Brothers of Charity Services, Christmas 2004

Home » Library » The Athenry Journal » Record

Home Sharing Scheme and Family Support Services

Home Sharing, aspecial break, offers short or long-term community placements for people with a learning disability. The Galway Association and the Brothers Charity Services jointly operate the scheme. The scheme was initiated as a response from families of children with a learning disability for short term breaks for their children. Over the years it has grown to also include adults. We have consistent feedback about the scheme from the many host families and individuals who have come on board and found this to be a very positive and rewarding experience.

The scheme has tremendous value at three levels:

Firstly, it provides the child or adult with an opportunity to make new friends and have new experiences.
Secondly, it gives the family a well-earned break from continuous care.
Lastly, it gives an opportunity for people in the community to share their home and their time with a person with a learning disability.
There is no magic ingredient to Home Sharing. People who host come from all walks of life. What is necessary however is commitment and on practical level the time to undertake the task. A training course is organised for potential host families and individuals.

This provides information and guidelines on what is involved in hosting a child or adult with a learning disability. It provides suggestions on how to cope with any difficulties that may arise during Hosting. The training period sometimes acts as a self-selection process in that families can look to what they can offer as Hosts and as happens on very rare occasions may opt out of the scheme. The training course consists of one night a week for five weeks and a ‘Family day‘. The training is practiced based, addressing potential problems that may arise. It encourages Host families to look at themselves and the resources that they can bring to the Home Sharing task. Home Sharing involves all members of the household.

A ‘family day during the training period ensures that each member of the household knows what is involved and what is expected of them during the placement.

A detailed assessment of the potential Host Families/individual is carried out by a Social Worker from one of the agencies. Personal References, Medical clearance, Garda Checks and Health Board clearance are sought by one of the agencies. The selection process involves a matching of two factors. These factors are the needs of the individual child or adult and the resources of the Host family. When these two factors suit a match is made. In this respect the opinions of the child or adult, the family and the social worker are taken into account.

There follows an introductory period where the person and Host family meet prior to the placement. Each year more and more people, who have child or adult with a learning disability, are requesting Home Sharing. These requests can only continue to be met if people in Galway city and County continue to come forward to host. Allowances are paid to Host families.

If you are interested in finding out more information, please contact  the number listed below.

Fáilte House, Castlepark, Galway. Phone 091-755231

– –

About this record

Written by Brothers of Charity

Published here 01 Jan 2024 and originally published Christmas 2004

– –