Frequently asked questions
It is our aim at Home-Start Birmingham South to operate an open referral policy ensuring that support is available to any family who is experiencing stress or difficulty, lives in one of the areas where we provide support and has at least one child under the age of five.
Families can refer themselves, but permission should be included on the referral form for Home-Start to contact either their GP or Health Visitor to let them know that they have referred themselves.
Referrals can be made to Home-Start Birmingham South by any agency, e.g. health visitor, social worker, family support worker, pregnancy outreach workers, IFST's team, children's centres etc.
To make a referral please click on this link referral form and fully complete the form.
Before sending in a referral form families must consent to the referral being made and the content on the referral form must be discussed with them. The referrer must then sign the form to confirm that the family are fully aware of the referral being made.
All referrals received will be assessed to determine whether or not:
- The family have consented to the referral being made.
- The referral falls within the remit of the scheme.
- The referrer needs to provide further information prior to a visit by the co-ordinator.
If the referral does not fall within the Wards covered by Home-Start Birmingham South or there are not any children under the age of 5 within the family the referral will not be taken up and the referrer will be notified.
Once a referral is accepted the family will receive an initial visit by a coordinator. The coordinator will explain the support that can be offered, clarify the family's needs and confirm that the family would like our support. The family will also be given information on confidentiality, access to family group, and safeguarding procedures. They will be asked to sign to indicate that they have understood.
Referrers will be informed by the co-ordinator:
- When the referral has been accepted or rejected.
- When support is offered to a family, i.e. they are linked with a volunteer or start to attend family group.
- When support to a family ends.
The coordinator contacts the referrer to inform that the support is coming to an end.
The co-ordinators pay careful attention to matching volunteers 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.
- 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. Co-ordinators make every effort to link sensitively and appropriately.
The co-ordinator always accompanies the volunteer on the first visit to introduce the volunteer to the family and confirm a focus for visiting and confirms the day and time for the first visit. The co-ordinator will stay as long as appropriate to support the family and volunteer to get to know each other.
All personal information about parents and families is treated as confidential, to be discussed only as necessary with the co-ordinator 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.
Volunteers provide continuous, regular support for a period of time consistent with a family's needs. These are assessed initially and reviewed periodically.
Home-Start Birmingham South's aim is to 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.
Families can be offered support outside their home which complements home-visiting support for example, family groups, outings, medical appointments, shopping & budgeting advice, and accessing other community resources.
All volunteers meet the requirements of our personal specification. They are interviewed before being invited to attend a 40 hour preparation course. After the course we have discussions with each volunteer about the course and the support they would like to offer taking into consideration the number of hours they can give, any particular interests they have and the complexity of families they would like to support. During this meeting any worries of either the volunteer or the coordinators are discussed if these have not been addressed during the course. We take up 2 References and an enhanced DBS check.