PIETERMARITZBURG CHILDREN’S HOME
NPO No. 002-213
2013 / 2014
- To provide residential care, observation, assessment, and treatment programmes for children and youth admitted to PCH.
- To facilitate the provision of normal and special education for all children and youth admitted to PCH.
- To ensure the medical well being of all children by facilitating the provision of information / relevant material to staff, children and youth and by hosting life skills sessions on all health related issues including sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and all other matters relating to HIV/AIDS.
- To provide our children with the opportunity to enjoy social, spiritual and recreational activities within and outside of PCH.
- To create opportunities for the Child Care Workers and volunteers to receive training and develop further in the field of Child Care.
- To create opportunities for PCH to assist in educating unemployed persons via knowledge dissemination, on-the-job training on Child Care and providing them with relevant experience in order to help them seek employment, and increase community involvement
“Investing in the best interest of each child in our care”
I am honoured to present the Chairperson’s report for the past year, and to note without hesitation that PCH has been able to stay focused on our vision statement and keep in line with our core business of rendering the best care possible to our children.
To provide the best care possible PCH has a team of staff and volunteers to care and manage the daily programme. I thank each one of them for continuing to offer both direct and indirect care to every child. The leadership of Mrs Fiona Balgobind has been outstanding and she has tried to continue providing for the best interests of our children despite the many challenges that were faced within this year.
Several staff members have given many years of service and special mention must be made to Mrs Sylvina Dlamini, Mrs Petrosia Madlala and Mrs Constance Madondo who decided to take early retirement packages at the end of this financial period. We thank them for their loyal service and acknowledge that their impact on our children is immeasurable. I understand that we have many “ambassadors” who have previously lived at PCH and are now retained their connections via our face book. We hope to use this platform to engage with more of our children who are now well adapted adults functioning in Society.
On a note of great concern, PCH faced serious challenges to employ child care staff with recognised training and more importantly to encourage existing staff to register and /or complete their professional training to align with the professional standards determined by the Children’s Act. My thanks and appreciation goes to the PCH Board of Directors for the many hours of oversight and expertise, both at Board meetings and also on a day-to-day-basis. The Board members during this period were Mrs I Dugmore, Mrs N Mewallal, Mrs S Maree, Mr L du Preez, Mr T Zondi and Mrs L Calhoun. It was a very sad task to recently pay our tributes to Mrs Calhoun, who had been an excellent ambassador of the home! PCH continued to work with the elected Youth representatives and they attended Board meetings where they had the opportunity to raise child care issues directly to the Board.
To the members of the PCH Trust, thank you for providing financial oversight and support to the PCH Board. Through the leadership efforts of Mr Mike Yeats, PCH continued to participate actively as a member of the Children’s Homes Forum.
PCH’s financial struggles continue. We remain indebted to our current funders and donors. I am grateful to Protea Imperial Hotel, Rotary Azalea, Hilary Teal and Bizwhiz, Willowton Motors and Stay Easy Hotel for their continued support as they have adopted our home! I especially thank the Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest, National Lotteries Board and the Department of Social Development for their most valuable financial support.
Mr. A Jasson (Chairperson).
GENERAL MANAGER’S REPORT
It gives me great pleasure to share some of the developments within PCH in the past financial period, and to again acknowledge my gratitude to the Almighty for his blessings over the organization, staff and especially our children, through this very challenging year! The 2013/2014 year continued to be a period where Management tried to put into place appropriate programmes and routines to ensure that there is balance between our standard of care and the required expectations as per the regulations of the Children’s Act.
PCH should never lose sight of our core business, which is, working in the best interest of our children. This is both, in line with the National Association’s vision and is the basic principle underlying the Children’s Act. The management team and Board members found ourselves facing even more challenges in relation to human resources and had to think of innovative ways to engage with staff members on the expectations of Transformation. To our disappointment, these attempts seemed to create further tension to an already strained relationship between the management team and other staff members!
The continued pressure placed on all child and youth care centres to transform and meet the requirements of the Children’s Act, has placed us all in difficult positions. The existing challenges of awaiting clearance certificates for staff and volunteers, lack of additional funds to increase the staff ratios, the continued lack of funding for the social work posts, and the need to initiate effective programmes within CYCCs, have remained contentious issues and were addressed at our monthly children’s forum, and with the Department of Social Development. PCH, like all other CYCCs, did not have the additional finances to meet these requirements. However, at the end of this financial year, there was a sudden glimmer of hope, with a confirmation from the National Lottery Board, for funding approved, in relation to our 2011 application that was placed on Appeal.
Greater emphasis was placed on the issue of accredited training in child care. Despite all the child care staff being fully aware of the expectations of PCH and the legal requirements of the Act, there was continued despondency to follow up on previous modules completed. Personal development plans were completed in 2013, and again, evidence indicated that none of them had made concrete effort to further their training, and, had assumed no professional responsibility for their own growth and development, for the benefit of the children they serve.
PCH found itself in a very difficult situation where staff members were unwilling to compromise with regard to the expectations of the Act, but, the home was taken up for not being able to give them an unrealistic salary increase, as per their union demands.
Focus also remained on the Child Care programme. In understanding that we want our children to receive the best possible care, our priority was on the staff providing this care. A strong emphasis remained on staff responsibility and accountability. Thus, we revisited the duty roster and started consultations with the union on this matter. We intended to re-align the roster to the Department’s expectations that we meet the needs of the children via the best practice models that exist however we were faced with resistance and refusal from staff, to comply with these operational requirements. In the latter 2013, the management team placed emphasis on child care routines and was concerned that routines were not effectively being managed by staff. An attempt was made by the team to adjust the routines in consultation with the child care staff. This effort was greeted with a lack of commitment or concern from staff who were unwilling to comply with basic routines aimed at benefiting the children. It was unfortunate that the vented antagonism was targeted at our social worker who chose to leave the home due to the personal effects of the high level of tension against the Management team.
In this context, we are even more appreciative of all professional volunteers who come in to provide specialized services to our children. We are thankful to Leon Grove and Dladlanathi for their free expertise. In terms of direct services, volunteers in all the units assist with the planning of activities and managing of child care programmes. In terms of students, religious groups, business and other volunteers, over sixty persons assisted with activities, programmes, upgrades or provided means to obtain needed requirements for the home’s daily functioning.
In terms of our children, self awareness and educational programmes were continuous. These included career coaching, attending career days, study guidance and a comprehensive therapeutic programme for specific children dealing with bereavement continued. The process of embracing the concept of child participation continued with our election of four youth representatives. Despite several challenges, the representatives were able to engage with children in the cottages and met with the management team and Board members during the year to discuss issues of concern. Two reps regularly voiced children’s concerns at Board meetings. The previous representatives benefitted from participating in NACCWs regional youth forum, and the 4 new representatives elected for 2014 began by attending a youth team building programme in Durban. The representatives learn to take on more leadership roles during the year. Well done to previous representatives, and especially to the new ones who were faced with several unexpected challenges, and proved to be capable and committed to working with the Management and Board.
Our resource centre continued to a lesser extent with the continued sponsorship of Crickmay Associates. Six library monitors continued, however staff members showed little support, and the centre was thus restricted to only the seniors who used it for study and research purposes. PCH continues to support school leavers, via the aftercare programme. One senior completed at the School Leavers Opportunity Training programme (SLOT), via sponsorship secured by Mr M Yeats. This year we enrolled one senior at UKZN and secured some sponsorship towards his fees. An application to the Premier’s office was successful in granting him a loan for his first year.
I cannot end without acknowledging the genuine relationships PCH has developed with regular donors. I convey my sincere appreciation to all friends and supporters and take this opportunity to thank members of the Trust, Board of Directors, all staff, and especially the Management team for continuing on this challenging journey of transformation. I extend my continued prayer for each of our children to grow and develop within a strongly grounded and strengthened PCH.
CHILD CARE REPORT
Pietermaritzburg Children’s Home (PCH) provides residential care to a maximum of 75 children, who are found by the children’s court to be in need of care and protection. They are therefore placed at the home, after an agreement between the children’s home and the placement agency, through recognized legal procedures.
PCH’S aim is to provide a safe environment that allows children the best possible opportunity for growth and development. This goal is achieved by utilizing a structured program that takes into account the children as a group and as an individual.
Pietermaritzburg Children Home accommodated a total of 92 children and youth in the last year. They were between the ages of 5 – 20 years. The children are accommodated in four units with each unit being able to house at least twenty children. Children are placed in the units according to their age groups, i.e. junior girls (primary school), junior boys, senior girls (high schools) and senior boys.
The children are cared for by care workers, who worked on a shift basis. i.e. day shift (7am – 5pm) and night shift (5pm – 7am). There is always a care worker (sometimes two) on duty in each unit.
Reunification services form part of the program and is the joint responsibility of the placement agency and the children’s home. Ideally children are not meant to spend more than two years in children’s home, as the home is meant to act as a temporary arrangement until the child’s home circumstances improve. The reality however is that the family home circumstances often take more than two years to improve, and the child remains in the care of PCH until permanent reunification is possible.
Reunification is a process. In the cases where reunification is possible, the child and the family are given time to adjust to being a part of each others’ lives. Relationships are rebuilt by allowing the child and family to spend time together, sometimes by the family visiting the child at the children’s home, or the child going to the family home for day visits, which then progress to weekend visits, then holiday visits and eventually the child returns to the family permanently. Counseling – with the child and the relevant family members- will also form part of the process if necessary. A total of 19 children returned to their families.
Five of these children successfully completed their matric year and 1 completed 4th year at Newton Prevocational School. Reunification takes place not only with immediate family members – because in some cases both parents are deceased-, but also with significant others like aunts, uncles or grandparents and sometimes adult cousins or siblings.
The children attended twelve different schools in or around the area. School attendance is also a prerequisite for admission to PCH. All children have to attend school. Refusal to attend school regularly can jeopardize the child’s placement at the home.
Children who attend schools in the area walk to and from school. Children who attend school in the outline areas are transported to and from school. Our children have been actively involved in several programmes at the community level. This included local events in Woodlands, local sports clubs, several church related events, and the joint programmes eg Heritage day and Youth Day with other CYCCs.
The program for the above period included the following:
– Developmental Program: 24 hour physical care, access to appropriate schooling and education, family reunification and reintegration within the shortest possible time, assistance with disengaging from the program, Promotion of children’s rights, and mastering age appropriate tasks
– Therapeutic Programs: Developmental assessment of children, individual counseling of children, referrals to specialized services such as psychologists or psychiatrists, and family meetings, dealing with the needs of the child.
– Recreation: Sports (PCH netball and soccer teams as well as local soccer teams), outings to places of interest, exposure to theatre, plays and other places of interest like the Air Show.
Highlights for the year:
– Five children successfully matriculated from PCH
– One of them was registered at UKZN for a degree in Politics and Law and we secured a sponsor for some of his fees. PCH offers him support in terms of our aftercare programme.
– One child completed 4th year at Newton Pre-vocational School.
– Our PCH Choir group continued to practice and participated at the PMB Marathon opening ceremony event with other recognized choirs. One of our boys came 5th in the 21km race!
– Five of our juniors were granted permission by the Court to participate in a local recording session of a song dedicated to Mr Mandela. The recorded song with Raruka was aired several times.
Siboniso Shezi, (Social Worker).
TREASURER’S REPORT (For the Year ended 28 February 2014)
The Pietermaritzburg Children’s Homes (PCH) continues to operate as a child and youth care centre, providing the accommodation and care to children in need. The primary source of funding remains as the monthly government subsidy received from the Department of Social Development, as well as donations from various sources.
2014 has provided many challenges in terms of Finances for the homes. Increased operating costs as well as a reduction donor funding have resulted in the following key financial results:
|Net Deficit (Surplus)
|Operating expenses by major category
|Staff Expenses & Benefits
|Direct Child Care Expenses
|Repairs and Maintenance
|Cash and Cash Equivalents
|Property and Equipment
|The following material regular donors are acknowledged with thanks:
|Ken Collins Trust
The following actions were implemented in an attempt to turn around the current dire financial position of the PCH:
– All vacant staff posts have been put on hold until a suitable management model has been developed for the home
– The catering function has been outsourced
– A public relations/marketing student has been deployed to promote the home and source debit order donors
– A telemarketing firm was secured to source donors
– Applications to prospective funders have been filled in
Nisha Mewalall CA (SA), Treasurer.
Investing in the Best Interest of each Child in our Care
The Pietermaritzburg Children’s Home (PCH) provides residential care, management and treatment for troubled and abused children and youth who have been removed from parental custodianship and placed in our custody by recognized legal procedures.
PCH implements programmes for the preparation of children for return to parental care, substitute care or responsible and independent adult living.
PCH endeavors to meet the needs of these children and youth in an effective and efficient manner subject only to resource constraints and the preservation of the integrity of the organization.