Q. Does the volunteer auntie or uncle have to hold special qualifications?
A. The volunteer aunties and uncles are 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. They must also possess a Blue card and undergo a National Criminal History Check.
Q. Are aunties and uncles single or married and with children of their own?
A. Aunties and uncles can be either single or married, with or without children of their own.
Q. How long does it take for a child to be linked with an auntie/uncle?
A. We have many children on the waiting list so it can take a number of months to match your child with a suitable auntie/uncle who shares common interests with your child and who lives in close vicinity to you. As we are reliant on sourcing quality volunteers for our aunties and uncles there are times when we may not be able to link children for various reasons eg. geography or simply not having the right volunteer. You should check with your Coordinator every few months to see how things are going.
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 auntie/uncle) and the child’s interests. ‘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 my child doesn’t seem to click with the auntie/uncle?
A. Our Coordinators are experienced social workers who 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. Will each of my children be linked to the same auntie/uncle?
A. If you have more than one child in the program, they will be linked with a different auntie/uncle. This allows a special relationship to develop between a child and their own auntie/uncle.
Q. Will each of my children be linked with an auntie/uncle at the same time?
A. While our Coordinators will make every effort to link children within the same family as soon as possible, each child may not be linked at the same time. We want to make sure we link each of your children with a suitably matched auntie/uncle which sometimes takes time.
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 or bush walking. The children benefit from the time the aunties/uncles have to share with them rather than what they 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. Can I ask the auntie/uncle to babysit my child when I have commitments?
A. Aunties and uncles are not babysitters minding children; they are there to establish a mentoring relationship with your child. There may be occasions when your child’s auntie/uncle can help you out of a situation, but generally visits will be at mutually agreeable times.
Q. What happens if a child is injured or causes injury to another person or damage to property belonging to someone else while they are with their auntie/uncle?
A. As part of the application process, you 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. In addition to this, we encourage aunties/uncles to ensure their household insurance policy includes personal and public liability cover.