Volunteer Host Program

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The Host Program matches a child with a disability, aged to 18 years, with a volunteer host who shares their home and time with that child on a regular basis.

Arrangements around actual periods of care are flexible, to fit in with the needs of family, child and host. However, Interchange encourages regular monthly visits, as this assists the relationship between the child and their host family to develop, so everyone feels comfortable and at ease with each other.

Initially the prospective host, the child and their family all meet, giving everyone the opportunity to get to know a little about each other. For the match process to continue, everyone must give their agreement.

Hosts come from all cultural and religious backgrounds, lifestyle and relationship situations and can be any age over 18 years. The role the host plays can also be very different – another ‘family’, friend, buddy – each host contributes in their unique way to the hosting program.

With the hosting program, parents have the reassurance that their child is being cared for in a loving and welcoming family or friendship situation. A CrimCheck, reference checks and home check are done on all prospective hosts and all hosts must also have a Working with Children clearance.

To enable them to provide the best possible care, hosts are provided with comprehensive information about their host child. Interchange believes that parents are the best source of information regarding the care of their child and open communication is encouraged between parents and hosts. Interchange staff provide ongoing support throughout the match.

Listen to Leanne and Denis, long term volunteer hosts with Interchange (Bendigo) tell about their hosting journey.


This program is based on the concept and guidelines of the Volunteer Host Program. With the Early Childhood Program a preschool child aged 0-5 years spends some time, on a regular basis, with the volunteer host or host family to whom they have been matched. As with the Host Program, arrangements are flexible in time and situation and may involve picking up or dropping off at preschool, attending therapy, enjoying playtime with the host’s children, meeting at a playground, or even a weekend visit.


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