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Hope and Homes for Children

Hope and Homes for Children. Working group 3 – family support services. Hope and Homes for Children. HHC – international NGO based in UK. Working in 12 countries in Europe and Africa

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Hope and Homes for Children

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  1. Hope and Homes for Children Working group 3 – family support services

  2. Hope and Homes for Children • HHC – international NGO based in UK. Working in 12 countries in Europe and Africa • Focus in Europe – deinstitutionalisation. Working with local authorities to transform large children’s home and replace them with family-based services

  3. Hope and Homes for Children BiH • In BiH since 1994 • Transforming institutions • Developing family based services • Supporting young adults leaving institutional care

  4. TRANSFORMATION OF INSTITUTIONS • First institution to be transformed in BiH • Institution in Zenica for 60 children aged 0-18 • HHC working in partnership with local authorities in Zenica • The institution will be closed by March 2008

  5. Development of family based services – based on needs assessment: Prevention Reintegration Fostering Young adult support Small family home Staff of institution move to new services HHC provides capital investment + technical support (expertise, training, monitoring) Local authorities provide running costs and own the services TRANSFORMATION OF INSTITUTIONS

  6. Involves a child moving from an institution or foster family or any out-of-family placement to live with biological family It may involve return to family or first time to live together It is a complex process requiring careful preparation, support and follow up. Involves working closely with child and family REINTEGRATION Biological family – starting principle

  7. In BiH the legal decision to return a child to his/her family lies with CSW but non-statutory agencies can play important role in working with children and families on preparation and follow up REINTEGRATION

  8. STAGES IN REINTEGRATION STAGE 1 – ASSESSMENT through: • Visiting and talking to the child and family • Talking to the relevant professionals • Reading the children’s files

  9. STAGE 1 assess the following: • Reasons for separation: • Understanding the circumstances that led to separation is key to successful reintegration • Current situation of the child and family in the following areas: • living conditions • family and social relationships • social behaviour • physical and mental health • education • household economy • Wishes of the child and the family

  10. QUESTIONS TO BE CONSIDEREDduring the assessment stage • Why the separation? • Has the child been separated from its family previous to this placement? If so, where? • With whom was the child living immediately prior to the separation? • How long has the child been in the current placement? • How far is the child's present placement from its home? • The quality of relationships between the child and family members before the separation? • Is the child in regular contact with family members?

  11. FINAL DECISION for reintegration should involve all relevant parties including child and family. A CARE PLAN should be made and regularly reviewed throughout the period of preparation, reintegration and follow up.

  12. STAGE 2 preparation • Involve children and families in the planning process • Organise visits in the current placement • Organise weekend visits to the family home • Set a date for the return • Acknowledge openly that everyone will be anxious (including professionals)

  13. Note: although children want to go home there will be things they find difficult to leave behind e.g. friends, school, city life, carers. If the reintegration involves multiple changes, especially for an older child, then the preparation will take longer. It is important to keep some connections, if possible, e.g. with friends STAGE 2 preparation

  14. STAGE 3 return • There will be tears • There are likely to be some mixed emotions in the background • It is a good idea to have a small celebration • Everyone needs time to settle

  15. STAGE 4 “Honeymoon” period • There is likely to be a period when everyone is on best behaviour • Children will be more helpful, parents will be more easy-going and generous with their time, brothers and sisters will be unusually pleasant to each other • It will not stay this way forever and it is important not to withdraw support at this stage

  16. STAGE 5 crisis • This is almost inevitable and will take the form of an argument or conflict • It is important that everyone understands this is a normal part of the process • It is usually triggered by something quite trivial • The explosion will usually bring to surface much deeper problems to do with the pain of being separated • It is important to provide professional support through this stage and to help family members to express and work through painful emotions and issues in a constructive way

  17. STAGE 6 resolution • The crisis has the effect of clearing theair and, if resolved constructively, may enable the family to move on to building a sustainable way of living together

  18. STAGE 7 living together • Be prepared to support the family through the anxieties and conflicts that are part of the reintegration process • Continue supporting the family until they have reached stability and have a support network

  19. Relationships in the family are reasonably good The problems that made the separation necessary are considered to have been at least partially resolved The family considers itself a “family” The child assumes a role within the family at each stage of reintegration SIGNIFICANT FACTORS FOR SUCCESSFUL REINTEGRATION

  20. The child has a personal territory or item (e.g. room, bed, toy) in the family home throughout preparation and reintegration process The care plan is “inclusive” in that the family plays an active role in the decision making throughout the reintegration process The child’s family is prepared for the anxiety generated by the return and the disputes that are likely to occur There is network of support (local community, CSW, school, NGOs etc.) SIGNIFICANT FACTORS FOR SUCCESSFUL REINTEGRATION

  21. Poverty, unemployment Lack of capacity and resources of centres for social work (CSWs) to support and follow up families Lack of flexibility for CSWs to use money previously used to support child in institution/foster family to support families during reintegration “tradition” in institutionalisation (institutions are “easy”) Challenges in BiH context:

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