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If so, please contact our Duty Social Worker on 094-9025133 to discuss this further.

What is Home Sharing About?
Home Sharers provide a service in their community, to our service users, having been recruited, screened and trained to undertake the role of providing a break in their own home for a child/adult who has a learning disability for usually short periods of time. Homesharing provides opportunities for the child or adult to develop new relationships, participate more in their communities, and experience an increased sense of inclusion in their community and environment.

Who can apply?
Anyone over the age of 18 years, who is interested in becoming a Homesharer.

Are any qualifications needed?
No, academic qualifications are not a necessary part of any application.  Common sense, warmth, understanding, patience and flexibility are the qualifications necessary.  A training programme will be provided to applicants once the initial application process is completed.  Applicants are also asked to take part in an assessment and sign consent forms to allow us to process Garda Clearance, a HSE check, and two references, plus a reference from your G.P.

How long of a commitment am I expected to give?
Being a Homesharer is a very individual thing.  Home sharing schemes fit in with most individuals own lifestyle and commitments.  Homesharers themselves determine the level of availability they can provide.      

For example, one Homesharer may be in a position to offer a child or adult three weekend breaks a year, another might be available for occasional day or overnight stays, weekends monthly or indeed some Homesharers prefer a more regular and long term commitment, like every weekend, or Monday to Friday.  Some like to offer a week or two weeks holiday type break in summer.  

If at anytime Homesharers feel they are no longer in a position to provide a service, they can at any stage talk to a Social Worker about their changing circumstances and can agree a planned ending to their placement.  They will not be contacted about further placements unless they wish to remain on our panel for future reference.  

Homesharers do take breaks from offering placements and may decide to return to being available again at some later stage. 

Do I know who is coming to stay?   
Prior to placement, Homesharers are provided with a descriptive picture of the child or adult, they are considering having in their home, outlining their abilities and needs.  In all cases, the children or adults, are “matched” to a Homesharer they are going to stay with, bearing in mind your availability and level of commitment you are offering and their abilities.  This is to ensure, in so far as possible, the success of the placement.    
Introductions are made gradually between the Homesharer and the child/adult, through the Social Worker involved.   In preparation for placement a number of other visits will occur before the child or adult first stay on their own. 

What support do I get?         
Homesharers are provided with contact telephone numbers and details of back up supports which they can contact.  They also have ongoing contact with their Social Worker.  The child/adult’s parents also provide the Homesharer with relevant information and contact numbers. 

Why is there a need for Home Sharing?          
Irish Society is changing, family units are becoming smaller.  Increasing social mobility, can lead to people becoming isolated in their communities. Close, family networks, which used to be a greater source of support, may no longer be the norm for a lot of people.    
Service users have demonstrated to us that Homesharing is an option that they would like to consider and quite often prefer to avail of, as a first preference in service supports run by Western Care at the time.

Constant caring can be demanding and at times may become overwhelming.   The provision of Home Sharing has been found to reduce stress, strain and burnout in families, and so providing a valuable means of enhancing families’ coping resources.  As some families don’t have the option of help from family, neighbours or friends, it remains with the service providers to make available alternative forms of support. 

Why Home Sharing?        
Homesharers, create further opportunities for participation and inclusion for our service users in their communities.  The concept of “family/partner/individuals” based support not only provides support in the community but also support by the community.  It upholds the principle of social inclusion, which is the right of every individual.  It promotes choice for the individual service users as to who (s)he might like to live with and what social and leisure activities (s)he may want to get involved in.     

Homesharing takes account of service users, right to be treated with dignity and respect, their right to presence in ordinary places, their need for opportunity to develop a wide range of relationships. It supports their right to make choices about daily life and activities and follow their personal goals in life. Finally it recognises the need we all have, to have opportunities to develop new skills and abilities which will enable us to become more involved and contribute to our community.

Social Work Dept., Western Care Association, John Moore Road, Castlebar.        094 9025133