mum_baby_card-275x290Everyone needs a bit of help sometimes.

Many parents need a little help and support during the early years when children are young. There is no rule book for raising a family and sometimes it can seem overwhelming, particularly when families are going through difficult times.

Click the questions below to reveal the answers.

How are volunteers screened?

All volunteers meet the requirements of our personal specification. They are interviewed before being invited to attend a 10 week preparation course and will undergo a final interview before a decision is made by the coordinator about their suitability for placement with a Home-Start family. We take up two references and an enhanced DBS check.

How long is support offered for?

Volunteers provide continuous, weekly support for a period of time consistent with a family’s needs. These are assessed initially and reviewed periodically.

Home-Start East Surrey’s aim is to support and encourage families towards independence so that the volunteer is no longer needed. The review process will determine how long the volunteer’s support is likely to be needed and clear plans will be made for ending the support in discussion with the volunteer and family.

Do you have a confidentiality policy?

All personal information about parents and families is treated as confidential, to be discussed only as necessary with the coordinator in support of the volunteer and to assist the family. Any disclosure of confidential information to any other person may only be undertaken with the expressed permission of the parents for the purpose of assisting the family, except where it is considered necessary for the welfare and protection of a child, when information shall be shared with the appropriate authority.

How are volunteers matched with families?

The coordinator pays careful attention when matching a volunteer’s skills and experience to the needs of families. Many factors are taken into consideration, including:

  • The family’s needs
  • The volunteer’s aptitudes, skills and experience
  • Practical considerations: geography, transport and time
  • Mutual interests or life experience
  • What motivates the volunteer
  • Issues around culture, gender, background and disability

The success of Home-Start support is dependent on the relationship that develops between the family and the volunteer, so coordinators make every effort to match sensitively and appropriately.

The coordinator will always accompany the volunteer on the first visit to introduce the volunteer to the family and set the ground rules for visiting.

How will I be kept informed of the progress of the referral?

Referrers will be informed in writing:

  • Whether the referral has been accepted or rejected
  • When support to a family begins & ends

All other contact with referrers is usually made by phone.

Do you have a waiting list?

Home-Start East Surrey’s policy is not to keep a waiting list. We aim to provide support to families as soon as possible, however on some occasions we may ask you to consider re-referring later on. A coordinator can provide more information about this.

What happens if a referral is accepted?

All referrals that are accepted for Home-Start support will receive an initial visit by a coordinator to clarify the needs of the family and consider the support that Home-Start can offer. We aim to visit the family within 14 days of receipt of referral.

What happens if a referral is refused?

If the referral does not fall within the remit of the scheme or there are insufficient resources to provide support, the referrer will be contacted and be informed that Home-Start East Surrey cannot help on this occasion.  We will always endeavour to signpost families and referrers to alternative organisations who may be able to provide support.

How do I make a referral?

For each referral made a Referral Form should be completed.

Before sending in a referral form families must be consulted, informed of the content of the referral form and show their agreement by signing the form.

All referrals received will be assessed to determine whether or not:

  • The family has willingly chosen Home-Start East Surrey
  • The referral falls within the remit of the scheme
  • The referrer needs to provide further information prior to a visit by the coordinator
  • The scheme is likely to have the resources to support the family
  • That it is safe to place a volunteer with the family e.g. Domestic Violence

Please note we cannot accept referrals electronically.

Who can make referrals?

Families can refer themselves, or be referred to Home-Start East Surrey by any agency, e.g. health visitor, social worker, family support worker, CPN, nursery teacher, etc.

We only restrict referrals where there is a lack of resources.

Who can be referred?

It is our aim at Home-Start East Surrey to operate an open referral policy ensuring that support is available to any family who is experiencing stress or difficulty and who has at least one child under the age of five. However at times, please be aware that due to demand we may not always have volunteers available for placing. For information about services currently available please ring our office on 01737 770220.