All our children had on some level experienced trauma or abuse. They had all been removed from the care of their families and were placed, by the court, under the supervision of the Durbanville Children’s Home.
The children in our care come from environments that are not conducive to nurturing. Their primary caregivers have often been absent; leaving the children exposed to emotional, psychological and physical abuse.
We offer hope
Catherine (not her real name) was placed at Durbanville Children’s Home in 2013 at the very young and vulnerable age of 2 years. She and her siblings were removed from their mother’s care due to serious neglect, on both a physical and emotional level.
Catherine was exposed to a lifestyle of violence and drug abuse which could easily have become her norm had she remained with her mother.
When she arrived at our Home, Catherine was a traumatised, neglected little girl who had clearly not received adequate stimulation.
At the Durbanville Children’s Home we understand the effects of trauma on children. The staff receive constant training and support to ensure that they are able to provide the best possible care for children to sustain their emotional, intellectual and social development.
Catherine is a shining example of the quality of care we are able to give to children at Durbanville Children’s Home. Today she is a confident, outspoken little girl who loves to go to school. She also loves to paint and draw.
Her art has become an important pathway to express who she is. Catherine needs these explosions of colour in her life (see the picture below).
Her development has been remarkable.
By the age of 4 Catherine started attending preschool. When looking at her school progress, her teachers were amazed to find that she had experienced such trauma and neglect before the age of 2 years. Today she is on par with and above many of the children in her class.
Catherine lives in our Happy Feet Unit, which is a developmental unit for children between the ages of 18 months and 7 years. In this unit we ensure that all the children receive stimulation and stable, predictable care to enable optimal cognitive, linguistic, and personal socialisation skills.
“The question is not whether we can afford to invest in every child; it is whether we can afford not to.” – Marian Wright Edelman.
Our residential care program is aimed at avoiding the “warehousing of children”, rather we look at strengthening their emotional resilience and increasing their capacity for learning. That way we want to help them adapt to a rapidly changing world.
We belief that the best place for a child is in the community. That means we render support services for the duration of the child’s stay, but we put a strong emphasis on effective tracing and reunification.
We understand that childcare is no longer a mere matter of physical care. We offer a mixture of child-focused, professional-intensive processes aimed at providing effective therapy, holistic child development and eventual reintegration
Our program in numbers
- We have 144 children who are effectively equipped with a solid education and necessary life skills; guided to make informative decisions regarding their future.
- There are 22 children in our early-childhood-development support, to better prepare them for the formal educational program.
- All of 81 children receive occupational-therapy support, assisting them to better cope with developmental challenges.
- Young people leaving residential care are equipped with the necessary life skills to live independently; there are 57 of them.
- At present 7 young adults study further.
- There are 9 young adults accommodated in our Bridging House, receiving job training and employment guidance.
- An average of 22 children are annually reunified with their families or significant others.
- We have 36 international and 42 local volunteers who are integrated into our programs to strengthen our service delivery to our children.
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