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63 APRIL 2004
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The partial care program – children's home transforms

Yvette Rogers

This program was started as we at Cape Youth Care began to see that there were children in the communities in which we worked who found themselves faced with risk factors but not to the extent that social workers felt it necessary to remove the children from their home environment. We wondered whether we could provide a holistic program which could meet the needs of these children and their families. This was how we came to start the partial care program.

The actual program
At present we run the program 3 days a week and during all long school holidays. The program runs from 14h30-18h00 and the program consists of 4 sections (1) fun, relaxation and games; (2) school work assistance; (3) snack/meal and (4) a life skill component. The purpose of each session, is to provide a “safe space” in the afternoons where children can develop holistically whilst their parents are at work. It also keeps the children off the street. The focus of the staff is to develop therapeutic relationships with their focus on children and adapt the 4 sessions to meet the differing need of individual children. At present we run the program with 2 staff members and 2 volunteers which mean we have a ration of 5 children to 1 adult. This ratio enables us to tailor make the program for particular children. Once a week all staff meet to discuss their focus children and to plan for the coming week. If we feel it is required “we do offer services to the entire family through our intensive family support program.

Theoretical Approach to Partial Care
The staff and volunteers work with the strength based development model. We are also trying to apply the principles of the positive peer culture in the way we work with the young people. We also function from the belief that each child belongs at home with his/her community and we aim to build support structures to facilitate this.

Case study/success story
Child X lives in a wendy house with her mother and 5 siblings one of whom is severely handicapped. Her mom is unemployed but receives a disability grant and money for the handicapped child. At the time X began the Partial Care program she was 14 in grade 5 and failing due to lack of attendance at school. The school also complained of her behaviour when present. Her mum could not contain her at home and there were reports of her using dagga and alcohol as often as possible. When asked about her behaviour she would say she is bored! Through attending the partial care program we have assisted her to change to one which meets her academic needs but places her in a supportive environment (the BEST center). She attends school daily and is a pleasure to teach. She participates enthusiastically in our program and one can see the changes from an angry withdrawn child to an extroverted happy child with a wonderful sense of humor! Recently she exclaimed to a staff member “You know since coming here I do not need to smoke and drink any more because I am not bored!” We have received positive feedback from the community that they do not recognize X as the child they one knew.

The staff at the Partial Care Program believes that this is the way of the future “working with children and their families at home in their communities. Creating safe spaces for children without them ever leaving home! We as staff have grown immensely from journeying with these children, watching them face and find solutions to adversity and celebrate themselves, their families and communities “and become all they were intended to be!

This feature: Rodgers, Y. (2003). The partial care program. Child and Youth Care. Vol.23 No.11 p.11

The International Child and Youth Care Network

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