Durbanville Children’s Home provides critical services in terms of the provisions of the Children’s Act. It is a child and youth care centre and offers a therapeutic programme designed for the residential care of children outside the family environment.
Hope, respect and understanding are the three cornerstone values underlying this programme.
Children who are victims of trauma are often unable to develop or experience mastery and sense of self. Through our skills programme we encourage them to cultivate their strengths in non-academic areas ranging from physical education to theatre, art and music. This fosters the development of self-confidence which in turn enables children to feel a sense of mastery.
Skills also include things like conflict resolution and the development of empathy. This enables children to adopt another person’s perspective and therefore become more able to anticipate others’ behaviours and respond appropriately.
Children thus gain a feeling of control over their lives, better understand and name their emotions, and gain a greater capacity for self-control, thereby taking responsibility for their own lives.
A registered nurse at Durbanville Children’s Home advises on all meal plans and special diets at the home. Children are given three balanced meals per day as well as a lunch pack for school. Special diets are also compiled for children suffering from, for example, tuberculosis, malnutrition or foetal alcohol syndrome. (The Home currently has 25 children suffering from foetal alcohol syndrome.)
The Home also provides food parcels during the holiday period as some children spend holidays with their families where they experience extreme poverty.
Children at the Home have to attend government clinics when they are ill. Unfortunately these clinics cannot provide the Home with adequate medication and therefore painkillers, cough syrup, flue medication and similar items have to be stocked at the Home.
Children fall ill on a daily basis and in such cases, the Home’s nurse accompanies them to either a day hospital or clinic for minor complaints or the local hospital for more serious complaints. The nurse also escorts children with chronic illnesses to regular clinic appointments and manages their medication.
Durbanville Children’s Home also administers deworming, substance abuse tests, specialised dentistry, orthodontic treatment and psychiatric, psycho and occupational therapies.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on any of these programmes.
The focus of the therapeutic programme is to assist children to come to terms with the trauma of being removed from their families as well as to help them achieve an optimal sense of emotional, physical and social well-being.
Children respond differently to trauma and their reactions vary with age, maturity, and exposure to the trauma. It is therefore essential that the appropriate therapeutic method is used with the children in order for the healing process to begin.
Activities within the programme include psychotherapy, massage therapy, play therapy, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy, life skills and the toy library. These activities and forms of therapy encourage the child to work through the trauma that he/she has been exposed to and learn various coping mechanisms.
Children at Durbanville Children’s Home come from very difficult circumstances and some have had to forgo adequate education. Interruptions in or even no school attendance and a lack of stimulation have created a gap in these children’s scholastic progress, manifesting itself in learning disabilities and a lack of motivation.
Consequently, some children experience scholastic deficiencies and need to attend schools, educational centres and programmes that will address these disadvantages.
School psychologists and other professionals are involved in determining these children’s special educational needs by means of questionnaires, meetings and consultations. The children attend 34 different schools to cater for their specific needs; these include mainstream, pre-primary, special needs and farm schools as well as special skills schools. Teachers compile and assess individual development plans and have regular meetings to ensure effective communication between staff at school and at the Home.
Many children at Durbanville Children’s Home attend support classes at their schools. A total of 36 volunteers also assist children with extra evening classes and the Home hopes to extend this programme. Children are also encouraged to participate in extra-mural activities at their schools.
We started an early childhood development unit on site in 2010. This unit was necessitated by the fact that children who are placed at the Children’s Home usually come from environments where they have been exposed to various risks. Since most of our children were not exposed to a structured environment at home and were not stimulated from an early age, they are not developmentally on par with their peers. Our children experience challenges in terms of adjusting in a formal schooling programme and coping with social challenges.
In our early childhood development unit we use a focused approach in ensuring that our children receive three balanced meals and good basic health care, and create pleasant living conditions for them. In the programme itself, they are exposed to play therapy, anger management, skills development, massage therapy, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy as well as regular sessions in the toy library. This assists the child to cope better within a more formal developmental programme at a school or care facility.
Sadly there are some of our children that when they reach the age of 18years, and have to leave the Children’s Home, and do not have a safe home to return too. We are now in the 3rd year of providing a bridging house to children who otherwise may have found themselves homeless. Our L.I.L.I House (Leaping into Life Independently) provides shelter, structure and programmes aimed at helping the young people reintegrate into society independently. We have already seen seven children graduate from our programme and flourish into independent living. Another three young people are currently still receiving weekly mentorship to prepare them for making that leap.
We also financially assist our young adults that wants to study further at Tertiary Institutions.