What Every Houseparent Needs to Know!
I Wish Somebody Would Have Told Me!
This is specifically written for those people that are Christian or desiring to work in a Christian Facility which make up a substantial portion of the users of this site.
By Mike Hyde, The Webmaster
Christian Facilities are only a small portion of the total number of facilities in the country.
Looking at the job listings on my website it might seem that most residential childcare facilities are Christian. The reality is that Christian facilities only make up a small portion of residential facilities. My theory as to why you see more of the Christian and charitable organizations publicizing is that they are more dependent on donor support. State operated facilities and facilities fully funded by the state don’t have a need to publicize their existence and I believe they do their hiring through more traditional methods. However don’t think that their public silence equates to total silence. State run and secular facilities make up the majority of facilities in residential childcare and therefore have the greatest influence in government policy and regulation.
Christian facilities are as diverse as Christian denominations.
If you are looking to work in a Christian facility understand that their beliefs are as varied as the hundreds of different denominations there are in the country. When searching for a position you either have to look only at the facilities associated with your denomination or you are going to have to compromise on some of your beliefs. A few years ago I was unhappy and searching for a new position. I was contacted by a facility that wanted me for my computer and maintenance skills. After about the 3rd E-mail, I was told that I was probably too contemporary to work there. At this facility I would only be allowed to read the King James Bible, could only listen to and sing hymns and my wife and daughter could only wear dresses or skirts. TV was out, and my wife was expected to do the cooking. We would have starved. I decided it was best to continue my search.
It was then I learned I was much too conservative to work at another facility. I loved the program, and some of the things they were doing to help youth. I liked that they, for the most part, worked together as a team to care for the children. I would really like to see more facilities use their style of program and I really wanted to work there. We had a really good interview with everybody but the director. She decided that I was too conservative to work there and chose not to hire us. In the end it was a good thing, because I’m sure I would have quit because I would have had to compromise too many of my beliefs.
I ended up not leaving and now I am pretty content with my position, but even so, I have had to decide that I can live with the differences in my beliefs from that of the organization and denominational history.
Christian facilities may not always seem Christian.
(Disclaimer: The choices that the leadership of a “Christian” facility makes are between them and God. I am not here to judge them; I am simply reporting what I know.) This to a lesser degree goes to the diversity of Christian facilities and their beliefs. The facility that would not hire me because I was too conservative would allow a pregnant girl to have an abortion, on the basis that it was probably better to end the pregnancy than have another child living in placement. Many Christians would consider this not Christian, but the facility that did it, still claims to be Christian. I have a friend that worked at a Christian facility that had no problem hiring an atheist and did; even knowing that he would share his beliefs with the children. There are Christian facilities that accept government funding and in order to receive that funding or placements may put restrictions on what you can say to the children and what religious activities they are allowed to attend. That was true at the first facility I worked at. Additionally in all the facilities that I know of that accept government funding, and depending on the state some that don’t, cannot force the children to attend church.
You need to decide which issues you can compromise on and which you can’t and stick to that. It will greatly affect the places you would be able to work. Find out as much as you can about the facility before you accept a position. It is better to take your time and know for sure if you can live with the beliefs of a facility rather than have to move in three months because you realize you can’t. Many Christians prefer working in non-Christian facilities because they feel they don’t have to hold the non-Christian facility to the same spiritual standards as they would a facility that claims to be Christian. Each individual has to decide for themselves.
Check back for additions to this list. I will also welcome input from other houseparents to include in this list.