The main objective of the Social Welfare Department is providing quality care and support to children, working closely with the children’s families. Within this objective is the idea of preserving family relationships of young people, and wherever possible restoring those which have been damaged or lost.
With the above objective in mind 2011 saw the implementation of the reunification programme. The idea was to identify families for the young people if they are still there, and establish a relationship, so that by the end of the year they will be reunited. The Social Workers involved in the programme ensured that children got the chance to spend a lot more time with their family especially during the holiday seasons.
During the rehabilitation process MYC’s Social Welfare Office starts searching for the children’s family background. Many of the orphans have not had contact with their parents and relatives for several years. Poverty and abuse are the main reasons why the children ran away from home and turned to the streets.
With family counseling and homevisits, MYC tries to prepare the children and families for Reunification. Normally the aim is that the children should leave MYC after 18 months.
The biggest challenge to the reuniﬁcation programme was among other things, the poverty. Some families were surviving on grants from government, and it was difﬁcult to take the children back to those conditions. Another challenge was the absence of family, the death of family members most probably related to the HIV/Aids pandemic. In cases where children hadn’t been in contact with family members for a long period of time, adjusting to the family set up was very difﬁcult, such cases needed more time. Target group Children suitable for integration in our programmes are street children, and these are found on street night visits conducted every fortnight on Thursdays from 7-9pm. We target children who are below the age of 14. Once they are placed with us, a care plan will be made which will be used up until the child exits the organisation.
Once the children are reunified, the social workers will visit the boy, his family, and his classroom teacher each month for two years. MYC will continue to pay school fees for two years as well as any medical care required.
In 2012 five boys and one girl left MYC to stay with their family again.