5 Things Houseparents Should Ask a Future Employer

As a job seeker, you’re vetting potential employers just as much, if not more, than they screen you. In a typical job search, you’d seek information like schedule expectations, salary and benefits, and company culture. Searching for a job as a houseparent is a little different. 

The good news is we can almost guarantee no one will make you wear a suit to work. But It might be hard to come across public information like company reviews and you may have never even met anyone in this career, let alone been able to speak with someone who has held a houseparent position at this particular employer. That means you’ll want to spend even more time and energy getting to know your future employer. After all, you won’t just be working there, you’ll be living there, too.

Here are five things you’ll want to consider when getting serious about a new houseparenting job:

  1. On-duty and off-duty expectations: Find out how many days in a row you’ll be expected to be on-duty and also what time off looks like at this employer. Is separate lodging provided for off-duty houseparents? Is there a rotation schedule with other staff? In a school setting, is the school year different than the summer break and other holidays?
  2. Your family and pets: As a houseparent, you’ll be taking care of multiple children or teens in a home setting. Many employers welcome your biological children in the home but there are often rules about how many children and their ages. Pets are often a concern – do you expect your cat or dog to be embarking on this new career with you?
  3. Orientation & training: There is no clear path to becoming a houseparent and as a result, houseparents bring diverse educational and professional backgrounds to this career. What does your potential employer offer by way of training? What is the process for orientation to get you and your spouse comfortable with caring for children with trauma and other complicated issues? How will your future employer equip you for success in performing the duties of your job?
  4. Job responsibilities: While every employer is different, you are wise to assume that your duties as a houseparent will extend beyond the simple definition of caregiving. It is common that a houseparent is responsible for all tasks inside a home as well as other administrative responsibilities. In your job search, push to better understand what the description for a houseparent entails at your future employer, including the process for performance reviews and evaluations, so that your expectations are realistic early on.
  5. Salary vs. compensation: Houseparenting is a paid job and there are a few unique factors to consider beyond the dollar amount of a salary. Your total compensation will include health insurance, retirement benefits, and paid time off, as well as other non-financial benefits and perks. For houseparents, this usually means housing, but what exactly that means will vary from employer to employer. Will you drive an employer-provided vehicle? If you have school-aged children, are they able to attend school on campus, or will they attend school elsewhere? And is there room in the schedule for one spouse to have a job outside of houseparenting?

This list is not exhaustive, and there are certainly endless considerations given your background and what matters most to you and your spouse. If you're ready to begin your career as a houseparent, begin by checking out our directory of Employers hiring houseparents today!

About the Author

Houseparent.com is a career resource and job board for people interested in pursuing a career in residential childcare. Our mission is to connect dedicated married couples and individuals with employers hiring houseparents, cottage parents, teaching couples and other live-in caregiving roles. Our goal is to share tools, resources and career opportunities so that you can make an impact in the lives of children who need it most.

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