Host families welcome a person with a disability into their family home on a full time basis, or sometimes just for
weekends or short breaks. A host family provides an opportunity to support a person with disabilities in one of the
most natural and beneficial ways possible: through connection, participation and a mutual sharing of lives.
Directions has implemented a new organisational structure to support our host families and to ensure
that everyone involved is properly safeguarded. All potential host families undertake a comprehensive assessment
which includes all aspects of family life and everyone in the family who will potentially be involved. A host family
arrangement is then established by following a very careful matching process that focuses on natural connections
and relationship development.
Once a potential match has been made, it is brought to our independent host family panel. The panel consider
all the information that has been gathered and, if they feel it is a good match, approve the host family. We are
honoured to have the following skilled, experienced and dedicated people make up our panel:
– Jill Mason, independent consultant, psychologist with 18 years’ experience in human services
– Leanne Pearman, CEO of WAIS, with 30 years’ experience in individualised services and citizenship
– Denise Lennane, teacher and parent of a young man with a disability who has a wealth of experience of services
To ensure the sustainability of the host family arrangement, the Coordinator regularly visits the host family in their
home, reviewing all aspects of the relationships and arranging any necessary training. The Coordinator also
provides opportunities for Host Families to get together as a network, share their experiences and support each
Kelly has lived with her host family, Rachael and Aaron, for 2 years. Kelly says: “Before I met Rachael I hated myself and was very angry at
everyone. Rachael has helped me to learn how to open up, how to talk about things that upset me, and how to trust other people and myself. She’s also helped me with budgeting, how to clean up the house, go back to education, and be part of the family. I even managed to budget carefully and save enough to go on holiday to Bali!
I’m so lucky I got to meet Rachael, and she welcomed me into her family.” Rachael has thoroughly enjoyed having Kelly as part of the family. “It’s been a real achievement for me, teaching Kelly all about keeping a clean and healthy home, a good diet, how to manage money. Kelly thought she’d never be able to go overseas because of her disability, but now she knows she can get there if she works towards it. She has also taught me so much, for which I am really grateful. Kelly became a part of my family the minute she came into my home. I feel proud of the person she has become. She is starting to like herself at last, and she’s looking forward to the future.”
Karen lives on a large 5 acre property in the country south of Perth with her partner and her father in law. Karen and her family are a Directions host family and they, along with their dog, chooks, and a couple of galahs, are really enjoying sharing their lives. Karen has worked in human services for many years, and she’s passionate about sharing experiences with others. Karen has a strong belief in making time for the small things that can
go unnoticed, and this makes her such a great host mum who really makes a difference.
Karen says: “Welcoming someone into our home while providing Host Family Respite, opens our world up to new and exciting experiences, fun adventures and interesting challenges. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to be part of someone else’s journey, to share in their experiences, to help create special connections, joyous moments and happy memories. All made possible with the ongoing support we receive from Directions”.