and more positions available for young singles. more and more facilities are moving away from married live in couples and going to shift work or single teams (Usually in the more therapeutic facilities).

Most facilities prefer that you have a degree or experience in human services but will in most cases accept somebody willing to learn. If you are looking for reading material in the mean time there are some good books to read, several of which I have reviews for on the main website.

One thing you may want to do is some volunteer work at a facility or an internship. This will give you some good experience and give you a chance to see what it is like in a children’s home. It will either confirm for you that you want to do it or will totally scare you away. In the second case it is better to find out in a volunteer situation than a live in situation where kids will be hurt by your leaving.

I hope this answers some of your questions I am sure others will have much more to say.


You are doing an important thing in listening to God and His call on your life.

Some agencies may tell you that you are too young or need more experience, but not all places will tell you that.

I personally started out over 3 years ago right out of college at the age of 21 and I was also single. I worked directly in the house alongside houseparents (sometimes married and sometimes 2 single people), more as a big sister role to the kids. The facility that I worked for was great in training new staff, which was important as I had a lot to learn and grow in my childcare skills. I worked more in a therapeutic residential setting for troubled teenagers rather than abuse/neglect situations.

Through the ministry, I met my future husband and we were married a year and a half ago and now we are houseparents at a different facility.

From my own experience, I think it is definitely easier to be a houseparent assistant or relief, or whatever other term the facility uses when you are single. The dynamic of working closely with another single person as “houseparents” can be a little strange, but I know people that make it work and are amazing at what they do.

Every facility is different in its education requirements. Some require degrees and some don’t. I personally have a degree in Social Work, and my husband does not have a degree.

God Bless you and Guide you as you pursue Him and His plans.


Thank you for all responses. I am both excited and somewhat apprehensive about this possibility, but am trying to keep an open mind towards whatever God has in store for me. There are two facilities in the city I will be living in a year from now, one a home for children of both sexes, while another is strictly for girls 12-17 — both are run by the same organization. I plan to visit there during Christmas break and see whether there would be an opportunity for me to serve.

My hope is to volunteer or work as an assistant until I have the necessary experience and knowledge to make a firm decision.

Would anyone recommend calling them and asking in advance whether they have requirements, etc., or just waiting until I can talk to them face to face?



It’s a real blessing when we discern what God has put in our heart. Consider yourself blessed because most people stumble around for years, not knowing.

One of my favorite Bible verses is 2 Corinthians 5:7 Walk by faith and not by sight.
If you have faith in the calling, keep putting one foot in front of the other. Let nothing distract you from the calling. By sight financial problems, emotional problems, relationship problems will try to steal your joy in finding God’s Will and to prevent you from carrying it out.

We have to know the Will of God for our life. To do this, we need to know God, have a relationship with Him. How do we do this? Through not only reading His Word, but also, memorizing it! Keeping it in our heart for when we need it, when doubt and confusion comes along pecking at our heals.

Also, ask God for the gift of discernment…there are many gifts listed in the Bible and one of them is discernment. This will help so much in working with children.

When you have time, please let us know how your life is unfolding in beauty and in service to God. Time is short, stay busy for Him!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Lean not on your own understanding
In all your ways acknowledge Him
He will make your paths straight!

Found in Proverbs…do you know where? Giggle giggle.


Proverbs 3:5 &6 Ironically, I read those verses in my devotions this morning. I wonder if God is trying to make a point? haha. The next verse I also have underlined, verse 7: “Do not be wise in your own eyes.” I am trying so hard to not run into this, foolishly thinking that I know what is best or that I know exactly what God’s will is for me.

I appreciate the encouraging words from everyone. I found the email address of someone who works at the children’s home I am interested in. (Oh, the glory of the World Wide Web) and am composing an email to her. I’m not quite sure what to say….I want to tell her that I may not be the most qualified person she’ll ever meet, but she couldn’t find anyone who would be more devoted….but I suppose I should save my passionate soliloquy for a face-to-face meeting. Right, I just need to make contact.

So wish me luck. I am travelling to Kentucky over Christmas break to visit family, and hope to have an opportunity to visit the facility and talk to some people there.


I too have recently stumbled upon this idea as a career. I thought I was the only wierd single senior in college who found at the last minute a potential career that seems to be directly from God. The replies on this post have been encouraging to me as well.
Keep me updated on your search, I am interested in how this process will work for someone else in my position.




So nice to hear that I’m not alone. I had kind of a shaky weekend concerning this search, as for a moment I thought that maybe God was trying to tell me it was all a mistake and this wasn’t a career for me. You see, my roommate has a lot of issues that most of us work through in our teenage years and things kind of came to a head this weekend. I was almost at a breaking point where I just couldn’t DEAL with anymore.

I told my best friend that this must be God putting a hold on this, until she reminded me that the part that was most frustrating me is that my roommate is in her late 20s. I can handle immaturity in people who are supposed to be immature, but in someone who is almost 6 years older than me?

Anyway, it all turned out ok. I had a nice long vent talk with my mother and I’m feeling better about the situation and can be sensitive and patient again. Plus, I’ve talked her into going to see a counselor, so that’s good.

So, I haven’t abandoned it. It scared me for a bit though….I’ve been so sure that this is what God is calling me to, and it was bad to think maybe I was wrong.

This weekend I’m participating in an outreach to a local girl’s shelter. I’m excited about it.

I hope your week goes well!


p.s. on a side note, isn’t senior year awful? Maybe it’s just because I know I’m almost done, but I have absolutely NO motivation to do anything.


Like I said in my last post, I was sort of wondering whether my active imagination made up my “calling” from God. I began to think (perhaps prompted by Satan) that maybe I couldn’t hack it. Maybe I was just fooling myself, or trying to avoid a “professional” job. Maybe I would just be awful at it!

Well, God is amazing. Last night I was struggling and a friend came in. Now, although she is a good friend, she is also very truthful and blunt and always tells me the truth whether I like it or not. I don’t even know how we got on the subject but she said something to the effect of, “Rachel, you are MADE to work with kids…I thought so before, but when I saw you meet my sisters (ages 11 and 14) I was sure. The way you talked to them and the way they responded; I’ve never seen them attach themselves to anyone so quickly.”

It blessed me so much to hear that. I truly love kids, and especially am burdened for pre-teen, teenage girls since I remember vividly what a hard age that is (Thank God that once the teenage years are over they are OVER for good). To hear someone else who had never before seen me around children tell me that she noticed IMMEDIATELY that I had a rapport with them was such a blessing.

Now, I’m not viewing everything through tinted glasses. I realize that working in a normal facility will be very different than meeting the two young sisters of a friend. But it still served to affirm my belief that I am somehow called to work with young people.

God consistently serves to strengthen me for His purpose. Praise God!


Today I met with 10 girls from a residential facility near my school. They came onto campus, and three of us students had lunch with them, talked with them and showed them around the campus.

It was hard. Some of the girls looked blank, others were obviously in pain and were desperate for someone to talk to them and show attention to them. Most of them, however, portrayed themselves as “just fine.” One of them, in particular, had an amazingly well done facade—everything was ok. She was ok, the facility was ok, life was great—despite the fact that I’m pretty sure she was pregnant. Every once in awhile I thought I saw the scared young 16 year old and my heart went out to her.

Sometimes I didn’t know what to say. What do they need to hear? I just tried to talk to them during the little time we had, show some interest and try to express to them that there are people who care for them. One of the girls seemed starved for attention and I sat with her for a few minutes during one of our stops and talked with her about what she’s going to do when she’s released tomorrow. She got this huge grin on her face and talked about seeing her dogs again, and playing with her nephew.

Several of them, though, seemed to humor me…they answered my questions and were friendly, but didn’t really show much interest.

Those few hours made me want even more to be involved in a ministry of that sort. As soon as I got back I emailed the director of the facility I’ve been talking about, asking her about volunteer opportunities.

Anyway, just wanted to share


Hi again Rachael,
Profs are teaching in sociology class that the ‘young adulthood’ nowadays can begin in the early 40’s. When you come across people your age who seem ‘immature’ remember that each has their own life experiences. I’ve found that many students in college don’t know what ‘real life’ is because they’ve been provided for by parents, scholarships or grants. As you know, book smarts doesn’t equal life smarts.

Remember what I wrote to you about knowing the Will of God in your life. We must read and memorize His Word to be able to do this. Sometimes God will speak to us through a friends wisdom, but that wisdom is always preceded by you hearing from God first…in His Word, through waiting to hear from Him after prayer and through the gift of discernment.

Press On!