Volunteer Family Connect

What is Volunteer Family Connect?

Volunteer Family Connect is a home visiting program for parents of young children delivered by trained volunteers. Developed as a collaboration between The Benevolent Society, Good Beginnings Australia, Karitane and senior researchers from Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney, it brings together the best evidence and practice knowledge available to support the health and wellbeing of parents, children and volunteers.

Volunteer home visiting programs are community-based services working in conjunction with professional services – part of the range of early intervention supports available to families. They are a unique model of community support because the beneficiaries of the program extend beyond the participating families and children to the people who deliver the program, the volunteers.

Volunteer Family Connect (VFC) is a community-driven, research-based home-visiting program that mobilises volunteers to provide support for parents of young children who are isolated or feeling overwhelmed by their parenting role. See here for a summary of research findings and here for return on investment.

For more information see the VFC brochure here.


Program Outcomes

Volunteer Family Connect seeks to support the following outcomes for families:

  • Improved parent and child relationships
  • Reduction in isolation, stress and anxiety
  • Connection to a network of parent and community support systems
  • Increased resilience and parental capacity
  • Support to adjust to parenting roles These outcomes for volunteers are also supported:
  • Improved self-efficacy, health and well-being
  • Development of skills and the ability to share these skills to help others
  • Enhanced long-term meaningful participation in their community


Rigorous Evaluation

The effectiveness of this program is currently being formally explored, using a randomised control trial design to provide the most rigorous level of evidence possible. The large majority of previous research conducted with volunteer home visiting programs has not employed rigorous research methods. This research trial makes a unique contribution to Australian and international evidence on the implementation processes, costs and effectiveness of volunteer home visiting.

This study will be: (1) the first randomised controlled trial of volunteer home visiting to be conducted in Australia; (2) the largest trial to be conducted world-wide; and (3) the only trial in the world to focus on outcomes for both the families and the volunteers who support them. (4) the first time any study has conducted an analysis of the social return on investment for a volunteer home visiting program. This evidence is urgently needed to support the ongoing investment in volunteer home visiting for families with young children and will provide the foundation for improved policy and practice to support families with young children in Australia and internationally.

To join the research program as a family or volunteer, please Karitane Linking Families

Please contact Karitane Linking Families
Phone: (02) 9754 2655
Fax: (02) 9754 2644

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Covering both the South Western and South Eastern suburbs of Sydney, Karitane provides a comprehensive range of clinically based parenting group programs designed to support parents in their parenting role.

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Our Services

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Established in 1923, Karitane is a respected and trusted service leader in parenting services across NSW. Karitane delivers high quality, comprehensive, evidence-based parenting services for families and the provision of education and training to healthcare professionals and non-government organisation. Education and research underpins the delivery of our clinical care. We lead and disseminate the latest evidence-based research ensuring we provide the best advice to parents and educate health professionals, staff, students and academia.

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