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to want to tick the 'children on the "at-risk" register' box?

(31 Posts)
chicaguapa Sat 13-Aug-11 11:22:43

Posting on this board with some trepidation...

I have just got my application form through for volunteering with Home Start. One of the questions is where you are asked to tick what kind of situations you would not be willing to work with eg bereavement, domestic abuse, HIV/AIDS. One of the options is Children on the 'At-Risk' Register.

I really don't think I'd be able to work with a family where the LOs are "at risk" but feel IABU to even consider excluding them. On the one hand I don't think I'd be able to cope if, even with my support and help, something happened to the LOs but on the other hand I wonder that if I choose to exclude them, I'm making things worse for the LO.

Am I thinking about this too much? I'm beginning to feel that if I'm going to be choosy about what kind of family I'm placed with, I'm not really suitable for volunteering.

whackamole Sat 13-Aug-11 11:29:54

I wouldn't want to do it either. Maybe harsh, but I am simply not cut out for it and would end up crying all the time I think, which would be of no hep to them or me.

Volunteering has to be a little bit about you as well OP, if you are not happy to do it as it would upset you, then YANBU to tick the box.

kittensliveupstairs Sat 13-Aug-11 11:29:58

No idea, but want to applaud you for volunteering.
Consider this a helpful bump.

alfabetty Sat 13-Aug-11 11:30:55

I was, until recently, a trustee for a Home Start scheme. It is perfectly acceptable for you to limit the situations you are willing to deal with. As a new volunteer, it is very unlikely you'd be placed with a family whose children were on the At Risk register, anyway, that would usually be dealt with by a volunteer who has some previous experience with families, with close support from the Home Start staff. It may be something you'd be willing to do once you have more experience.

But they key is not to push yourself beyond what you feel you can handle. And if you have (understandable) doubts about putting yourself in that situation, you are absolutely right to be honest about that.

Home Start volunteers deal with a huge range of families and issues, you can still contribute. I hope you find volunteering rewarding - I did. Good luck smile

SuchProspects Sat 13-Aug-11 11:31:34

YANBU. It is not only reasonable but sensible to draw the line at what you're currently comfortable with. Maybe after you've been doing it a while you'll decide you can cope with children on the at risk register. But even if you don't, it means you'll be dealing with other families so those volunteers who are comfortable with at risk children can be placed with them.

Good luck.

Groovee Sat 13-Aug-11 11:32:26

I regularly work with children on the at risk register. They've usually been removed from the at risk and are living else where but need some more input to give them some sense of normality. 99% of the time I don't know the child's background until I've started working with them.

Georgimama Sat 13-Aug-11 11:32:37

I think you can only be of any use within peramaters that you are comfortable with, so no YANBU. After you have had more experience of volunteering you may decide you want to expand the work you are willing to do, or you may feel you made the right decision in the first place. And either would be completely fine. And well done you for being willing to help in the first place.

MerylStrop Sat 13-Aug-11 11:33:32

The box is there for a reason - so that people who don't feel equipped to handle situations where kids may be at risk do not have to. You are not a trained social worker ( I presume), so it's perfectly reasonable not to feel comfortable. It would be very sad if you were put off/put yourself off because of this as I am sure your help would be hugely useful.

fivegomadindorset Sat 13-Aug-11 11:34:39

Difficult one as I think there are so many variations of children at risk. I think and willing to be corrected that Trinity's children wre placed on the at risk register as she was struggling to cope after her DH died, in that case as a home start volunteer I would imagine that your help would have been invaluable.

I think you are doing a great thing by volunteering and as SuchProspects said you would be freeing up other more expereinced volunteers to help with the more vulnerable families.

Good luck.

Birdsgottafly Sat 13-Aug-11 11:38:57

If you felt out of your depth and unable to cope, then you would be 'making the situation worse'.

There are areas of social care that individuals are suited to, and the persons skills, willingness to do the task, knowledge and experience should be matched as well as possible, if you want to start out with more 'run of the mill families' then do so, this may change later on, but you shouldn't be put in a situation that you don't feel comfortable.

Just to add, it may not be because of the RP that the DC is on the 'at risk' register (this no longer exsists, as such).

Birdsgottafly Sat 13-Aug-11 11:45:25

OP you will attend training courses before you start, which extend your knowledge of the services to families, so as time passes you will gain confidence and know what you want to deal with, you can change your mind later on.

ShoutyHamster Sat 13-Aug-11 11:48:41

I can't think of anything worse in that kind of situation than the kind of overconfident person who volunteers thinking that they can handle anything and can sort out the problems of the world, iyswim.

So in that sense, I think that your reluctance marks you out as the sensitive, realistic kind of volunteer who is far more likely to actually do some good.

scurryfunge Sat 13-Aug-11 11:52:36

It is commendable that you want to volunteer any of your time.
As you settle in with volunteering and your confidence grows, you may feel differently in the future.

Good for you.

LuceyLasstic Sat 13-Aug-11 11:53:24

maybe get some experience volunteering first and then decide whether you want more challenging families after 6 months or a year

ImperialBlether Sat 13-Aug-11 11:54:19

I have applied to go on this and have had my interview. I've been told they do not deal with families where social services are involved, if that's any help.

noir Sat 13-Aug-11 11:57:26

Well done you on volunteering in a valuable role! Do what you are comfortable with initially, perhaps as your confidence increases you can change your answer.

And I know Im being a pedant but there is no such thing as an "at risk" register, there is no register at all but some children are 'subject to a child protection plan'.

Birdsgottafly Sat 13-Aug-11 12:05:45

Homestart handle first level 'children in need' concerns, so abit more than a struggling family, but not necessarily neglectful or abusive.

It might be the combination of disability of both parent and child and a mutiple birth, say. Or a mum with slight PND who needs encouragement but not full on support.
Homestart may be called in were the parent has developed an illness and needs practical support, there definately is usually "no one to blame", it is circumstantial.

They also handle people who are struggling abit, so all different types.

OP always start of slowly, unless in your own background you have experience and understanding of MH, disability, bereavement, grieving, DV etc and build up.

Birdsgottafly Sat 13-Aug-11 12:08:06

OP as you have probably been told the parent is likely to have self refered, so you will be welcomed.

Morloth Sat 13-Aug-11 12:12:09

YANBU do only what you feel comfortable with.

I was recently offered a job in a family law office, even though the hours and pay would be perfect, I know from previous experience that I am not cut out for it.

bedheadz Sat 13-Aug-11 12:43:40

I am a Homestart vol, I doubt that they would match you up with a family with children on the "at risk register" for your first family.

They are really good at matching you up with a family and before placing you will discuss what you feel comfortable with such as family with big dog, smelly houses etc.

Good luck

RoseC Sat 13-Aug-11 13:16:48

YANBU. I did a lot of volunteering last year and also had to choose what area to work in. For me it was with the elderly doing home visits - like you I felt it would upset me too much and be no help to them. That was fine - by volunteering in whatever capacity you are doing far more good than doing nothing.

justaboutWILLfinishherthesis Sat 13-Aug-11 13:23:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MMMarmite Sat 13-Aug-11 13:25:48

Good on you for volunteering. Don't feel like you're being 'picky', it's much better to be honest about your limitations than to end up in a situation you don't feel able to handle and having to stop volunteering altogether.

chrisrobin Sat 13-Aug-11 13:30:14

YANBU, good on you for volunteering. It is good to be realistic with these things, any help you can offer is a good thing.

chicaguapa Sat 13-Aug-11 22:14:12

Ooooo! Lovely! Lots of nice replies. grin I feel much better now. I like the point that I would be freeing up someone more qualified to work with an 'at-risk' family (their terminology not mine) and that has really helped. Thank you all for your very kind words.

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