“We believe that to confront the challenges our communities face, young people– — not just their advocates — need to define issues and develop strategies for action.” Youth Action Group
Kids Haven Aftercare is shifting gears in 2022. Our final Pillar of Care in the Kids Haven model of care, Aftercare started in principle twenty years ago to support young people and children who had lived in the Children’s Home and were returning to their families or their communities. There cannot be a limit to the length of care for a child, even if there needs to be a limit on how long a young adult can live at home. What can this kind of care look like?
It must be intentional.
Twenty years ago, Aftercare played a small role in providing follow-on support to any child or young person who left the Children’s Home or Incare Pillar. Without focused funding, and without State recognition for this transition phase, Kids Haven Aftercare helped young people to navigate returning to their families and their communities. Sam Mokgopha, current CEO of Kids Haven, initiated this programme and offered a sympathetic ear to families and young people coping with being brought back together again. Kids Haven helped wherever possible – sometimes with the right school uniform for the new school that the child would be going to at home or with some pots and pans for the new home that the young adult was starting. But, at that time, help was scattered and somewhat ad hoc. Using ‘extra’ resources and whatever time we could find to counsel and support as much as possible…
Fast forward to 2022, and Aftercare now has a committed team of three community workers who intentionally deliver support and services to children and youth who leave care to integrate into communities. This is possible through the generosity of donors. The Department of Social Development is not yet funding “Aftercare”, but they are starting to take an interest in the concept and beginning to recognise that youth leaving residential care need support. Sam Mokgopha was a speaker at their last workshop in November 2019.
The newly appointed Youth Advisory Committee has begun meeting to ensure that the youth themselves can define the needs and supports of youth who leave care. Kids Haven is still asking “what can this kind of care look like?” and making sure that we ask the people affected the most.
Sam’s 2019 Master’s thesis looked at the resilience development of former street children on the streets, in residential care and beyond care. What social processes are needed to foster resilience in young people who follow this path of a childhood in crisis + time in a children’s home + needing to exit as a young adult and find your own way? Can this research inform Kids Haven’s own Aftercare Pillar of Care so that we offer opportunities for young people to navigate towards achieving success?
Aftercare 2022 is combining the voices of our own young people, with the knowledge gained through research and worldwide experiences of this transition phase, embedded in a South African society with a crisis of youth unemployment. We have fastened our seatbelts and are getting ready for the ride…. This is what the Youth Advisory Committee had to say:
- Young people leaving care may not have healed completely. Sadly, experiences in a crisis-laden childhood have far-reaching tentacles and can disrupt and prevent a young adult from being able to grab opportunities and maximise them.
- There is no shame in needing therapy, and youth can and should be included in post-traumatic therapy through the Kids Haven therapy centre or other counselling support.
- The geography of family changes for these young people. Adverse conditions at home brought these children into care at Kids Haven. But does anything change at home while the child is in care? Circumstances are still the same. What more can be done to shift behaviours at home so that the neglect and trauma that were there as a child could be different for the return of the young adult? “Kids Haven youth should be shaped for independent living and not anticipate returning to a family”.
- Unemployment is a huge problem. School doesn’t offer enough career guidance. Is this something that Kids Haven can look at while children live in care?
- Young people need coaching to develop career paths. Educational support, tertiary career guidance and entrepreneurial skills. Not every young person can study further. “My career path has to travel anywhere and not only towards a university”.
- Can young people find host parents even though they are over 18? Perhaps we should look for “Career parents”! A welcoming place to do shadow-work so that young people can be exposed to different career options.
Kids Haven Youth @ Work
Kids Haven supports the Presidential National Youth Service programme (NYS) to get young people working particularly in Community Service opportunities in marginalised communities. Kids Haven is part of a group of implementing partners working with Seriti Institute NPC. Our first task is connecting 200 youth within Ekurhuleni to training and work opportunities in the ECD sector. These 200 young people will gain knowledge and skills in early childhood development before being mentored within existing early childhood centres in communities. Each young person commits to working 20 hours a week in these activities and will be paid by the Seriti Institute on behalf of the NYS. The participants will have a place to go every day, with duties to perform. This is a taste of work but still leaves time to explore formal employment opportunities or run a small business of your own.
Youth at work in 2022:
- Two young men employed in a supermarket chain. They returned to Kids Haven with a donation of products in April.
- Two young men continuing in their apprenticeship in furniture making.
- One young woman committing to her second degree while working at a local hospital.
- Two young women hired as staff in restaurants in Midrand and Bryanston. We found accommodation close to their places of work.
- One young man certified as a qualified plumber and introduced to a local plumbing company.
- One young man provided with seed capital to open his small tuck shop and run his own business.
- Two young matriculants assisted to return home to the DRC and reunited with family.
Do you want to see young people supported and working?
Please connect with Kids Haven to meet the needs of young people leaving care. There is no ready family who easily welcome a young person back into the home. There is no mother to share her cell phone or add an extra plate to the table. Each young person who lives independently needs basic household items – a bed, a chair, a two-plate stove, pots and pans. She needs a cell phone to stay in touch or connect with a work opportunity. He needs data to complete the application to NSFAS and tertiary studies.
Our wish list for Aftercare Youth – contact email@example.com or WhatsApp us on 071 860 0505
Household items – new or second hand – especially two-plate stoves.
Smart clothing suitable for interviews – chinos, skirts, jackets.
“Kids Haven Youth @ Work” branded T shirts or caps for social impact employment opportunities in the local community.
Funding for Youth:
Food parcels at R 350 per month.
Transport stipends at R 300 per month.
Youth @ Work part-time weekly wage to participate in social impact employment. This is a 16-hour work week for young people who earn minimum wage while they gain skills at thesame time as improving their communities. A monthly stipend for Youth @ Work is R 1 484per month. Please consider sponsorship for a candidate for up to 3 months.
A monthly donation specifically for YOUTH and Aftercare. Please look at our website https://kidshaven.co.za/monthly-debit-order/
All donors receive a section 18a certificate for the value of their donation. Make your donation via Payfast or use our bank details https://kidshaven.co.za/donate/
Thank you for being part of our community ensuring ongoing protection and care to children and young people who may not have had the best start in life, but
deserve to finish strong.
Kids Haven CEO
You can get involved by volunteering, donating money or second hand goods.
If you think your company could help make a difference please contact us.