We help families with young children through a combination of home-visiting support, outreach, group support, parenting information and social activities.
Frequently asked questions
- Who can be referred?
- Who can make referrals?
- How do I make a referral?
- What happens if a referral is refused?
- What happens if a referral is accepted?
- Do you have a waiting list?
- How will I be kept informed of the progress of the referral?
- How are volunteers matched with families?
- Do you have a confidentiality policy?
- How long is support offered for?
- Do you offer other support in addition to home visiting volunteers?
- How are volunteers screened?
It is our aim at Home-Start Sheffield 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, funding restrictions do not always make this possible, and as a result the availability of our service in Sheffield can change from year to year. For information about services currently available please ring our office on 0114 2788377.
We do not provide a list of criteria for which families we are able to support as it can depend upon the family’s circumstances. However, our service is provided by volunteers who visit families in their homes. Home-Start Sheffield has a duty of care to our volunteers and we have to prioritise their health and safety. Bearing this in mind we are not able to place volunteers into homes where they may be at risk, for example where there is ongoing domestic violence, drug and/or alcohol misuse.
At the moment we not have many bi-lingual volunteers and are unable to support a parent/carer if they do not speak English. We are currently working on recruiting and training more bi-lingual volunteers. So please keep checking our website or ring 0114 2788377 for the latest information.
Families can refer themselves, or be referred to Home-Start Sheffield 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.
We are piloting a referral system that links to the City Council's multi-agency support teams. For more information on the First Response Teams click here. Referrers can use the First Response Team Form or Home-Start's Referral Form
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. During the pilot, with the families consent, we will forward all completed referral forms to the First Response Team.
All referrals received will be assessed to determine whether or not:
- The family has willingly chosen Home-Start Sheffield.
- The referral falls within the remit of the scheme.
- The referrer needs to provide further information prior to a visit by the co-ordinator.
- The scheme is likely to have the resources to support the family.
If the referral does not fall within the remit of the scheme or there are insufficient resources to provide support, the referral with be rejected and the referrer will be informed that Home-Start Sheffield can not help on this occasion.
All referrals that are accepted for Home-Start support will receive an initial visit by a co-ordinator before support is offered to clarify their needs and the support that Home-Start can offer.
Home-Start Sheffield aims to provide support to families as soon as possible, but where there is not a volunteer available immediately the family will be asked if they want to go on a waiting list. The majority of families are linked within two months of referral, however on occasion families may be waiting longer than this, or be told that support is unavailable for the foreseeable future and be taken off the waiting list.
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 a group.
- A family is placed on the waiting list.
- Support to a family ends.
A letter will be sent to the referrer at the commencement of support and at the end of support to a family.
All other contact with referrers is usually made by phone.
Referrers are given the opportunity to comment on the service offered by Home-Start Sheffield at the end of support to families via a referrers’ questionnaire.
The co-ordinator pays 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.
- 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 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 set the ground rules for visiting. 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 Sheffield’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, parenting information.
Families may be offered alternatives to home-visiting volunteers if it is felt to be more appropriate. For example we have a number of support groups operating in the city, and a parenting programme called 'Parents as first teachers'. For details of the services currently available please phone our office on 0114 2788377.
All volunteers meet the requirements of our personal specification. They are interviewed before being invited to attend a 9 day preparation course and will undergo a final interview before a decision is made by the co-ordinator about their suitability for placement with a Home-Start family. We take up 2 References and an enhanced CRB check.
New Referral Form May 2013
For the latest news on our services in your area download our Services Booklet or phone us on 0114 2788377.
For our latest funding news...
...go to our News page.
The families that I have referred to Home-Start have received 1-1 support that has enabled and empowered them to maintain emotional well being and interact with their community.
Want to be kept informed?
E-mail us at email@example.com with any specific queries or requests for further information
Last year 2012/13 we supported 263 families in Sheffield with 113 volunteers
I have referred a few families to Home-Start and all have been successful with excellent feedback. Home-Start has been such a great support to families who are feeling isolated, low confidence and self-esteem. With the help of volunteers, families have had the support they need to get back on their feet with more confidence.
Community Nursery Nurse
Having a Home-Start volunteer assigned to some of our families is of real benefit. Sometimes just having a friendly face who is unattached to their problems makes all the difference to families and knowing that there is someone else who can help and support if and when they need it is a great comfort. Having set up a group in partnership with Home-Start (Messy Mondays) it is really great having a volunteer around. This lady is very proactive in working alongside the families and helping them to get the most from the group, encouraging parents to work with their children.
Home-Start is a reliable service which puts the needs of families at the heart of its work within Sheffield. I have referred families to Home-Start and also worked in partnership with them for the past 9 years.