Disability services in Galway are calling on the public to become 'Home Sharing' families who would provide temporary care for a person with intellectual disability, and allow that person's family a short break.
Ability West and the Brothers of Charity Services Ireland – West Region is appealing to the public to volunteer for the service as recruiting and training begins in September.
Home Sharing involves a Home Sharing family in the community offering a placement to a person with intellectual disability in their home, and caring for that person as a member of their family.
Families who sign up to provide this service can offer ‘Short Breaks’, flexible arrangements based on the Home Sharing family’s availability around work and other commitments; be a ‘Contract’ family, providing 10, 16, or 20 nights per month break support for other families with children who have more complex and more challenging physical, behavioural, or healthcare needs; or be a ‘Shared Living’ family, providing full-time care to a person with intellectual disability, similar to a fostering placement.
Home sharing is open, not just to 'traditional' families, but to anyone who feels they have the time to offer support a child or adult with an intellectual disability. "Single people, co-habiting couples, married people, and the retired can make excellent Home Sharing families," said a spokesperson. "Normal qualifications are not necessary, but it is desirable to have qualities such as common sense, warmth, patience and flexibility."
To become a Home Sharing family, applicants go through a process similar to that of fostering which involves completing a training course and a Social Work Home Sharing assessment. Each member of the potential Home Sharing family is included in the process in order to ensure everyone’s perspectives are taken into account.
Garda clearance is sought for each individual over 18 in the household, along with Tusla checks, medicals, and three named referees for the potential main carers. An additional employer reference may be sought if the applicant(s ) has previously worked or is currently working with a disability service provider. The assessment and completed vetting process is presented to the Home Sharing Panel for approval.