How does our service work? Minimize

Families can refer themselves or may be referred by an agency using the HCFA Referral form 2012.docx 

Our approach to supporting families is founded on the belief that families are the experts in their own lives and that they have the knowledge of what is best for their family. Families are encouraged to determine their own needs and to look at ways that the service can support them to meet their needs.

Helping Children and Families Association employs a part-time qualified coordinator who will manage the program. The coordinator usually visits the family in their home to explain what our service offers and explores with the family what activities would be most useful for a visitor to do. Families are welcome to have a support person or translator present. 

If our service can provide what the family has identified, then the coordinator matches a volunteer with the family and introduces the volunteer to the family. At this second meeting, the family and volunteer identify a suitable time and day for visiting, and the program commences.  The coordinator remains in contact with the family and the volunteer to make sure that both feel that the contact is helpful. If another service provider has referred the family, then we will inform them of the outcome of their referral.

The program continues for as long as it is meeting the needs of the family.  The average time families spend on the program is 6 months, but some families have only needed the service for a short time while they find their feet.  Many families form such a close bond with our caring volunteers that they forge life-long friendships, often adopting the visitor as a surrogate “aunty” or “gran” after HCFA's involvement ceases.

The coordinator of the service is a mandatory reporter for child abuse and neglect as is determined by the N.S.W. legislation. This means that when a volunteer has information that a child might be at risk of abuse or neglect, they need to discuss this with the coordinator. The coordinator will discuss the issue of concern with the family, unless there are concerns for the safety of our staff or volunteers. If we need to make a report to the Department of Community Services about our concern, we will, as much as possible discuss this with the family.