Baptcare Home-Start Bendigo (VIC)

Your local Co-ordinator is: Jane Worthington                                      Ph: (03) 5441 1047 

3/14 Creek Street North, Bendigo, Victoria 3550                                    Fax: (03) 5444 0595 

Mobile: 0439 038 140

Our office is open: 8.30am - 4.30pm,  Monday to Friday  

Our office will be closed on the following days:
Labour Day: 11 March
Good Friday:  Easter Monday: 
Anzac Day: 25 April
Queen’s Birthday: 10 June

Here's a great article which has been published in Good Practice: A Statewide Snapshot 2016.

Walking alongside Susan and her grandchildren

Author: Jane Worthington, Home-Start Coordinator Organisation: Baptcare, Family and Children’s Services Program: Home-Start

Home-Start Home-Start is an early intervention service that places home visiting mentors with vulnerable families within the community to provide emotional and practical support around parenting. All mentors are trained volunteers who are supervised by a paid coordinator provided by Baptcare. This is a true community-supporting community model. At the point of referral Susan had been caring for her two preschool-aged grandchildren for a few months. The children had been removed from the care of their parents 12 months earlier following a serious injury to the younger child, who was two years old. At the time the children were removed, Susan was working full time and the children’s parents were living with her when the injury occurred, the department identified it was better for the children to be placed in short-term foster care while an investigation took place.

Once the investigation was complete it was determined that the children could live with their maternal grandmother, Susan. However, things were difficult for Susan – she continued to work full time while managing the care of the children, there was the trauma experienced by all involved in the initial removal of the children, and the children displayed difficult behaviours ranging from aggression to clinginess.

A family mentor, Carrie, was put in place and tasked with: supporting Susan to build routines; establishing a positive relationship between the two children; helping to develop confidence for Susan around parenting; emotionally supporting her to deal with the distress of the children’s removal; and managing future contact for the children with their parents. Carrie met with Susan on a weekly basis listening, validating, normalising and offering information and guidance. Carrie encouraged learning and language development for the children. She helped create evening routines and shared the challenges around Susan’s contact with her daughter. Carrie encouraged Susan to develop a mental health treatment plan with her Doctor and to seek counselling. She also helped set up regular supervised contact for the children with their parents. She made herself available when the family needed it most – after hours, when Susan returned from work. By establishing a non-judgemental ‘walking alongside’ relationship, trust was built where genuine changes could be facilitated for the family – at their pace.

Eighteen months later, Susan continues to work hard to juggle employment and caring for two small children, but there are noticeable positive outcomes. The children have fewer behavioural issues, more normalised sibling behaviours and delays in their development are no longer evident. The older sibling has transitioned smoothly into school. Working from a trauma-informed, strengths perspective allowed Carrie to gently guide and suggest options to the grandmother, never forcing a direction that the grandmother felt uncomfortable with but always exploring how the issue might best be dealt with. Trust, empowerment and confidence were cornerstones to this engagement. 

Baptcare’s Bendigo Home-Start program recently won the Powercor Bendigo Business Excellence Award for not-for-profit/community service organisation of the year.

The program was established in 2008 to help socially isolated families facing difficult circumstances to draw on the valuable experience of others in the community. It connects volunteers to families, based on specific needs of the families and the strengths of the volunteers. In the past financial year, Baptcare Bendigo Home-Start provided in-home support to 39 families in the greater Bendigo, with 114 children benefiting from this unique service.

Congratulations to the team and volunteers that make this program such a success.

Interested in finding out more about getting help, or becoming a volunteer with Home-Start and helping a family, call or email Jane

Dates for your diary

Supported Playgroup (Funded by FaPMI)
Starts Again for Home-Start families
Tuesday mornings- 10am - noon
at Salvo’s Gravel Hill Building - come along and join us. We will be, from this term, starting Mother Goose, song and rhyme sessions at the beginning each week.

If you would like more information about receiving support, becoming a volunteer, referral, starting a Home-Start Program in your area, or you would like to make a donation to help Home-Start continue it’s work with families and children, please call or email your local Home-Start scheme, or our National office on: 
Phone: 02 49529488