The Host Volunteer Program matches a child with a disability, aged to 18 years, with a volunteer host who shares their home and time with that child on a regular basis.
Arrangements around actual periods of care are flexible, to fit in with the needs of family, child and host. However, Interchange Gippsland encourages regular monthly visits, as this assists the relationship between the child and their host family to develop, so everyone feels comfortable and at ease with each other.
The Host Matching Process
Initially the prospective host, the child and their family all meet over a number occasions. This ensures everyone gets to know about each other. For the match process to continue, everyone must give their agreement and consent.
Hosts come from all cultural and religious backgrounds, lifestyle and relationship situations and can be any age over 18 years. The role the host plays can also be very different – another ‘family’, friend, buddy – each host contributes in their unique way to the hosting program.
With the hosting program, parents have the reassurance that their child is being cared for in a loving and welcoming family or friendship situation. All Interchange Gippsland staff and volunteers must undergo comprehensive screening to become a volunteer (see below for more information on screening). A CrimCheck, reference checks and home check are done on all prospective hosts and all hosts must also have a Working with Children clearance.
To enable them to provide the best possible care, hosts are provided with comprehensive information about their host child. Interchange Gippsland believe that parents are the best source of information regarding the care of their child and open communication is encouraged between parents and Hosts. Interchange Gippsland staff provide ongoing support throughout the match.
Screening of staff and volunteers
Interchange Gippsland is a ‘Child Safe’ organisation. We are committed to the safety and well being of all people accessing our service and support the rights of the child and vulnerable people. We will act without hesitation to ensure that a child safe environment is maintained at all times. We adhere to Child Safe standards in the development and production of all our promotional material and newsletters, recruitment documents (including advertisements and application forms) and in electronic communication media involving our internet, intranet and social media pages. All employees and volunteers on all our program must have satisfactorily completed the screening.