Home-Start collaborates with Social Services
Peter and Mary are a couple with two young children. Maria has a history of abuse in her childhood. Peter has slight mental retardation.
A paediatrician at the Children's Hospital diagnosed some deficiencies in their parenting role which had an impact on the physical and emotional development of children and suggested Home-Start support.
Maria describes her condition before coming to Home-Start: "There was a lot of tension in the house. We have frequent fights. We did not know how to treat the children, we had ignorance of many things. "
The Home-Start coordinator (paid professional) worked with the paediatrician who referred the family, visited them at home, tried to understand what was happening and to diagnose their support needs. She then considered who amongst the available Home-Start trained volunteers was best suited to connect to and support the family. In this case, she decided to connect two volunteers with the family, a volunteer mother and a volunteer father in order to support the mother and father of the family respectively. Together, and with the cooperation of parents, they set the frameworks for cooperation and worked a family support plan.
For eight months the two volunteers constantly visited the family once a week for about two hours but at different times, always under the supervision of the coordinator. The female volunteer worked with the mother, helped her organize her everyday life, exchanged her parenting experiences, strengthened her psychologically, encouraged her to do things. The male volunteer collaborated with the father, went together in the park, played with the children, functioned as a model of a positive parent.
The results of this support are expressed by the mother itself: "I and my husband have gained a lot of knowledge on how to behave with the children, we play more with them, especially my husband gained more courage. I have a programme so I have more time with my kids. I made use of the children's services with which Home-Start connected me. My children have become more sociable and cooperative. We have more bonding as a family. They also linked me with a psychologist who helped me overcome the phobias of my childhood and learned to put limits on my relationship with my mother. Every day, I gain more and more self-confidence. I plan to study".
What makes Home-Start different we asked. She replied: "Patience to listen to you, you feel the Home-Start people near you, they care as if we were their own people, they gave me courage, they helped me a lot. If Home-Start was not available, I would not know what I would do".