Interchange provides personalised respite and social support services to families of children and young people with a disability in Victoria. Volunteers are carefully matched to meet the needs of the families who request support. All volunteers are trained by professional staff.
Interchange provides personalised respite and social support services to families of children and young people with a disability. There are 16 separate, community-based Interchange agencies throughout Victoria, located in 25 metropolitan and rural areas.
Caring for children and young people with a disability
Volunteers are recruited by all Interchange agencies to help give families a break from their demanding caring role and to provide the children with quality experiences and new relationships. The children or young people have a range of physical, intellectual or sensory disabilities.
Interchange agencies currently provide services to about 2,500 children and young people at any one time. Unfortunately, the shortage of volunteers means that there are still 1,700 families missing out on vital services throughout the state.
A range of support programs
Interchange’s main service is the Host program, where a volunteer is matched with and cares for a child with a disability in the volunteer’s home on a regular basis. This may be one day or one weekend a month. Ongoing training and support are provided to maintain these vital relationships.
Other Interchange respite programs that include the help of volunteers are:
- School holiday programs
- Youth and young adult groups
- Camping programs.
Social support programs
Interchange social support programs that often include volunteers are:
- Sibling camps and groups
- Family camps, parent support and action groups
- Family events and activities.
Anyone over 18 can be an Interchange volunteer
Volunteers can be couples or single people and may be with or without children. We only ask that volunteers enjoy being with children or young people and are available either at weekends or during school holidays.
Volunteers can quickly learn what is involved, even if they have had no previous experience with people with a disability.
Host program volunteers are required to make a commitment to care for a child on a regular basis in their own home.
Assistance provided to volunteers
Interchange programs have professional staff who provide volunteers with ongoing support, training, resources and recognition to ensure people are confident to care for these children or young people with a disability.
Support in your local area
There are Interchange offices across Victoria that provide the Host program and some recreation activities. For further information about Interchange services available in your area, look up the White Pages listing under ‘Interchange’ or find your local service on the Interchange website.
Where to go for help
- Interchange Victoria Tel. (03) 9396 1118 or 1300 300 436, Monday to Wednesday www.interchange.org.au
Things to remember
- Volunteers are carefully matched to families who need support.
- You don’t need previous experience to be a volunteer.
- Interchange provides support and respite care for families with children who have a disability.
You might also be interested in:
- Disabilities - children and everyday activities.
- Disability - schooling choices.
- Disability - support for families.
- Disability - support services.
Want to know more?
Go to More information for support groups, related links and references.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
(Logo links to further information)
Interchange Victoria Respite Care Association
Fact sheet currently being reviewed.
Last reviewed: March 2012
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Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your qualified health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residence and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.
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