Career as a Houseparent

Career as a Houseparent

Houseparenting at Milton Hershey School is a unique career, significantly impacting the lives of Milton Hershey School students. 

Houseparents Milton Hershey School

What Is a Houseparent?

Milton Hershey School is a residential school that takes care of the complete needs of students, who all come from low-income backgrounds. Each student home, which typically has up to 12 students around the same age, has a Houseparent couple looking after them. We entrust Houseparents to provide the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual care they need. At Milton Hershey School, we believe learning and personal growth doesn't stop at the classroom - our Houseparents are extremely important in making our students successful.

Milton Hershey School Houseparents ensure that students live in a safe and stable environment with consistency and structure. Houseparents attend to basic child care needs such as meals, housekeeping, chores, appropriate attire, homework completion, dispensing medication, and ensuring adequate sleep, etc.

Equally as important, Houseparents are guides and mentors to students, teaching them appropriate behaviors and values to prepare them for fulfilling and productive lives. Providing spiritual care is also a component, as Houseparents model and teach Judeo-Christian values to the students.

Additionally, Houseparents are responsible for numerous administrative functions to ensure a smooth operating home such as coordinating schedules, overseeing behavioral success plans, ordering food and home maintenance, transporting students, etc. 

Houseparent Apartment

Houseparents FAQ Milton Hershey School

What's a Typical Day Like?

Houseparent Milton Hershey helping in kitchen

Houseparent Apartment Tour

Houseparents rise early in the morning to ensure that their students are up in plenty of time to adequately prepare for busy days at school.  Students are prepared healthy meal, dress according to school code, contribute to home care, and have daily devotionals before going to school.  While students are at school, Houseparents have unscheduled time to attend to their own personal needs.  Once the school days ends, the Houseparents are in high gear again.  Afternoons are filled with student activities, meals, chores, homework, and bed-time preparation. 

Weekends have a less structured schedule.  Houseparents are engaged with the students in more relaxed activities such as recreational, experiential learning and household tasks.  Sunday Chapel Service is a requirement for all students and Houseparents on duty.

Throughout all these activities, Houseparents are highly involved in the students’ lives, teaching them life lessons and counseling them on the proper steps to  choosing wise decisions for positive outcomes.  Milton Hershey School’s core values of integrity, positive spirit, commitment to mission, and mutual respect are guiding principles for all.     

As in a family, each student participates in, and contributes to, the experience of the student home. Students are responsible for completing homework and other school-related assignments and doing household chores. They also enjoy planned activities and have free time. Houseparents may take students to cultural, sports, and entertainment events. Group activities are available including intramural sports and the use of campus recreational facilities (Check out houseparents scrimmaging the boys varsity soccer team below!). Interested in seeing a student home? How about the Houseparent apartment?

How Is It Set Up?

Houseparents playing with students in soccer scrimmage

Milton Hershey Houseparents start out working in a “flex arrangement,” working in a variety of homes until placed in an assigned home or quad of homes. This position is a year-round position. Houseparents work 12 days on and 3 days off. Private apartments for the Houseparents are provided, NO PETS permitted. Houseparent couples are permitted to have two of their own children residing with them.


Becoming a houseparent at Milton Hershey School

Benefits of Being a Full-Time Flex Houseparent

  • Total compensation package including the value of a salary, a rent-free private apartment, meals, and utilities
  • A comprehensive benefits package (see Benefits Overview page)
  • Certified Houseparent training program
  • Relocation assistance
  • Use of athletic facilities (gym, tennis courts, ice skating rink)
  • And the satisfaction of making a positive contribution to the development of children. You wouldn't believe how powerful an impact you can make - our graduates regularly say their Houseparents made a dynamic difference in their lives.

Position Requirements:

It's all about the kids. Our job requirements ensure that we provide the best support for their growth - we're happy to answer your clarifying questions, but please note that these requirements are not flexible. It helps us make sure we have the best people in place to nurture and protect our students.

Every couple must be legally married at least 3 years and each person must be at least 27 years of age at time of application.

Also, applying couples must meet these additional requirements:

  • High school graduate or college education.
  • No more than two dependent children in residence.
  • Prior experience working with children and youth (preferably children and youth from poverty or similar challenged settings).
  • 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.

Questions? Contact Clint Barnes at 717-520-2317 or barnesc@mhs-pa.org. Clint is a former houseparent, so he can tell you more about it from first-hand experience.