I must declare an expression of heightened interest with this project as I hold the title of Volunteer Family Connect Champion and am equally a huge advocate for volunteering!
Firstly Volunteer Family Connect is a community-based early intervention program providing one-on-one emotional support to parents and carers in their home.
The broad objectives of the program are to:
- Increase parents’ confidence in their parenting
- Increase families’ connectedness to other parents and their local community networks
Key features of the program:
- A universal, free service for parents and carers with babies or young children (0-5 years)
- Families are linked to a trained volunteer (volunteers receive at least 30 hours of standardised training before they are matched with a family)
- All volunteers undergo the relevant State and Federal working with children and police checks
- The volunteer visits regularly to offer support and information usually for 2 hours each week for maximum up to a year (depending on need)
- Volunteer visits and training are guided by a fully developed program manual and best-practice guidelines
A Program Coordinator (who is a trained Family Support Worker) recruits, trains, supports and supervises the Community Parent Volunteers.
Volunteer Family Connect is an extremely innovative joint alliance, randomized control trial and social return on investment (VFC/RCT/SROI). Now if this collective wasn’t already enough buzz-words appearing in a phrase let me add to the uniqueness of its structure. The joint alliance consists of three Not For Profit service delivery agents (Benevolent Society; Karitane; Save The Children) and two universities (Macquarie University; University of Western Sydney) and one of the BIG 4 (Ernst and Young). Most importantly this exciting project is a global first and the majority of the funding comes from a philanthropist.
Further information on Volunteer Family Connect can be found at http://www.volunteerfamilyconnect.org.au/about-vfc/about-vfc