THE Just Children Foundation (JCF) runs an effective outreach programme through which counsellors make follow–ups on children living in foster homes and away from the homes that run by the organisation.
The programme is part and parcel of the re–unification system that is one of the foundation’s core values, where the placement of children in ‘real homes’ and families is critical to the child’s development.
A counsellor at the organisation, who is also a member of the outreach team that conducts the home visits, Sekai Chidzungu said the first home visit is usually to establish the nature of the social environment at the home and see if it would be appropriate to keep the child there or place them at one of the organisation’s shelters.
“Sometimes you can establish that there was a case of sexual abuse at home, and the mother would have brought the child to us behind the father’s back. In that case it would be inappropriate to let the child stay there as it would expose them to further abuse,” she said.
She added that in some instances it could be established that running away from home on the part of the child had just been a matter of delinquency.
She also noted that there would be need to ensure that a child’s confidence and trust is built up to such an extent that they would not be lured back into the streets.
She said the home visits were valuable as they enabled them to make effective follow–ups, although occasionally they experienced constraints such as transport to far –flung places and the unstable political environment in rural Zimbabwe had made some places inaccessible.