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Information for referrers

Home-Start…  building strong partnerships to support families

Home-Start is a national charity that is working with thousands of families in hundreds of communities across the UK.

Home-Start aims to give support to families who may be struggling to cope with a variety of challenges, including post-natal illness, disability, isolation, the demands of parenting young children, bereavement and multiple births:  helping prevent these difficulties from escalating into crisis, and crisis’s from developing into family breakdown.

In any local community Home-Start will be one of several organisations working with families and we value our relationships with other agencies.  Since Home-Start is a voluntary organisation it can offer a flexible approach to individual families.

Home-Start support is not a substitute for professional services but complimentary to them, and the best results are achieved through an active partnership between professionals and Home-Start.

Who can refer families to Home-Start?
The main referrers to Home-Start are health visitors and professionals in the social care and child care sectors.  Others include GP’s and those working in the fields of mental health, education, early years and probation.  Around a quarter of families self refer.

How to refer a family to Home-Start

You should:

  • Discuss Home-Start with the family – they MUST agree to receive Home-Start support.
  • Establish that the family has at least one child from Birth to Primary School age. This is key to Home-Start support.
  • Contact Home-Start and speak to a Coordinator.
  • Complete a referral form, which indicates the family’s needs.

Home-Start will:

  • Set up an initial visit with the family to discuss their needs and tell them all about Home-Start.
  • Carefully match the skills and experiences of a volunteer to the needs of the family.
  • Introduce the volunteer to the family (this may take time and if a suitable match can not be made then you will be informed).
  • Let you know when Home-Start support starts and ends.
  • Keep you informed, within confidentiality guidelines, about progress.

What Home-Start achieves
Every year we talk to families, volunteers and professionals about the effect of Home-Start support.  Through this vital monitoring and evaluation of our service we know that by supporting parents, Home-Start makes a positive contribution to family life and to the outcomes for children.

Home-Start can:

  • Reduce 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 and improve parenting skills.
  • Improve the home environment.
  • Improve children’s health, well being and development.
  • Improve access to health and community services.

We also know that our success in connecting with families that other services have difficulty reaching or engaging with is valued by professionals.

The Welfare of children

  • Home-Start is committed to promoting the safety and welfare of children.
  • The special relationship that Home-Start develops with families means that staff and volunteers may become alert to any concerns about children’s safety and well being.
  • Every local Home-Start has effective, up-to-date policies, a code of conduct and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children.
  • All Home-Start volunteers, staff and trustees sign up to the Home-Start code of conduct for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and have criminal records checks at the appropriate level alongside other recruitment, induction, training and supervisory arrangements.  Together these help to safeguard the children supported by Home-Start.

Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Every Home-Start undertakes self-assessment of their practice according to national quality assurance standards and criteria.
  • The self-assessments are validated during a full review with Home-Start UK every three years.  A third of all local Home-Starts are reviewed each year including interviews with families, volunteers, trustees and staff.
  • Each local Home-Start collects monitoring and evaluation information about the support of families and Home-Start UK collects information annually from local schemes on the needs of families and on Home-Start’s response to those needs.
  • The quality assurance reviews and findings from our monitoring and evaluation inform planning and decision-making and are used to improve services.

The Home-Start promise on…


  • Throughout Home-Start’s relationship with a family, all personal information about parents and families is treated as confidential, to be discussed only as necessary with the Home-Start Coordinator in support of the volunteer and to assist the family.
  • With a family’s permission (and only then), we will share certain information with referrers, Contact Point, the English information sharing index, and if attending multi-agency meetings.
  • Confidential information will only be shared with appropriate agencies with the 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.



© 2009 Home-Start Rochdale
Company Limited by Guarantee number 5282419 Registered in England & Wales and Registered Charity number 1107258.