House Parent
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Child or Youth Residential Care Assistant
Refuge Worker




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Helping or advisingClerical or OrganisingSkill Level 1




Hostel or House Parents provide care and supervision for children and young people living in residential facilities such as boarding school residential colleges and hostels.

House parents are concerned with all the tasks relating to the personal care, boarding accommodation, meals, study, recreation and weekend activities of children and adolescents in a residential Future Growth Very Strong establishment. They usually live in or near the boarding establishment.

ANZSCO ID: 423412

Alternative names: The term "Houseparent" is one of many names to describe Residential Child Care Worker, Homeparent, Hostel Parent, Residential Staff, Teaching Parent, Resident Counselor.

Specialisations: Boarding School Supervisor - usually provides a similar service to that of a house parent, operating from a school boarding house that provides accommodation facilities for students.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • concern for the wellbeing of young people

  • understanding of students' needs and cultural differences

  • sense of responsibility

  • good leadership skills

  • good organisational skills

  • able to work closely with others in a community setting

  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job.

Boarding School Supervisor
Boarding School Supervisor
(Source: Advertiser)

Duties & Tasks

House parents may perform the following tasks:

  • ensure good behaviour of the children

  • supervise and arrange activities that promote intellectual, physical, social and spiritual development

  • ensure living and hygiene standards are maintained

  • ensure students are attending classes

  • lend a sympathetic ear to children with problems or provide counselling services

  • perform minor domestic duties

  • accompany students on weekend outings.

Working conditions

Being a house parent can be considered more of a calling than an occupation. While on duty, this is a 24 hour a day responsibility (just like being a parent to your own children). You must have an innate concern for the wellbeing of youngsters.  You don’t choose the children placed in your care, so a good understanding of cultural differences is important. Effective houseparents have a strong sense of responsibility, great leadership skills, are very organized, able to work in close proximity to others, and be in good health and physical condition.

Most of the time, you will be in close contact with biological parents, social workers, counselors and child psychologists, teachers and more.  The ability to interface with a variety of people is essential. Good record keeping is also important.

Many employers require a college degree for at least one of the houseparent couple. Certainly experience working with children is viewed very favorably (including your own children). Most of the time houseparents work with troubled children, so specific experience in this field will give the applicant couple a favorable position.

Because of the interpersonal nature of this work with children, you can expect a very thorough background drug, and reference check.

You will need a valid drivers license and be insurable. You will probably be required to have CPR and first aid certifications, or be able to obtain them.

House parents are employed in a variety of environments. You could work in a Christian facility, a state or county organization, maternity home, etc. It is important that you research the guiding principles of the employer, to ensure that they line up with your own personal principles.  This job is not 9 to 5.  It’s your life. Due diligence up front will make for a much happier home life for you (and the children in your home).

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as a Hostel Parent without formal qualifications, however, they may be useful. A course in residential care might be helpful.

Did You Know?

There are Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) refuges (also called Safe Houses and Shelters) throughout Australia. They provide a safe and secure place for women and children fleeing DFV to live. The length of time someone will stay in a refuge depends on their individual needs and their personal circumstances. The evidence shows separation is the most dangerous time for women experiencing domestic and family violence

No two stories of people coming into refuge are the same, however all people coming into refuge will have access to specialist, intensive support. Staff in the refuge will help their clients with support, validation and advocacy. They will provide risk assessment and safety planning, assistance with Centrelink, financial institutions, long term accommodation needs and Court matters.

The location and details of women’s refuges are highly confidential and not available to the public. This is to protect the safety and security of both the refuge and the clients who call the refuge their home.

Example of a Women's Domestic Violence Refuge
https://youtu.be/ivUyLapV9sY


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