The Boroondara Family Network (BFN) has been operating for the past
years in the City of Boroondara. The
office is administered by an experienced Co-ordinator of Volunteers who assists with the allocation of
suitable volunteers to the families in need of help. All suitable
volunteers undertake thorough training which enables them
to tackle the problems associated with those families who
don't have a social or family network and who may suffer
some stress with newborn babies and very young children. Each
volunteer makes regular home visits to their
allocated families. The volunteers
are mothers (and grandmothers) who have reared their own
families and a ready to provide their personal skills to
other parents in the community.
Volunteers provide friendship and support with
parenting, providing commonsense advice on everyday issues and
helping with the problems which can arise when a new baby arrives in the family.
They provide encouragement and information on how to access
local child care,
education, health and social services.
are referred to the BFN through organisations such as the
Maternal and Child Health Services in the local Boroondara
community. The BFN also has a good working relationship with Camcare.
Young families today are increasingly stressed,
with greater demands and less support. Difficulties in
child-rearing and social isolation can in some cases exacerbate the problem. The
Boroondara Family Network (BFN) works towards enhancing the
potential of children in such families within the
Boroondara Municipality, which comprises the suburbs of Camberwell, Hawthorn,
Kew, Ashburton and
North Balwyn and Balwyn. It helps parents (and other family members)
cope by providing much needed emotional support following the arrival of the new baby.
Studies have shown that children growing up in
families where the parent (or parents) are under some form of
social and environment stress, are more likely to suffer from
illness, accidents and injuries, are more likely to require
hospitalisation, and to develop learning disabilities. Later
in life they can be prone to vandalism, drug and alcohol
problems, suicide and criminal behaviour. The volunteers
from the BFN are there to be a sounding board and can talk
through sometimes simple but important problems.
Evaluation of similar services already operating in New
South Wales and the USA has shown that support given
families to replace damaging behaviour.
Assist parents to manage conditions impeding effective
Bring order to households rendered chaotic by
successive and compounding crises.
Guide families to use community services with
discretion and purpose.
The Co-ordinator of Volunteers reports to a
Management Committee established under the guidelines of Rotary
maintains a close working relationship with the Committee.
This committee is comprised of Rotarians from clubs within the Boroondara
community, community representatives and representatives of other community groups.
It is responsible for the efficient administration of
the BFN and works to provide avenues of funding to
maintain the Boroondara Family Network.