Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Leaving the circle of care – what now?

Children in the community, who are at risk in terms of neglect, abuse, and orphaned as a result of death of the primary caregiver to name only a few matters, are placed in places of alternative safe care.  These places include foster care families and child and youth care centres (CYCC).  At Child Welfare Tshwane we have one CYCC namely Bramley CYCC, in Groenkloof, Pretoria.  We house 49 children in this CYCC but have a few hundred children under the care of Child Welfare Tshwane who were placed in foster care families as well.

During the time the children are in the care of Child Welfare Tshwane we take care of their needs in terms of schooling, health and recreational needs.  We ensure that they have clothes that fit, get balanced meals and remain in good physical and emotional health.  We provide accommodation and assistance to solve most of the questions and challenges they face.

And then, once a child finishes with school, they are no longer regarded as in need of care and have to leave the care facility. The question then often arises:  What now? Child Welfare Tshwane embarked on a programme called WINGS in 2016, aimed at preparing these youths for the day they have to take responsibility for themselves.

With the kind financial support of the Beeld Kinderfonds we are able to see that they understand basic budgeting, have a bank account, have identity documents and at least a learner’s licence.  We help them to attend leadership camps and do career path development assessments with them.  We teach them about rental agreements for accommodation (and what to be aware of), how to cook basic meals and even to put in seams and sew on buttons! 

We start preparing them at the age of 12 already, so that by that they time leave our care they are hopefully in a good position to cope with life outside the care facility. We see that the reality is often a shock:  no one to make the doctor’s appointment or to wash my clothes!  And through WINGS we try to help them make the transition with ease.

Our programme is mostly run by volunteers who take the boys and girls in group sessions and work through aspects of interest and concern to the children.  There is a set curriculum, but without making it too formal we work with the children in weekly sessions.  We also get big names like Hector the motivator, Elmarie Pretorius, Silindile Makhatini, Anja van Beek and others involved with the children during this process.

Every year Child Welfare Tshwane joins the Beeld campaign to sell tickets for the competition run by the Kinderfonds.  This is also our way to contribute to a fund we find so much value in and with the help of every one buying a ticket we can help another child on the road to independent living. It is amazing how your R50 contribution can have a permanent impact on the life of a young adult.

To learn more about WINGS or to support the campaign by buying a Beeld tickets, please contact Marketing at hanlie@childwelfare.co.za or franca@childwelfare.co.za.  The competition closes on 30 October and funds raised will be used in 2020.

No comments: