Question #25 – 6/12/2010 – What Are The Requirements for Single Houseparents?

 I was just wondering if you knew how hard it is to become a houseparent? I know it would be pretty demanding to be one, but I was wondering what the requirements usually are, like how much experience you need. Would there be any chance of a single 21 year old getting a job or do most places want older people? And if you were single, would you have to do relief work, or could you actually be in charge (or partly in charge) of a cottage? Rebecca B.

Mike’s Response

The requirements to be a houseparent vary greatly by facility.   All that I know of require at least a High School Diploma or GED however, some facilities require a college degree. All require that you be at least 21 years old, many require that you be 23 or 25 because of insurance issues.  Most require that you be able to drive, so that you can take children to their appointments.  Some require that you pass extensive training before you start working others will turn you loose with no training.  It just depends on the facility and the State the facility is located in.

As a general rule, in most live in facilities, singles work as assistants and relief staff, however that is not always the case.  Some facilities will pair up singles into teams that serve as primary houseparents.  I know of a facility in Florida where most of the staff is single males.  Another option for singles is to work in facilities that do shift work.  All the staff work as one team and it doesn’t matter if you are single or not.

And yes being a houseparent is one of the most demanding jobs I have ever had, but it also has been one of the most rewarding.  I have had the opportunity to travel around the country and work in different facilities as I explored our country.  I have also made some outstanding friends with the various staff members I have worked with.  But most importantly, I was able to make a difference in the lives of many children, some that I continue a relationship with today, years after they or I have left the facility. 

If you really want to be a houseparent or residential childcare work, chances are pretty good that there is a facility out there that could use you.

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