Practical family support designed through interagency working
The Homemakers Family Support Service is a really practical prevention and early intervention service that helps parents in their own homes. It came about when Limerick CYPSC identified that there were no services in Limerick providing practical supports on a preventative basis for parents around household routines. Existing services were working with families with higher levels of need.
Recognising this need, Limerick CYPSC connected with local partners to explore how to provide a new service that would engage with families and provide practical support before issues get worse and relationships get damaged. These local partners included ABC Start Right, Tusla the Child and Family Agency, Barnardos and the Education Training Board. By working together, these partners have shared time, money, knowledge and expertise to create a successful service that works directly with parents and children living in Limerick City.
“The home based nature of the service and the practical support it provides helps create less stress for families as we tell them that they don’t need to be “ready” for us to call. We come in and work at the times that cause the stress rather than talk about those times later. We come in at mealtimes, or on school mornings or at homework time, depending on the needs of a family. It is not unusual to be talking about routines while drying the dishes. Almost every family reports less stress.”
Co-ordinator of the Homemakers Service.
The service does not operate on a typical 9-5 working day. Rather, the Homemaker Co-ordinator and trained “Homemakers” work with the family to assess their needs and develop a clear plan. The Homemaker then meets with the family in their home at the time of the day that works best for them; like in the mornings when children are getting ready for school; or in the evenings helping with family meals and homework routines. The service works with a family for an initial eight weeks to build parents’ confidence and to help them manage routines in the home. Each case is then reviewed and support can be extended to 24 weeks if needed. If families need more assistance after this period the Homemakers Service can refer the family to other support services.
“…they are someone to bounce ideas off. Homemaker gave me the confidence to trust the thoughts in my head.”
“…without support I would be drowning every day. I was forgetting the important things for my kids like spending time with them and getting them active every day.”
During its first two years the Homemakers Service engaged with 90 families, working with over 350 parents, carers and children. The service has focused on three key areas:
- Support parents / carers to perform a variety of household management tasks such as meal planning, grocery shopping, food preparation, house-cleaning, dish-washing and laundry.
- Support the family to establish an orderly household routine which meets the educational, social and emotional needs of the children.
- Teach, demonstrate and encourage parents to manage daily tasks and child care routines.
Barnardos manages and operates the Homemakers Service. Barnardos collects extensive information on the service which shows that children have improved physical and mental health, and improved school readiness and engagement in learning. Parents report feeling less overwhelmed and stressed by housekeeping and other routines and this in turn is improving overall family relationships.
“Staff made a simple suggestion [daily schedule] and it made really big changes. I can’t believe that something so simple made such a big difference.”
“It is easy to do what staff do with Ross when staff are not present. We read, play with his blocks and also do colouring together.”
The Homemakers Family Support Service is making a proven difference in the lives of families. It was set up as a result of an interagency partnership led by Limerick CYPSC. The service will continue to help parents, children and families across Limerick City to manage better the daily stresses and strains of life; ultimately improving health and education outcomes for children in Limerick.
“I have a different child; we now talk together more as a family and spend more time together.” Adam
Click here for more information on the Homemakers Family Support Service.
Click here for more information on the work of Limerick CYPSC.
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