Working together to support families

Referrers's Page

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be referred?

It is our aim at Home-Start Shropshire to operate an open referral policy ensuring that support is available to any family who is experiencing stress or difficulty and has young children. However, funding restrictions do not always make this possible, and as a result the availability of our service in Shropshire can change from year to year. For information about services currently available please ring your local office (link to contacts page)

Who can make referrals?

Families can refer themselves, or be referred to Home-Start Shropshire schemes by any agency. For example: the health visitor, social worker, family support worker, CPN, nursery teacher, etc. We only restrict referrals where there is a lack of resources.

How do I make a referral?

For each referral made a Referral Form should be completed. Generic Shropshire form We ask that any referral has the families consent and is signed. It is important that families are fully aware of what we could offer and have realistic expectations. To enable you to meet the families needs we may need to signpost you onto another local project/service if we feel we are not the right service. All referrals received will be assessed to determine whether or not:
  • The family has willingly chosen to have a service from Home-Start Shropshire
  • There are no risk factors that prevent a Home-Start Coordinator visiting
  • The referral falls within the remit of the scheme
  • The scheme is likely to have the resources to support the family

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 Shropshire cannot help on this occasion. We will always endeavour to signpost referrers to alternative organisations who may be able to provide support.

What happens if a referral is accepted?

All referrals that are accepted for Home-Start support will receive an initial visit by a coordinator within a suitable time period. You will be consulted before this happens. The initial visit takes place before support is offered to clarify their needs and the support that Home-Start can offer.

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

When we receive your referral we will write or phone to confirm that we have it. We try to ensure that before we visit we have consulted with you and then again when we know what support we can offer. We will also let you know when a family support ends.

How are volunteers matched with families?

The coordinator pays careful attention to matching 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
  • 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 link sensitively and appropriately. The coordinator always accompanies the volunteer on the first visit to introduce the volunteer to the family and set the agreement for visiting. The coordinator will stay as long as appropriate to support the family and volunteer to get to know each other.

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/adult when information shall be shared with the appropriate authority.

How long is support offered for?

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 Shropshire 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.

How are volunteers screened?

All volunteers meet the requirements of our personal specification. They are interviewed before being invited to attend a 12 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 a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.