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Special care needed for children in homes

By Marlene Augustine Friday, March 28 2014

There is a need for more educational programmes to train teachers and community members to help children facing life challenges.

Such programmes can deal with traumatised children who are mostly left at orphanages and children who may seem to be living “normal lives” in society.

These were the views of Roman Catholic nun, Sr Arlene Greenridge, during a stakeholder consultation held at St Dominic’s Children Home (SDCH), Belmont.

She said the retooling of teachers, parents and community members with proper knowledge and educative measures can be the key in helping the children of the nation.

Reflecting on its inability to effectively cater to the needs of the children coming into its care today, SDCH – with the guidance and support of its Board of Management – has been actively engaged in an organisational transformation since 2008.

She said over the years for example, the “stories” of children at the home are very different. For some they have families but their home situations are very difficult and they are not safe or protected. Many children who required residential care services arrive with a history of inadequate parental supervision or their parents may have lacked the skills and/or support needed to manage their challenging behaviours.

Greenridge said coming out of the study and reflection which SDCH began in 2008, a new model of care has been designed for full implementation by 2016.

“This new model -the S.T.E.P.E.R.S. Model, is predicated upon a number of shifts in mindsets and behaviour, including: caregiver reliance on power and control to caregiver-child relationships that are trauma/loss sensitive. The child as the ‘client’ to the child and his/her family system as the ‘client’; from long-term placements in residential care to the earliest possible reintegration of the child into the family system; from intuition guiding care practices to knowledge and skills driving practice; and so on,” Greenridge said.

A better level of understanding is needed and better working relationships within the field can help address these issues and all others affecting children, she said.

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