Host Family Placements

Living with a family in the host community is one of the best opportunities for learning how to work and relate effectively across the borders of culture, class, creed, and language. The family is a microcosm of the larger society. In its daily routines, cultural expressions, role relations, and communication styles, the family affords guests a fascinating “window” into the lived reality of another cultural group.

All participants in the L.A. Term stay with local families, and it proves to be one of the most rewarding experiences of the program. Through the home stay, students become an authentic part of the local community as they participate in the routines and relationships of their hosts. Attending family birthday parties and children's baseball games, and sharing meals together becomes a natural part of everyday life.

The L.A. Term staff secures host families primarily through referrals, local churches, and schools. They consider a variety of factors in selecting a suitable host family: ethnicity, stability, distance from the L.A. Regional Center, ability to include students in their family life, space availability, maturity, and community reputation. Students may also be placed in a single parent, extended family, or multiple family home.

Host families are given the following guidelines when hosting a student:

  • Provide three adequate meals a day, seven days a week, and discuss food options with the student when necessary. Host families must discuss any dietary restrictions and food allergies upon the student’s arrival and make any appropriate adjustments to meal planning and preparation.
  • Provide a private room for the student with adequate access to basic house amenities. Provide space for sleeping and storage of personal items.
  • Provide opportunities for the student to engage in regular family life and culture.
  • Live within a five-mile radius of the Los Angeles Regional Center where the student attends classes.

Families that are interested in hosting a student must go through an application and selection process where program staff examines the family’s residence and private room for the student, contacts their personal and professional references, and interviews the applicants. When screening host family applicants, we try to find the most qualified families to ensure students will be safe, secure, and supported.