Q. Do I need any special qualifications to become a volunteer auntie or uncle?
A. You need to be over 18 years of age, have a friendly, caring nature and a genuine liking for children. All aunties and uncles must attend an Information Session and undertake a suitability assessment before being accepted into the program. You must also possess a valid Blue card and undergo a National Criminal History Check.
Q. Will being an auntie or uncle have any impact on my own children?
A. You are setting a wonderful example to your children by volunteering. In most instances, your child will benefit from having a new ‘cousin’ with whom to play and experience life. Also, we find most children who have grown up with ´volunteering´ also go on to volunteer as adults. Our Coordinators will take into account your children’s ages and interests when linking your family with a child.
Q. Can I volunteer to be an auntie or uncle if I am single or have no children of my own?
A. Yes, single aunties and uncles are welcome. Many of the children come from single parent families. Adult role models, particularly males in the case of young boys, are important.
Q. How do you ensure a good match between an auntie/uncle and child?
A. In forming a ‘link’, the Coordinator considers things such as where you live (in relation to the child), your interests and lifestyle. ‘Links’ are built up slowly, with initial informal visits at the beginning. It is vital that all parties – the child, parent and volunteers feel comfortable with each other.
Q. What if we don’t seem to click?
A. Our Coordinators are experienced social workers and work hard to match all parties with their likes/dislikes so the relationship grows as naturally as possible. However, if either party finds that they “don’t click” at the first or second meeting, do not view this as failure! Better to discover this early in the matching process.
Q. Is the child expected to stay overnight?
A. Each relationship is different and overnight stays are dependent upon whether all parties are comfortable, particularly the child. A new ‘link’ may start with daytime visits and build up to overnight stays after a few months.
Q. Are aunties and uncles paid when they have a child stay with them?
A. Aunties and uncles are not paid for having the child. Aunties and uncles are encouraged to make the child’s stay an ordinary event with access to inexpensive and healthy pastimes like swimming, gardening, reading and bush walking. The children benefit from the time you have to share with them rather than what you can buy for them.
Q. Do children feel sad when they go back to their own home and would they rather stay at their auntie and uncle’s house?
A. In nearly all cases the children do want to go home because mum is mum and dad is dad, no matter what. Aunties and uncles are seen as just that, not parents but more than a friend. Because the children return regularly and frequently, they know their aunties and uncles will always be there and are content to see them in another month’s time.
Q. Aren’t the aunties and uncles just glorified babysitters?
A. Aunties and uncles are not babysitters minding children; they are people helping others who may be struggling at the time. They provide support to a family through the positive contact they have with a child. The auntie and uncle provide the child with mentoring; positive role modelling; love and respect. We think the value of this relationship is immense and immeasurable.
Q. What happens if a child is injured or causes injury to another person or damage to property belonging to someone else?
A. It is strongly recommended that you have household insurance which includes personal and public liability cover. In addition to this, each parent must sign an agreement which has been drawn up by our legal advisor. This agreement indemnifies and holds harmless Aunties and Uncles (Queensland) Limited, its representatives, agents, servants and participating parents against any claim arising. A copy of this agreement is available on request.