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What's wrong with a children's haven?

(7 Posts)
saturnvista Sat 02-May-15 12:33:24

My husband and I are in South Africa, working in a children's haven that's run by a Christian charity. Local government social workers place a maximum of six children in this home and they live as a family, with a British couple and local caregivers (women from the townships who work in shifts). The home is a temporary care facility and where possible, the children return to their families. More often, they are placed in long-term foster care and occasionally, they're adopted by government-screened families. Although there are weeks when social workers ring on a daily basis to see if a place is available for another child, the number of children is strictly kept to six.

Looking at the physical and emotional scarring that these children have incurred, two things are apparent:
1. Preventation is more important than 'cure': social outreach programmes to help individuals and families in the townships are more important than children's homes, however pleasant they are.
2. These children desperately needed a safe place to live and this was the only option available for them. In terms of development and emotional well-being, they're all making huge strides.

I'm not equipped to help with the first point because I don't have social work qualifications. My experience is as a foster parent in Britain. So if we want to help, we can either give generously to other programmes, or open a haven or our own.

I seem to remember this topic coming up before on mumsnet - but can't remember more than that. Could you comment again, please?

saturnvista Sat 02-May-15 12:47:29


redexpat Sat 02-May-15 13:48:40

what exactly are you asking us? Your op isnt very clear in its intent.

saturnvista Sat 02-May-15 14:42:53

I'd like to hear your thoughts.

MammaTJ Sat 02-May-15 14:47:23

So, you have remembered this from another poster, OP? or do you actually run one of these places now?

AgentProvocateur Sat 02-May-15 14:48:02

Why is it a British couple? Why not a SA woman or man? Is religion foisted upon them? If not, I'm unsure of the relevance of the fact that it's a Christian charity. I don't doubt that some children will benefit, but the whole model of British Christians swooping in to run a haven, with black staff, is condescending in the extreme.

saturnvista Sat 02-May-15 15:07:44

Well, it's a Christian charity we are working with so that is relevant to give the whole picture. It's a British couple because they're British, I suppose! But yes, an SA couple would be preferable- not a white SA couple because in my experience they are too entrenched in the black/white mindset, but a black couple would be great. The reality is that nothing if presently being done enough, given the level of need. To hand a haven over to a black couple would be ideal.

Yes, it is condescending. Though to actually run this facility is a task that none of the fantastic staff from the township would(that I've met) actually want.

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