By Mike Hyde, The Webmaster
One of the hottest topics of discussion among houseparents is their salaries. After running this website for almost 5 years I have come to a conclusion about houseparent salaries: There is no average salary. Salaries vary so much depending on the type of facility, where it’s located, who runs it, the type of kids, and what program they use that you really can’t come up with an average salary. You simply have to find a facility that has one you can live with and meets your needs.
One thing that doesn’t help at all is when you sit around and complain about how much you are not paid. Every position I ever accepted, I knew what the salary was when I accepted it, so I really had nothing to complain about, even though I did. You would not believe how many times I have heard, and said, “the pay sucks - I don’t even make minimum wage.”
For many of us, if we were to sit down and figure the total hours that we work and what we would get paid for overtime, we wouldn’t make minimum wage. However the salary of a houseparent is much more complex than that. For example, how many jobs will pay you for the following activities:
- Playing a game of basketball with the kids?
- Going to a movie?
- Going fishing?
- Going to Church?
- One of my favorites, Watching a football on Sunday afternoon with the kids?
- etc. ?
How many places will pay you for:
- Cooking & Eating your supper? (in addition to providing you the groceries)
- Doing your laundry?
- Doing homework with your kids?
- Taking a shower?
You also have to figure in all the extras that you get as a houseparent. I realize that every facility is different but at the facility I work at we receive things that you would never get with a “Normal” job.
- My birth children are allowed to attend camps and benefit from camp scholarships the same as the home children.
- My birth children receive gifts at the parties we attend the same as the home children.
- We are allowed to participate with our birth children when ever there is a sponsored activity (Bowling, roller-skating, water-parks, etc.)
- The almost $100 a week I save in gasoline because I don’t have to commute to work everyday.
- The money I save because I am allowed to use the home's shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.
- The groceries we don’t have to buy, because we are eating with the youth we care for.
- Though I choose to provide my own place for relief, I wouldn’t have too if I chose not to.
I would like to end with this. If you are truly being under paid do something about like finding a place that will provide for your financial needs. However, make sure you are comparing apples to apples. If you don’t figure in all the extras, or the things you would have to do anyway (like shower) but you otherwise wouldn’t be getting paid for, your comparing apples and oranges. It took me a long time to learn that.