Are you closing? A relevant question since GCF has announced that we eventually will no longer have children at the Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC).
These thoughts are not new. Already from the beginning of the organisation’s history, the aim was never to have children growing up at, what was then, the shelter. It was supposed to be placement for a short time and only when absolutely necessary. Family life has always been the focus, and that is why the Foster Care Programme was developed and has been running since the beginning of the 2000s. The more we have worked with children, the clearer it has become that they belong in stable and loving families to be able to fully thrive. You can read about the harmful effects institutional care have on children in our previous blog here.
We are not alone, globally many with us have already or are in the transition to go from institutional care to family-based care in the communities. It has become a movement, even though it is not yet well-known and preferred in the particular area where we are located. But, someone must lead the way.
So, back to the question, is GCF closing down? No, not at all.
For several years, our residential social worker is working hard together with the children’s case managers to reintegrate them back into their biological families as much as possible. The specific programme assists the families, strengthens them, and prepares them for reunification. Also, our therapy assistant is a great asset here. For the children where moving back home is not an option, GCF has the already mentioned foster care database available for them.
Slowly but surely, we are moving towards more family care through screened and trained emergency parents, where so far, small children, are placed straight into such families instead of entering the doors to the CYCC.
GCF is not ignorant, we are well aware that children are ill-treated at home and sometimes must be removed from their families, but we are thinking preventatively. We are always advocating for what is best for every child, which already takes place in different ways. Our community workers have awareness sessions about social ills at schools, community meetings and other places. They also facilitate parenting courses in under-serviced areas. We have a telephonic helpdesk where anyone can phone with their family concerns. GCF teaches other organisations, church leaders and traditional leaders about child safeguarding, protective behaviours and more. Selected staff members have been trained in Victim Empowerment and Trauma Management.
We will continue to develop and do more. We want to be able to be involved in working preventatively so much more than we currently are, so we can be a part of building up families so children can remain at home.
One step at a time, we are moving forward. You can help us by supporting our work financially towards a family for every child!
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Written by Anna-Karin Öhrnstedt