Home-Start International

Home-Start International

Home-Start International is a worldwide family support organization. Home-Start works with people who have parenting experience to support local parents.

Home-Start schemes have been established in Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Israel, Kenya, Lithuania, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Uganda and the United Kingdom. Each national Home-Start scheme or association will support families with at least one child under five.

Home-Start International's Work

Home-Start helps parents to manage their problems, to build their confidence and to extend their social networks. Emphasis is on early intervention, helping to break the cycle of disadvantage and to reduce the risk of isolation and vulnerability continuing into future generations.

Support is delivered by trained volunteers. Each volunteer has parenting experience and can offer empathy and understanding to parents in need.

Parents come to Home-Start for all kinds of reasons.
*They could be finding it hard to cope with a child’s illness or disability
*They could be struggling with their own health
*They might be living in debt, poor housing and poverty
*They may be trying to meet the demands of a large family or twins

All of them welcome the support of another parent.

Vision Statement, Mission, Aims and Objectives

Vision Statement

Home-Start International wants to see a world where vulnerable families receive the help they need to give their children a safe and healthy start in life.


To help families and children worldwide by facilitating the growth, development and sustainability of the Home-Start family support service.

trategic Aims 2007 – 2008

*Strengthening Home-Start; establishing, strengthening and increasing coverage in each country to reach out to more families in need and aiming for full coverage - as is being achieved in the UK, the Netherlands and eventually Norway, Hungary and Israel.
*Building the capacity of the Home-Start community to provide support and training from within.

trategic Objectives 2007 – 2008

*Helping more families and children in need by working with Home-Start national associations to facilitate the growth of Home-Start schemes in their countries.!
*Securing a quality of service for families and children by ensuring a high level of quality within Home-Start.
*Building the capacity of the Home-Start movement to offer mutual support.
*Management and Resources. Supporting the development of Home-Start International.


The Home-Start Ethos and Approach

The voluntary ethic permeates Home-Start wherever it exists:
*Each country or community chooses to have a Home-Start scheme
*Volunteers choose to work for Home-Start
*Families choose to have Home-Start support
*The relationship between the Home-Start volunteer and the family is established by choice

Home-Start recognises the diversity in families and in all work respects the special cultural, ethnic, and religious traditions that make each one distinct.In all external and internal dealings, Home-Start schemes and nationalHome-Start organisations demonstrate the essential ethos of:
*Responsiveness and enjoyment!

tatement of Principles and Practice

In 1999, representatives of all Home-Start countries agreed to this statement of the aims, methods and organisation used by Home-Start around the world.

Home-Start International (H-SI) is an organisation in which volunteers offer regular support, friendship and practical help to families with young children, primarily in their own homes, helping to prevent family crisis and breakdown.

*Home–Start works with families who are experiencing a wide range of difficulties and who have at least one child under five. These families are offered emotional and practical, non-financial support in their homes by volunteers who visit, when possible, for as long as is necessary.
*Home-Start is committed to the rights of the individual and recognition of the diversity within families. Home-Start respects the special cultural, racial, ethnic and religious traditions that make each family distinct and is sensitive to gender issues and people with special needs.
*Each Home-Start scheme needs to work towards the increased confidence and independence of the family by:
**offering support, friendship and practical help to families with at least one child under five
**primarily meeting families in their homes, where their difficulties exist and where the dignity and identity of each individual can be respected and protected
**reassuring parents that challenges in bringing up children are not unusual and emphasising the pleasures of family life
**developing a relationship with the family in which the time and experiences can be shared and understanding can be developed; the approach is flexible to take account of different needs
**encouraging the parents’ strengths and emotional and physical well-being for the ultimate benefit of their own children
**encouraging families to widen their network of relationships and to use effectively the support and services available within the community
*Each Home-Start scheme has a special, local support structure of people who are committed to the Home-Start ethos and who may take responsibility for employment and implementation issues. They ensure that appropriate links are developed with other agencies involved in work with young families within the community. In some countries there are groups, who are unpaid, and called Management Committees or Trustees. No representative of a funding agency should chair any committee that is there to support the Home-Start scheme.
*Normally at least one paid Organiser/Coordinator is employed who has relevant training and experience, and whose duties include:
**the administration of Home-Start to ensure conformity with the International Statement of Principles and Practice
**the recruitment, preparation and support of volunteers
**liaison with other agencies working with families with young children
**the initial visit to each family. Careful attention is paid to matching volunteers’ skills and experience to the needs of families
**identifying, with the family and the volunteer, when the need for support is coming to an end and providing any necessary follow-up and evaluation
*Organisers and volunteers are usually parents themselves or have had parenting experience. Volunteers are supported by Home-Start Organisers and other Home-Start volunteers and where appropriate by professional workers associated with the family.
*All volunteers attend an initial course of preparation and receive additional information and support to meet needs that develop in the course of their work with Home-Start.
*The range of referrals or self-referrals accepted is not limited, except where the resources available to Home-Start are not adequate to meet the number or complexity of difficulties experienced by the families.
*All information about parents and families is confidential, to be discussed only as necessary with the Organiser in support of the volunteer and to assist the family. Any disclosure of the confidential information to any other person may be undertaken only with the express permission of the parents for the purpose of assisting the family, except where it is necessary for the protection of a child when information shall be shared with the appropriate authority.
*All National Home-Start organisations use the symbol of friendship and the name ‘Home-Start’ as an identifying logo, often with the addition of a national name or other appropriate word in the national language.
*All National Home-Start organisations retain links with Home-Start International, and share their training materials, research and information with Home-Start in other countries, for the ultimate benefit of families.

Home-Start International has the responsibility to coordinate and facilitate the development of Home-Start in new countries, and therefore all new countries with Home-Start enquiries will be referred to Home-Start International.Home-Start International will work to match the needs of new countries with expertise in existing Home-Start countries and will disseminate training material information and guidance.



Home-Start International is a non-profit organisation constituted as a charity in the UK (UK charity number 1076991).

Around the world, Home-Start supports families through local schemes, recruiting volunteers and staff locally. Many schemes are run as independent charities or non-profit organisations, with their own independent management committees or boards.

The majority of schemes are also part of a national association, which is itself generally an independent charity or non-profit organisation. Governance structures vary from country to country, but all Home-Start national associations have professional staff and a management committee or board.


Home-Start International is largely funded by philanthropic trusts and foundations and by corporate partners. In 2007-08 major funders include The Oak Foundation, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation and The Vodafone Group Foundation.

Home-Start schemes and national associations around the world are funded by a mix of private, corporate, government and philanthropic giving.

External links

* [http://www.homestartinternational.org Home-Start International]
* [http://www.home-startnat-aust.org Home-Start National (Australia) Inc.]
* [http://www.hostcz.org HoSt Home-Start Czech Republic]
* [http://www.home-start.dk Home-Start Denmark]
* [http://www.home-start-norge.no Home-Start Familiekontakten Norway]
* [http://www.otthonsegitunk.hu Otthon Segítünk Alapítvány Home-Start Hungary]
* [http://www.home-start.nl Home-Start landelijk steunpunt The Netherlands]
* [http://www.home-start.org.uk Home-Start UK]

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