Houseparent Couple

REPORTS TO:  Program Manager



Houseparents use biblical values in modeling a healthy family, as they care for the children residing in their home.  They manage the home so as to create an environment which facilitates the attainment of goals established when each child is accepted at the Ranch.  Within a structured environment, they ensure a holistic approach to nurturing each child.  Additionally, they assist in the care and maintenance of Chestnut Mountain Ranch property.


Spiritual Development of the Child

  • Sets a good example of Christian attitude and conduct.
  • Trains children in the experience of worship by actively participating in a local church and encouraging the participation of the children in the activities of the church. Attendance is required for Sunday worship, but Houseparents should consider the value of the child participating in other services, Sunday School, youth meetings (i.e. Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, etc.), and retreats.
  • Conducts daily family devotions with the children.

Emotional Development

  • Becomes familiar with each child’s social history in an effort to understand the child as an individual.
  • Is available to the child at all times, coordinating their input with the Program Director, especially during crises.
  • Looks for ways to help the child achieve the goals that were set for him when he first came to Chestnut Mountain Ranch.
  • Looks for things the child does well, be fair in giving consistent consequences.
  • Focuses on reaching the heart of the child through Christ’s teachings, never to emotionally scare a child into spiritual decisions.
  • Discern theological and spiritual language around a child – When in doubt, ask up the chain.
  • When the children are sick, cares for them. When they’re involved in school or church activities, encourages them.  When they have responsibilities, hold them accountable.
  • Nurturing is guided by the emotional age of the child and stretches from tucking them into bed and reading stories to them to assuring them that they are accepted unconditionally.
  • Develops and maintains an accepting and empathetic relationship with the child’s relatives.
  • Communicates with the staff any significant experiences or attitudes of the child.
  • Holds information about the child and his family confidential, to be shared only on a professional basis.
  • Reports immediately all incidents, indications or rumors of child abuse–whether physical, verbal, emotional or sexual–to the Executive Director and/or Program Director who will, in turn, notify the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. This information can never be “held in confidence.”

Social Development

  • Provides formal and informal play periods – less electronic entertainment and more outdoor activities.
  • Helps the children develop habits of proper behavior, dress and safety at social and recreational activities.
  • Teaches children appropriate methods of building and enhancing interpersonal relationships.
  • Plans and carries out off-Ranch activities for the whole home.
  • Makes a concerted effort to give each child sufficient individual attention to compensate, to a certain degree, for the necessary regimentation of Ranch life and  to make up for his being away from his own family and for his having to share affection with so many other children.
  • Ensures that each child in the home is properly fitted for shoes and clothing. Clothing items shall be appropriate to the seasonal weather and should be comparable to that worn by other children in the community.  If the child’s parents have not provided the needed clothing items, Houseparents should bring it to the attention of the Program Director.
  • Avoids derogatory comments of a child’s parents, relatives or guardians.
  • Plans meals, as much as possible, so as to enable staff and children to eat together, serving both the same food.

Intellectual Development


  •  Encourages a wholesome and constructive attitude toward school.
  •  Provides structured time each day for schoolwork and ensures that the children have necessary study materials.  Advises parents/guardians of materials they must provide.  The cost of materials which the Ranch must supply will normally be billed to the parents/guardians.
  • Is available during study time to give as much personal assistance and counseling as possible in the preparation of school assignments.
  • Works closely with tutors and sees that children understand the tutor’s assignments and are held accountable.
  •  Has an on-going communication with Ranch teaching staff, responds to notes from teachers, reviews progress reports and report cards, etc.
  • Responsible to give ongoing updates to child’s parent/guardian as to child’s school performance.


  • Uses discipline to help the child learn self-control, rather than forcing him to conform to adult standards.  Discipline is training that makes punishment unnecessary.
  • In planning discipline, the child’s age, intelligence, emotional makeup and his past experience should be considered.
  • Discipline must be fair and consistent, and every effort should be made to help the child see it as such.  Standards of discipline for the Houseparents’ own children should be similar to those expected of the resident children, although the means of carrying out that discipline may be different.
  • Group pressures and group values can have a constructive place in the training of children.  However, discipline requires more maturity and understanding than can be expected of a group of children alone, and no child or group of children should be allowed to discipline another child.
  • Serious offenses, such as drug use, sexual acting out, criminal offenses or running away, should be reported to the Program Manager immediately and followed up with a written Incident Report.
  • No disciplinary action should be taken which will demean the child or damage his self-esteem.  Corporal punishment (spanking) is not an option.
  • As a general rule, discipline should be administered only to your assigned children.  Refer other infractions to the appropriate Houseparents.
  • Withholding of food will never be used as a form of discipline.

Physical Development of the Child

Housekeeping and Ranch Maintenance

  • Supervises the children in completing household chores and helps them develop good housekeeping habits.
  • Assigns children to household tasks that are appropriate to age and abilities.
  • Teaches the children how to use the proper tools to take care of the Ranch.
  • When possible, there should be an element of choice in the assignment of jobs, and changes should be made frequently.  Ideally, each job should have a written description, including physical and intellectual requirements.  Such a description would serve as a guide in rotating work assignments in line with the child’s age and ability.


  • Plans menus, prepares and serves nutritionally balanced meals using seasonal fruits and vegetables, food storage items, donated items, and home-purchased menu supplements.
  • Helps the children develop the capability for meal planning, budgeting, and preparation (within their ability to understand).
  • Models and practices good table manners and encourages an atmosphere of “serving one another” during meals.  Eat as a family.
  • Provides opportunities for the children to develop skills as good hosts to guests in the home.
  • Prior to turning the home over to the Program Assistant, prepares any meal he will be expected to serve or leave him with the ingredients so that minimum preparation will be needed and his attention will not be distracted from the children; unless other arrangements are made.


  • Supervises all laundering of clothes.
  • Keeps clothing in good repair.  Helps children to learn how to care for clothing, including the basics of mending.


  • Encourages the development of good personal hygiene habits such as bathing, brushing teeth, changing clothes, shampooing hair, cleaning nails, etc.
  • Encourages good grooming.
  • Knows any special health needs of assigned children (allergic reaction to bee stings, medicines, etc., special medicines needed, etc.).  Ensures required medication is taken at the proper time and in the prescribed amount.
  • In conjunction with the child’s parents, schedules medical and dental appointments and sees that appointments are kept.
  • Meets with Program Manager and any contracted psychologist and/or psychiatrist (as needed) to establish strategies for the physical and emotional health of each child.

Home Maintenance

  • Maintains the home and furnishings are in good order – tour ready at all times.
  • Keeps the home van in good running condition, practices preventive maintenance, and informs the Director of Operations of needed repairs.
  • Advises the Director of Operations promptly when repairs to the home or furnishings are needed.
  • Practices good stewardship- turns lights out, heats with wood when possible, closes doors to areas not in use, turns down thermostat at night.

Ranch Chores

  • Accomplishes assigned Ranch chore.
  • Maintains part of the Ranch grounds. As with chores in and around the home, teaching children to use tools (lawnmower, weedeater, etc.) to take care of a large section of land can be conducive to the development of good work habits. It is important that Houseparents understand their objectives in teaching a child how to work and that they not look upon the children as merely unpaid labor.

Staff Relations

  • Participates and cooperates with all those who make up the Family Support team–Program Director, School Teachers, other Houseparents, Program Assistant, and the Executive Director.
  • Provides for the spiritual, social, educational and emotional well-being of assigned children by referrals to appropriate staff persons.
  • Provides documentation as required–reports of fire drills, accident/incident reports, budget book and associated financial information, menus, etc.
  • Informs Program Assistant of the home routine and any special needs of a particular child.
  • Acts as hosts for scheduled public relation tours of the homes.
  • Attends interviews for children who are being considered for their home.


  • Christian of high moral and ethical character.
  • Agrees with Chestnut Mountain Ranch Statement of Faith.
  • Regularly attends church and is actively involved with a community of believers.
  • Shares with spouse a burden to provide a Christian home for troubled children and to accept the associated call for sacrifice.
  • Teachable and flexible.


Education and Experience

  • High School Diploma plus work experience.
  • At least twenty-five (25) years of age.
  • Previous work in a child care agency desirable.
  • Good moral character and integrity. Strong Christian character and nurturing lifestyle as documented by references.


  • Willing and able to do manual work.
  • Able to lift up to fifty (50) pounds – men.
  • Able to lift up to twenty-five (25) pounds – women.
  • Able to keep good records.
  • Able to follow oral and written instructions.
  • Able or willing to learn to drive a manual shift truck or tractor
  • Able to become First Aid and CPR qualified.
  • Able to be on call twenty-four (24) hours at a time.
  • Able to prepare three (3) meals a day for ten (10) or more people.


  • Good physical and psychological health as assessed by employment exams and job performance.
  • Valid West Virginia driver’s license within thirty (30) days of employment.
  • Able to adjust to sudden changes in schedule.
  • Able to maintain home budget and checking account.
  • Able to balance tension between Ranch responsibilities and those of own family.