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Home Visits - Would you go alone?


ForgetMeNot
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My setting is going to trial home visits after Easter. Initially paired key workers will go and carry out these visits. In September we have been told funding will not enable us to go out in pairs and we will have to go alone. A lot of staff feel uncomfortable about this; concerned about the dangers they could face. The response was our family support workers do it. We have been told to read the lone working policy document. Any thoughts very welcome.

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Hi, Forgetmenot, welcome to the Forum, if it's not already been said.

 

It's really necessary to go as a pair, the child's key person will spend time with the child, doing jigsaws, looking at toys etc, whilst the Manager or Deputy goes through paperwork with the parent(s). This way is actually much more productive and less time consuming than sending a single member of staff, who struggles to gain the attention of the parent and form a bond with the child. Financially speaking, it's better to send two people to spend a quality hour of good bonding, than it is to send a lone staff member for close to two hours of unsatisfactory interrupted chat.

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I would go alone, but only if the correct procedure were in place, and only at my discretion.

By correct procedure, I mean that I have an agreed timeline with my manager/supervisor/colleagues stating when I will be meeting the family and when I will be leaving and my exact location. If I have not phoned in within 15 minutes after my agreed leaving time, someone should call me to check on me. If all is good, lovely, if I am unreachable or give a predetermined key phrase on the phone I want the police called immediately.

Everything needs planning.

I realise this all sounds a bit dreary since you have to cover for the worst case scenario, but actually I wouldn't be bothered about doing home visits alone at all. This isn't the same for everyone of course and perhaps my gender plays a role

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Hi forget-me-not,

 

As usual some great advice/feedback given - I would also add that support workers apply for the position knowing that home visits are part of the role, whereas they were not part of the role that you and your colleagues applied for. Many professions conduct lone visits in perfect safety, but they receive full training, advice and procedures to follow in any given situation. I really wouldn't consider reading a policy to be sufficient!!

 

Would I send my staff out alone - quite simply no - if the funding doesn't cover the cost then don't do them!!

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Perhaps the real question here is how valuable is the home visit? Clearly someone has "valued" it as worth 1 persons time, but not 2.....Perhaps you could ask for the "value" to be defined.

 

As a quick answer....no, I would not do it.

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I would go alone, but only if the correct procedure were in place, and only at my discretion.

By correct procedure, I mean that I have an agreed timeline with my manager/supervisor/colleagues stating when I will be meeting the family and when I will be leaving and my exact location. If I have not phoned in within 15 minutes after my agreed leaving time, someone should call me to check on me. If all is good, lovely, if I am unreachable or give a predetermined key phrase on the phone I want the police called immediately.

 

 

Ah I recognise that from some Kent training :1b

 

Still wouldn't do it though or more to the point expect my staff to do so......

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We visit alone if it is a known family with no 'issues' - dodgy round here too!!!!! I.e. if they have had siblings go through us before or are a known family. I often do them as I'm the teacher and would never expect anyone to do any alone they are unsure about .... We take a mobile and regular texts sent to office to say all ok. We have a week to do 30-ish so have to do 6-8 a day..... Would love to be able to do in a pair as you get so much out of them then, but it is what it is.

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- I would also add that support workers apply for the position knowing that home visits are part of the role, whereas they were not part of the role that you and your colleagues applied for. Many professions conduct lone visits in perfect safety, but they receive full training, advice and procedures to follow in any given situation. I really wouldn't consider reading a policy to be sufficient!!

 

 

 

Yes, and I would imagine most of these would be home visits to families that are known to the relevant 'visitors'.

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We do home visits every year (reception teacher) I know local families well and we are in a pretty nice area but I would never go alone. I do always feel safe but you never know ... Like others have said, to get the most out of the home visit anyway, you need someone to engage the child and someone to have a conversation with the parents.

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We don't do home visits because I won't let my staff visit alone and there's no money in the kitty to send them in pairs - lone working is a potential minefield and I'm not convinced the "value" of a home visit trumps the safety of all concerned

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  • 3 weeks later...

Did first visits today as a pair. Went well. Agree that it is useful having one of you engage with the child whilst the other is talking with the parent. I hadn't been able to get hold of one of my new families before the holiday...no answer to phone calls and an email address that didn't work :-( Today tried again just before going out and the mother said she'd probably not be home by the visit time .... could I come tomorrow! Have decided to visit another family that is known to centre tomorrow by myself as parents couldn't make today's appointment time. Be interesting to see how that feels in comparison to today. Still feeling anxious. Thanks to everyone who has replied so far.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This will be our fifth year of home visits at our pre-school. We always go in twos. Normally a senior member of staff and the new child's allocated key person. The key person interacts with the child whilst the other staff member goes through all the paperwork with the parent/carer. We normally take a selection of puzzles and books to share.

We find them invaluable and worth every bit of effort to do as part of our induction process. New children also have the opportunity to visit pre-school on two occasions, to get to know the building, staff and have a play. This works very well for us.

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I think no-matter how the children present in their home environment, they can be entirely different in setting. Instead parents and children are invited to visits in our setting prior to starting.

 

That's certainly true but, off the record, you can learn a lot about a child's life by visiting their home. It can give great insight into the child's world

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Generally within a 5 mile radius. Most are within a five/ten minute journey. We did have one family in the past whose home was about 15 miles away. Both mum and dad were heads of a special needs school in our area. They both declined a visit due to the distance and their workload and that's fine too.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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