Home From Home Carers come from a wide range of backgrounds, but the starting point for almost all of them is the realisation that they could make a difference. Taking care of a child with a disability can be demanding at times, but can also be rewarding. By becoming a Home From Home carer we hope you will gain a real satisfaction and have fun while looking after someone else’s child.
It is often thought that shared care is simply a way of giving parents a break from caring for their child, but the children also benefit from short breaks just as much as their families.
Most of the children using the scheme attend special schools, and may not always have the opportunity to develop friendships with other children in their neighbourhood. Home From Home offers great opportunities for children to experience new activities, and to interact and form relationships with carers and their families.
For the child’s parents, Home From Home gives them the opportunity to spend time with their other children or to simply recharge their batteries.
There are a diverse range of children with disabilities in Slough that need the type of help that you may be able to offer them. You do not need to have had previous experience of children with disabilities to become a Home From Home carer, although some experience with children would be beneficial. Above all, carers must be able to provide a secure and caring environment, be willing to attend training and have a stable lifestyle. Patience, energy and sense of fun always help.
Home From Home is a service for children up to their eighteenth birthday who have a wide range of disabilities, which could include:
- Physical disabilities could include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and hemiplegia.
- Learning disabilities could include Down’s syndrome and developmental delay.
- Some children may have autistic spectrum disorder
- Some children may have sensory needs, for example hearing and vision impairments or multiple disabilities.
First and foremost they are children with their own individual characters, needs and preferences.
What does being a Home From Home carer involve?
It may be just doing everyday activities with a child, such as looking round the shops, watching a DVD, playing a game, reading a book, gardening, baking a cake or simply taking a walk in the park to feed the ducks. Simple things which help enrich children’s lives and are much more enjoyable when shared.
A child will expect you to:
- Always treat them as part of the family
- Listen and talk to them
- Provide clear, firm but fair boundaries
- Protect them and provide for their identified needs
- Be there for reassurance and trust
- Provide friendship
The children that use Home From Home usually live at home with their parents so carers will be working with their parents in partnership. As a Home From Home Carer:
- You will receive regular visits from your allocated supervising social worker/linkworker (more regularly at the beginning when everything is new)
- You will receive access to training and have a personal development plan to assess.
- You will have the chance to meet other carers through outings and social events organised specially for carers and their families by the Home From Home scheme workers.
- You will have access to an out of hours social work service for use in an emergency.
- You will have an annual review to look back on your previous year of caring.
As a Home From Home carer you are classed as a volunteer and receive a small expense payment each time you spend time with the child you are introduced to.
You will need to submit a claim form on a monthly basis. This payment is expected to cover the cost of your meals and entertainment as well as a small contribution towards the running costs of your home. Any additional expenses need to be negotiated with their parents.
You can also claim mileage for collecting and returning a child to and from their home, should you be requested to do so.
We will lend you some equipment to enable you to provide a safe environment to care for any children from the scheme e.g. stair gate, car seat.