Assessment Process for referrals and waiting times


Referral Pathway

Home-Start Central Lancashire build and maintain relationships within their local communities and with agencies that we work with who are most likely to make referrals, such as health visitors etc. This helps referrers to understand the support we can deliver and minimises inappropriate referrals and misunderstanding amongst agencies.
Home-Start central Lancashire provide information about how to refer here on our website, in our leaflets and in paper referral packs which can be obtained from our office by telephoning 01257 241636.
Information informs referrers (including self-referrers) how they can make a referral and what support we can offer families.
A professional referral should provide sufficient detail for Home-Start central Lancashire to be able to contact a family and arrange an initial visit.
All referrals should be made with the family consent and using the Home-Start referral form, however sometimes a referral may be made over the telephone particularly self-referrals.
All referrals should include:
  • Details of the Family
  • The reason for referral
  • Any identified risks
  • Background information considered important, relevant, or useful.
  • Details of the support being requested.


A referral may be refused if it does not fall into the remit of Home-Start Central Lancashire or where we have insufficient capacity or resources.


In the interest of child and family welfare, we will try to respond within 2 weeks of the referral to the referrer to inform them:


  • The referral has been received.
  • Whether the referral has been accepted or not.
  • If there is a waiting list and how long the family may be waiting for an initial visit.



Home-Start Central Lancashire endeavour to keep waiting lists down so that families are contacted within 2 weeks of accepting a referral.
We have a Managing referrals policy in place that is tailored to our local area which demonstrates an efficient, responsive, and reliable service, bearing in mind any identified risks.
Consideration is given to:


  • Family’s needs – the needs of the family may mean they are harder to match with a volunteer so they may have to wait for a suitable match or that their needs may be greater than that expected from a volunteer.
  • Family’s expectations – Families will be provided with clear information about how long they may have to wait and what will happen if a suitable volunteer cannot be found.
  • Vulnerable families – If there is a safeguarding or child protection issue, we will ensure, where possible, that families are not left without the support of any agency.
  • The referrers expectations – The referrer/agency will be given clear information about the status of each family referred if requested and updated when there are any changes. Home-Start will ensure referrers are clear about when we are providing the family with support and when we are not.

Referral Criteria


Home-Start Central Lancashire will endeavor to provide support to all families who want support from us, live in Chorley, South Ribble, Preston and West Lancashire, with at least one child under the age of 11. Any child or young person at immediate risk should be referred to

Support needs may include the following:


  • Families who are very isolated with no support network
  • Families who have experienced domestic abuse
  • Young parents / carers
  • Families where a child has a disability or illness
  • Families where a parent/carer has a disability or illness
  • Families where parent/carer is suffering from post-natal depression, depression or feeling very low
  • Families wanting support to develop their parenting skills and strategies
  • Families who are economically disadvantaged or suffering from the effects of inadequate housing
  • Families struggling with the demands of twins, triplets, or several children under primary school age
  • Families struggling with bereavement and relationship breakdown



Before making a referral, please ensure the family you’re referring meet our criteria.

Home-Start Central Lancashire will inform referrers when support has been put in place.


The following gives an idea of which referrals / family circumstances are appropriate:


  • Families who live in Chorley, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Preston.
  • Families struggling with the effects of being/feeling isolated.
  • Families with historic domestic abuse and/or are experiencing the effects of domestic abuse
  • Families who have at least one child under the age of 11.
  • Families who would benefit from a volunteer to help them interact and engage with their children.
  • Families who need support to organise a system to cope with day-to-day life.
  • Families struggling with their child/children’s behaviour.
  • Families in need of support or encouragement to do practical tasks for themselves.
  • Families who need support and encouragement to access other agencies or services.
  • Families experiencing mental health issues such as post-natal depression and need help or encouragement to access or attend professional support services.
  • Families struggling with substance misuse and are receiving support from the relevant agencies.
  • Families who have twins, triplets, or multiple children under the age of 11.
  • Families who have consented to being referred to us for family support.

To make a referral please click on the link below for a Request For Service Form


Home-Start Request For Service Form 2021