How To: Become A Houseparent
Houseparents play an integral role in the lives of children at Palmer Home. They are the loving arms that embrace each new child who enters our care. They ensure each child knows they are safe and that their needs will be met. Houseparents teach children how to love and be loved, how to have a strong relationship with parents, and how to thrive in a healthy family environment. It takes a special couple to fill the role of houseparents at Palmer Home and the way in which the Lord fills these positions is purposeful – just like Him.
Ideally, couples who are interested in becoming houseparents are dedicated to Christ and to the Palmer Home mission of serving vulnerable children. The process begins with an initial interview where couples answer questions related to their family life, their interest in pursuing the houseparent role, and then through sharing their testimony. Next, a team of staff members evaluates the couple’s potential fit within the ministry. After the evaluation, the couple completes the “Prepare Enrich” assessment with interviews with our Director of Whole Child, Lauren Strickland.
The Whole Child Initiative is part of the heartbeat of Palmer Home; it is trauma informed educational training that equips houseparents with a better understanding of the children in their care and provides tools to nurture the kids holistically. Initial houseparent training also includes shadowing other houseparents and building relationships with the children.
Following completion of “Prepare Enrich,” families participate in joint and individual assessment debriefs via virtual meeting designed to help us determine fit between prospective families and Palmer Home, as well as help guide families’ time and conversations during on-campus interviews.
Once a couple completes the “Prepare Enrich,” they are invited to the Palmer Home campus where they interview with the leadership team as well as current houseparents. The potential houseparents also have an opportunity to ask questions and to experience some aspects of everyday life on the campus.
The process of becoming a houseparent takes time. Palmer Home carefully assesses potential houseparents because we strive for the couple to stay long term and for Palmer Home to be the right fit for them. After a couple is hired as houseparents, they move into a very important training phase where they learn more about the Whole Child Initiative.
The Whole Child Initiative training is ongoing for the rest of the houseparents’ tenure at Palmer Home. Monthly training allows for houseparents to continue to grow in wisdom and grace as they serve the needs of their children. Since each child who enters Palmer Home has endured some form of trauma, the Whole Child Initiative training is a crucial piece in the healing and restoration process.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to finding houseparents; they range in ages and each come from different backgrounds. Each couple brings varied life experiences and perspectives which allow them to relate with their children individually and compassionately. Some houseparents already have biological children while others do not. Although there are many unique attributes that lend to uniqueness among the houseparents, one key trait unifies them: a desire to see children heal and grow mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
“I can’t say enough about our houseparents,” said Ashley Gray, Vice President of Children Services. “They are a phenomenal group of people. The kids become their kids. They see the kids’ successes, failures, and struggles. They are their biggest fans.”
Palmer Home’s ultimate goal is to give every child the opportunity to seek salvation in Jesus Christ. Houseparents get to demonstrate the love of Jesus on a daily basis through their ongoing patience, relentless love, humility, gentleness, and kindness.
If you or someone you know are interested in becoming a houseparent at Palmer Home for Children, don’t wait! Apply now and see what the Lord might have in store for you.