Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Families reunited

Mercy, Hope and David board the bus home
Keeping in touch with relatives is an important commitment we make to the children who join our family.
It something that children's homes are required to do, but it is also something that Mama is passionate about.
Mums, fathers or other relatives who, because of their own circumstances,  cannot look after for their child or children at home, still love and care about their kids and the children care about them too.
And every child should, if possible, grow up knowing their family and their roots.
Each child is committed to Happy House guardianship for three years, we then have to go back to court to renew committal orders and as part of this we must be able to show that we have maintained family bonds and done our best to reunite families if possible. In  a few cases where a child's safety maybe an issue this is, of course, out of the question.
Since Mama has been home she and Uncle Billy have been working together to identify and to talk to families where circumstances have changed which might allow for a child to go to live back home with a caring relative.
Uncle Billy explains:" In  line with what the Law requires of us and by the fact that life is dynamic and bound to bring forth changes in the lives of individuals with every new dawn, the Happy House keeps reviewing our cases bearing in mind that children are better off with their own blood families were it not for the underlying factors that, at times ,render such structures dysfunctional.
" If circumstances change for the better, then we do not hesitate to reintegrate the children to the community  through contacts who we have identified as family members who can be relied upon to take up the custody of their children. This is done carefully over a period of time where the children get to go for home-visits during the school holidays."
 "All cases are different and  treated individually. There are no blanket solutions." 
Mama and Billy  knew that the biggest obstacle in the way  of relatives would be the cost of education which is expensive in Kenya and healthcare which is also very costly. These are commitments that families would be unlikely to be able to fulfil.
Emmanuel and Elijah with their auntie
So far, in the cases of two groups of children, there are relatives who really want to take care of them, so to enable this to happen  Mama has decided that while they will live at home with their relatives, the children will continue to attend school at the Happy House where we will provide them with free education and healthcare.
This will mean that we can monitor their situation very carefully to ensure it is working for the children, who are our prime focus. 
Everything we do puts the child's interests above all else and should the situation not work out then we can step in immediately.
To begin with the children are just going home for weekends to see how it works out and if all goes well they will move home to stay.
Elijah and Emmanuel will go home to a very caring auntie and grandmother who want to give them a home. They will also see their mother who has tried very hard to turn her life around.
Hope and her cousins, Mercy and David will be going home to Hope's mum.
Uncle Billy said:  " When they came to us Hope's mum  was in poor health on top of losing her elder brother and having to take care of his children hence rendering them all in need of care.
" Times have changed and she is working and living in her own house and thereby willing and able to take  all three back under her wing."
Mama and Uncle Billy sat down and talked everything through with the children so that they understood what it would mean for them..
Mama says: " No-one has to go if they don’t want  to. 
"For those we can reintegrate, knowing they are coming into school will ensure we can keep a very close eye on them every day so we can step in straight away if they don’t eat, seem unhappy or withdrawn. The teachers  know the children well and will know who has gone, so we will be very well covered.
"It is a big step, and not one we are taking lightly. 
"Where it is in the best interest of the children , it is exciting for us to be able to do this for them, whilst at the same time making room for more desperate cases.
"I am sure our children's sponsors will be as excited about this as we are and will  continue their sponsorship to help us to meet the costs of their education, healthcare, uniforms, meals and books.
"Elijah, Emmanuel, Mercy, Hope and David are very much  loved members of our Happy House family and  will remain so. They will keep their memory boxes in the office along with those of all their Happy House brothers and sisters so their sponsor families will be able to stay in touch just as they always have."