AGM Report 2012- 2013
PIETERMARITZBURG CHILDREN’S HOME
002 213 NPO
2012 / 2013
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 endeavours 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.
- 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 behaviour, 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”
This is the vision for PCH. This directs the core business of PCH and the commitment PCH has to each child and his /her own family. On average each day at PCH seventy children are given the best care possible that is from waking up each morning to going to sleep each night.
To provide the best care possible PCH has a team of staff to care and manage the daily programme. I thank each PCH staff member most sincerely who every day, all day, provide both direct and indirect care for every child. The leadership of Mrs Fiona Balgobind has been outstanding and I am sure you all agree that Fiona does excellent work as the Manager ensuring that PCH is investing in the best interest of each child.
Several staff members have many years of service and special mention is made in the General Manager’s report. We thank staff for their loyal service and wonder how we can measure the impact that each person has had in the life of the children. Maybe our best “ambassadors” are children who are now living their lives independently, some of whom have retained their connections via social media, such as face book. PCH has a face book page now and we welcome present and past children and staff as well to keep connected.
We face a serious challenge to employ child care staff with recognised child care 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 provisions of 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 current Board members are Mr A Jasson, Mrs N Mewallal, Mrs S Maree, Mr L du Preez and Mr T Zondi. We have a number of PCH children who are nominated by their peers as Youth representatives and they attend Board meetings where they speak up about their own issues and concerns and requests.
To the members of the PCH Trust, thanks for providing financial oversight and support to the PCH Board. Sadly we lost a truly mighty man Tim McNally a few months ago when he died after a brief illness. Through the leadership efforts of Mike Yeats, PCH is a member of the Children’s Homes Forum, which meets on a regular basis to debate relevant issues. Recently Mike has brought Board members and Managers of the different children’s homes together and regular meetings are held.
PCH’s financial struggles continue. We remain indebted to our current funders and donors. As I read a recent report compiled by the General Manager for a Board meeting I noted the huge support in kind from individuals and businesses in our community towards 400 loaves of bread weekly, free quarterly bed bug spraying, monthly donations of oil, margarine and soap; weekly vegetables; regular donations of crockery and linen. I am grateful to Protea Imperial Hotel, Rotary Azalea and Bizwhiz 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.
Mrs I Dugmore
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 challenging year. The 2012/2013 year continued to be a period of testing new methods and approaches and trying to find the delicate 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. In stating this, both the management team and Board members have found ourselves facing numerous challenges in relation to human resources, and have had to rethink our strategies and try several positive approaches to attempt to mend a somewhat 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 new Children’s Act, has placed us all in difficult positions. Some challenges such as awaiting clearance certificates for all staff and volunteers, and the lack of additional funds to increase the staff ratios have remained contentious issues and were addressed as serious points of concern at our monthly children’s forum, and with the Department of Social Development. PCH, like all other CYCCs, does not have the additional finances to meet these requirements. The fact that various potential funders turned us down in this financial year, added to the financial burden, together with the higher cost of salaries and increased operational expenses.
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 the organization and the legal requirements of the Act, there was a huge concern that they lacked initiative to follow up on modules that were completed years before and were making no effort to continue with their training. Staff were asked to complete personal development plans in 2012 and despite indicating that they intended to continue their modules, again, three months later, none of them made a concrete effort to follow up on the training requirements, registration processes etc. The challenge lies in the staff accepting personal responsibility for their professional development.
Effort was made to apply for funding for staff training however several sponsors rejected this request. The HWSETA application for funding was positive in the fact that there were two site inspections and an inclination that the home will received some funding for life skills development. This would then be the 1st step towards a possible learnership being awarded at a later stage.
A greater focus was placed on the Child Care programme. In understanding that we want our children to receive the best possible care, our focus was directed at the staff providing this care. A stronger emphasis was placed on staff responsibility and accountability. Various efforts were made to positively acknowledge them at child care meetings, reinforce positive behaviour with children, offer tokens of appreciation for good child care practice, and an extra effort made to take the direct child care staff through a team building exercise. PCH even acknowledged the Child care worker of the year (as voted by the children) at our awards ceremony, in the desire to re-build broken bridges and move forward in the best way.
The management team placed more priority on the child care meetings in each unit, to focus on joint accountability and a spirit of team work. What became very clear, through this process, was that the current model of care that PCH implements, is not functioning effectively! The daily dayshift/nightshift roster does not allow for adequate time spent by the worker with the children and more clearly allows for more gaps in our system in terms of accountability. Several efforts were made to address some of these concerns with the union however the home could not get the commitment of the union at that stage, to consider the operational requirements needed to make these changes.
Volunteers have a significant role to play within the organization and we are appreciative of all professional volunteers who come in to provide specialized services. 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, more than fifty persons have assisted PCH with activities, programmes, upgrades to our facility and provided means to obtain needed requirements for the home’s daily functioning.
In terms of our children, awareness and education is continuous and a few significant programmes were held with them. These included career coaching, career days, study guidance and the comprehensive therapeutic programme for specific children dealing with bereavement continued into this year. The process of embracing the concept of child participation continued with our election of four youth representatives. They met quarterly with the units, and thereafter met with the management team to discuss issues of concern.
Two representatives attended Board meetings to present their input. This was a new, exciting and interesting dimension to active involvement of children on decision-making.
They were also groomed through participating in NACCWs regional youth forum and attended 3 meetings. This offered them the opportunity to participate at the KZN Child Care Mini-conference. The reps were able to take on more leadership roles such as running the child protection week programme, planning the Heritage day event, and being more participative in introducing and welcoming guests and visitors to PCH. Well done to all the representatives that have held positions!
PCH continued to provide an aftercare programme for our school leavers. The previous leaver completed her training at the School Leavers Opportunity Training (SLOT). Two new learners were placed on the programme as day scholars. We acknowledge the private sponsorship awarded via the wonderful effort of Mr Mike Yeats. Our resource centre was also given more attention, with the continued sponsorship of Crickmay Associates. Six library monitors were elected to oversee the centre.
It is vital for PCH to hold on to the relationships developed with regular donors. I convey my sincere appreciation to all our friends and supporters and I especially take this opportunity to thank the members of the Trust, Board of Directors, all our staff, and especially the Management team for continuing on this exciting yet challenging journey of transformation. I end with thanking our children and extending my prayer for each of them to grow and develop within a grounded and strengthened PCH.
CHILD CARE REPORT
Pietermaritzburg Children’s Home (PCH) provides residential care to a maximum of 75 children. These children 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 an average of 82 children in the last year. The children were between the ages of 6 – 19 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 child and youth care workers (CYCW). The CYCWs work on a shift basis. i.e. day shift (7am – 5pm) and night shift (5pm – 7am). There is always a CYCW (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. Counselling – with the child and the relevant family members- will also form part of the process if necessary.
A total of eighteen children returned to their families. Two of these children successfully completed their Matric year. 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 attend eleven 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 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 e.g. 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, drama classes, exposure to theatre and plays.
Highlights for the year:
- PCH hosted their second annual prize giving where children were acknowledged for the achievements and positive behaviour throughout the year
- Two children matriculated
- PCH created a resource centre with the help of a sponsor,
- One child completed the SLOT (School Leavers Opportunity Training) program
- Four children were assigned to mentors. Mentors act as role models and sometimes host parents to the children.
Bronwynn Van Wyk,
TREASURER’S REPORT (For the Year ended 28 February 2013)
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.
2013 has provided many financial challenges for the home. Increased operating costs as well as reduced donor and Lottery funding have resulted in the following key financial results:
|2013 (R)||2012 (R)|
|Net Deficit (Surplus)||-805,400||1,016,430|
|Operating expenses by major category|
|Staff Expenses and Benefits||1,711,392||54%||1,606,898||56%|
|Direct Child Care Expenses||946,202||30%||815,950||29%|
|Repairs and Maintenance||164,147||5%||129,086||5%|
|2013 (R)||2012 (R)|
|Cash and Cash Equivalents||257,070||666,152|
|Property and Equipment||3,336,907||3,258,414|
The following material regular donors are acknowledged with thanks:
|Donor||2013 (R)||2012 (R)|
|Ken Collins Trust||42,000||42,000|
The following actions have been 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 major prospective funders have been filled in
Nisha Mewalall CA (SA)
PIETERMARITZBURG CHILDREN’S HOME
45 Teak Road
033 3874004 / 5 / 8 033 3874001
PCH THANKS YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT