Alongside Families Host Families are Christ-followers in our partner churches who want to help keep families intact. Host Families temporarily care for children whose parent(s) need time to get back on their feet. They also get to build a relationship with the parent.

We recruit partner churches rather than individual Host Families. CLICK HERE to learn more. If your church is not yet partnered with us, let us know that you want to change that!

Host Families have options!

Serving as a Host Family isn't one-size-fits-all. Host Families can serve in these ways:

1

Crisis Hosting

Host a child whose parent is facing a crisis or navigating a difficult situation. Hostings range from a few nights or a few weeks to several months depending on the reason that a hosting is needed. Host Families decide which hostings are a fit for their family.

2

Day Hosting

Care for a child during the daytime only so that a parent can attend a medical appointment, go to a job interview, or as a temporary childcare solution while a parent works on a long-term plan. Day Hosting needs range from one-time needs for a few hours to several weeks of daytime hosting.

3

Renew Program

Get paired with a parent and child(ren) who are in a transitional living program coming out of homelessness. You will provide friendship to help the family thrive by hosting the children for 1 weekend per month to give the parent a break and by doing a joint family activity with the whole family once per month. This pairing lasts for 3-6 months.

4

Host a parent or young adult

Host a young parent and their little one together. These hosting needs are often young mothers with their infants. You can also host a young adult, 18-22 years old, who is needing to stabilize their situation (often after aging out of foster care).

Fill out a Volunteer Interest Form

FAQs

What is the process to become a Host Family?

Host Families complete a thorough approval process that includes an application, a pastoral character reference, a 4-hour training, fingerprinting & background checks, a family interview and home safety evaluation, and signing various forms including our statement of faith. Don't be intimidated! If you move steadily through the process, we can complete your approval in around 6 weeks!

Is my family the right fit to be a Host Family?

Host Families can be a husband and wife with children, empty nesters, a single woman, a husband and wife with no children of their own... We have many different types of host family volunteers! The common theme is a heart to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our neighbors in need. Please reach out to us for more in-depth eligibility criteria to serve as a Host Family.

Who can I host?

  • Children ages 0-17
  • Young adults ages 18-22
  • In some cases, young mothers with their infant and/or small children

Why do parents need a hosting for their child?

The families who reach out to us lack a support system able to help them during life's most difficult situations. Common reasons that parents request a hosting for their child are:

  • The parent is being hospitalized or needs medical treatment
  • Homelessness
  • Needing to stabilize their mental health
  • Parental overwhelm/needing a mental health break
  • Leaving a domestic violence relationship
  • Needing to serve jail time

What support will I have?

You will serve as part of your church's Alongside Families ministry. You will have a volunteer Family Coach in your home weekly to check on you and the child you are hosting, and a support system of other volunteers and church members to equip you as you serve. Our staff team also provides professional safety oversight and support. You will never serve alone!

Can I choose which hostings we are open to?

Yes! Host Families complete a profile that includes the ages and number of children that they wish to host. Host Families receive emails and texts with all new hosting needs and can select which hosting needs their family can help with.

What contact will I have with the parent?

Host Families serve like extended family to the child and parent-- not as substitute caregivers. The parent maintains full custody and is honored as the primary caregiver for their child. While hosting, Host Families get to text pictures to the parent, help the child FaceTime with their parent daily, arrange weekly visits, and overall build a relationship with the parent too!

How will hosting affect my kids?

We won't sugarcoat it: This is a challenging ministry that will require your whole family to make sacrifices. What does that mean for your kids? It means that they will get to experience what it means to love like Jesus and to live out their Christian faith in deed and word. They will get to be on-mission as a family in their own home. They will learn to share and pray and care with and for others. They will also get a glimpse of poverty, injustice, and brokenness in this world and grow in their compassion and empathy for others. Here's an article we really like that applies to this question.

What happens after a hosting ends?

Our hope is that you can continue a relationship with the child and their parent! Many Host Families become like extended family or godparents and continue a friendship after a hosting ends that may include getting together for holidays, attending church together, babysitting for a weekend to give mom a break, and just "doing life" together!

Can I become a Host Family if I don't attend a partner church?

The Alongside Families model is to recruit partner churches versus recruit individual volunteers. This ensures that both volunteers and families that we serve have a community of support and also fulfills our mission. Learn more HERE. If you do not attend one of our partner churches, we would love to share with you how your church can partner! (It isn't as hard as it sounds!) All Host Families also affirm our statement of faith and provide a character reference from leadership at their church.

If you have additional questions about being a Host Family, please reach out to Mary Kay, our Volunteer Coordinator: marykay@alongsidefamilies.org