Become a Houseparent FAQ
What are the requirements of the houseparent position?
It’s a comprehensive, challenging and rewarding role. Requirements include:
- Minimum of high school diploma.
- No more than two dependent children in residence.
- Prior experience working with children (preferably children from lower-income families)
- Able and willing to work in student homes of either gender and any age group (grades PreK – 12).
- Ability to successfully complete extensive clearance process.
- Ability to meet health and physical requirements of the position.
- Driving records and credit history in good standing.
- NO PETS are permitted.
What are houseparent responsibilities in caring for the students?
MHS takes a holistic approach to the care of students. Houseparents care for the students physically, mentally, academically, socially and emotionally.
Houseparents have a busy weekly schedule with the students. Each weekday they ensure students get ready for school and are appropriately dressed, prepare breakfast, oversee chores, and ensure the students arrive at school on time. During the school day, houseparents have unscheduled time, although there are some meetings and training during the school day. After-school time is filled with extra-curricular activities, chores, meal preparation, homework, and relaxation/recreation.
Weekends allow for a more relaxed schedule, although there is still a need to prepare three meals each day. Houseparents are encouraged to plan and participate in healthy student-focused activities. Taking students to Sunday chapel service is required on Sunday mornings.
What are the requirements in maintaining the student residence?
Houseparents ensure their residences and grounds are in good working order and are kept clean and neat. Houseparents oversee a developmentally appropriate chore program that actively engages students in participating in home care, while also learning responsibility. Houseparents participate in chore completion with the students. Houseparents also utilize an on-campus work-order system for home repairs and other maintenance.
What are the administrative duties?
Houseparents have numerous administrative responsibilities that include both student needs and operational matters. These responsibilities include maintaining student success plans, scheduling appointments for students, administering student medications, ordering food from the campus distribution center, submitting work orders for needed repairs, regular communication with sponsors and participating in meetings and training, as needed.
What about student transportation?
All houseparents are trained to drive the 10-passenger vans used for student transportation and must maintain driving records in good standing. Houseparents are responsible for most student transportation needs.
What about spiritual support?
The school is founded on Judeo-Christian values. Houseparents lead the students in daily devotions and take them to the on-campus Sunday morning chapel service. Proselytizing is not condoned.
What are the living arrangements for houseparents?
Houseparents are provided quality private apartments connected to their student homes.
No more than two dependent children may reside with a houseparent couple. Overnight guests must be pre-approved and complete a clearance process. No pets are permitted initially, but once houseparents are placed in a home ( 1- 2 years), certain breeds of dog are permitted with approval from administration. Drugs, alcohol and weapons are not permitted on campus. The campus is nonsmoking. Houseparents are required to carry personal renters’ and liability insurance coverage.
New houseparents are in “flex” status when they are first hired. This means they are provided a private apartment, but they are working in a variety of different homes until assigned a specific student home. When placed into a student home, they move into the apartment connected to that student home.
Can family and friends visit at Houseparent apartments?
Yes. Guests are permitted, including overnight, but there are clear and specific policies and procedures regarding guests that must be followed.
Do houseparents’ children attend Milton Hershey School?
No. Milton Hershey School is exclusively for students from situations of financial and social need. Houseparents’ children attend the local schools. Derry Township and Lower Dauphin are the local school districts. Private schools also are available.
What’s the houseparent work schedule?
The houseparent work schedule is subject to change in order to more effectively meet student and programmatic needs, as identified by MHS. Currently, couples work either a schedule of 12 days on with two days off, or 12 days on with three days off.
Is this a year-round position?
Yes. Milton Hershey School maintains a year-round program for the students, and the houseparent position is a 12-month role. Houseparents have a three-week vacation in the summer.
Can houseparents have other full-time employment?
No. Houseparenting is full-time paid employment for both husband and wife. Holding other full-time jobs is not permitted. After a couple has completed their probationary period, part-time employment may be considered. However, it must be approved by the supervisor, and is not encouraged due to the demands of the houseparenting position.
What about compensation?
Milton Hershey School provides competitive compensation and an excellent benefits package. In addition to the housing, utilities and food provided by nature of the employment as a houseparent, couples receive a combined income of at least $70,000.
This position is represented by Chocolate Workers 464 Union. Dues of $30 per month are required of each houseparent.
What’s the application process?
Since this is a residential position working with students, the application process is lengthy and rigorous. Candidate couples begin the process by completing online applications. (If difficulties are experienced with the application or if accommodations are needed, call 717-520-3359 or email email@example.com assistance.)
After an application is reviewed, a candidate couple considered to be a potential match is contacted for telephone interviews. If the phone interviews go well, the couple is invited for an on-campus interview that includes an overnight stay in the student home. Clearances must be obtained in order to do so. If a candidate couple is seen to be a potential match after the interview, the next step is a rigorous background check that includes multiple clearances and an investigator visit to the couple’s home to meet with them and their dependents. There also is validation of truthful statements on the application, validation of education, validation of marriage, financial history check, and references checks. Medical checks also are required, post-offer.
Tour a home:
Houseparenting at MHS
What if I have a question that is not answered here?
Contact Clint Barnes at 717-520-2317 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Clint is a former houseparent, so he can tell you more about it from first-hand experience.