Home-Start National Inc is recognised for their Volunteer Home Visiting Program for families with children aged up to five years who are experiencing difficulties in their home environment.
This practical early intervention service assists families whose children are at risk of poor life outcomes due to a variety of psycho/social stressors.
The program aims to directly support parents to enable the healthy development and wellbeing of their children. Free to all parents, the program helps them provide a good start to life so their children have every chance of reaching their full potential. Support can be received for just a few months or can be provided for several years until a family’s youngest child starts school.
A Family Worker/Coordinator and a team of trained and supervised volunteers home visit vulnerable families. Evidence-based parenting programs are provided to help enhance parenting skills and strengthen and repair parent/child attachments and family cohesion. Volunteers role model good parenting, effective communication and healthy relationships. They encourage parents to recognise their family’s strengths and to rediscover the joy in their parenting role.
The volunteers are usually parents themselves and attend six (one day/week) free training course plus regular ongoing training and support activities. The support provided is flexible, family centred and culturally sensitive. A ‘lifeline’ for many families who lack regular informal support, the volunteer’s role is tailored to suit the needs of each family. This could include practical support such as helping to care for babies and children, shopping, cooking, reading with children, general practical household tasks, transport and accompanying the family to appointments for health and other services.
Home-Start National Inc CEO Michelle McDonell said if they won the prize money would enhance and develop the organisation.
"The prize money would fund three days of staff and volunteer development, training and team building as well as two new volunteer preparation courses".