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Referring families

Referring families

Full details on how to refer a family to Home-Start for support.

We help families with young children through a combination of home visiting support, group support and social activities. We match the needs of the family with trained volunteers who provide emotional and practical support. Support is free, confidential and non-judgemental.  Home visiting volunteers call by every week, for a couple of hours, for as long as the family needs support, or until the youngest child turns five or starts full-time education.

Home-Start accepts referrals from:

  • Health visitors
  • GPs
  • Professionals in social care and child care
  • Professionals in mental health, education, early years and probation
  • Families themselves (25% of Home-Start families self refer*)

Referrers should:

  • Discuss Home-Start with the family – they must agree to receive support
  • Establish the family has at least one child under five – this is key to Home-Start support
  • Contact your nearest Home-Start and follow their referral process

Home-Start will:

  • Set up an initial visit with the family to discuss their needs
  • Carefully match the skills and experiences of a volunteer to the needs of the family
  • Introduce the volunteer to the family
  • Let you know when Home-Start support starts and ends
  • Keep you informed about progress
  • Monitor and assess their support

*UK wide self referrals April 2011 – March 2012

Home-Start knows that by supporting parents we can make a positive contribution to family life and to the outcomes for children.

Home-Start support can:

  • Reduce family isolation and increase social support networks
  • Strengthen parent/child relationships
  • Improve parents’ physical health and emotional well being
  • Help parents to appreciate the joys of parenting
  • Improve parenting skills
  • Improve the home environment
  • Improve children’s health, well being and development
  • Improve access to health and community services

Home-Start’s promise on the welfare of children
Home-Start is committed to promoting the safety and welfare of children. Our relationship with families means we are alert to any concerns about the children’s safety and well being. Each local Home-Start has:

  • Effective, up-to-date policies, code of conduct and safeguarding procedures
  • Criminal records checks
  • Recruitment, inductions, training and supervisory arrangements
  • Regular quality assurance checks

“Home-Start is invaluable both to myself, as a professional, and to the women I work with. Having the help of a volunteer or participating in the social support Home-Start offers aids recovery from post natal illness. I value Home-Start and feel honoured to be asked to talk to the new volunteers about post natal illness, my role, treatment and resources. I have referred many people to Home-Start and all of them have had positive experiences and invaluable support
A nurse working with women experiencing pre natal and post natal illness

“Home-Start provides an essential support service to vulnerable families and has been dedicated to improving the lives and well-being of children and their families for many years. A central component of Home-Start’s service is to provide support early, before family problems or pressures evolve into deeper and more challenging forms of family crisis. This early intervention approach enables families to strengthen their own capabilities and gives them a vital source of sustained support.  Given the difficult social and economic forces that are currently affecting families across the country, it is my hope that Home-Start will continue to steadfastly support vulnerable families.”
Graham Allen MP & early intervention expert

"I would like to express our ongoing support for the Home-Start service.  Their home visits and local group provide invaluable help to many of our vulnerable families.  One mother said she felt nurtured and cared for when she attended your group - with three young children she felt someone was looking after her needs. We have one complaint  - and that is we would like more workers as we have so many families who would benefit from your service."
A health visitor, Essex