“Most people have reservations about caring for children accused of witchcraft” Ese Ibor, BRCI
Since opening the Emergency Accommodation Shelter in April 2017, our partners at BRCI have supported, counselled and provided LIFE SAVING rehabilitation for children who have experienced the very worst cases of abuse, neglect and persecution.
The Emergency Accommodation Shelter was implemented with the intention of providing short term accommodation of up to 7 nights, for children and young people who would otherwise be forced to live on the streets. The shelter has proven time and time again to be an absolute lifeline for these children, while a more permanent, longer-term solution was found.
However, the circumstances and complexity of some cases has meant that at times it has been necessary to extend the stay beyond this time period, with some children staying at the facility for several weeks. While this ensures that the safety, care and support needs of the children are met, the preferred and most effective model of delivering care, is to settle children into a stable, caring and supportive home environment as quickly as possible.
With this in mind, over the past year, the team at BRCI have been channelling their efforts into ensuring this is a viable option for as many children as possible through a focussed programme of recruitment, engagement and training.
Ese Ibor, BRCI’s Project Co-ordinator who co-ordinates the Foster Care service explains more:
“We recruit foster carers through print, electronic and social media and we carry out engagement work in churches and communities and through town hall meetings. Those that want to foster children indicate their interest, then they are registered, verified and trained. The training session covers Child Rights Law, Getting Care Right for All Children and Alternative Disciplinary Measures. To date, we have been able to train about 20 people in this way.” She continues.
Following this, is what Ese describes as a ‘matching period’ where the foster carers are encouraged to visit the children who require foster care, to get to know them and to find compatibility in a match that works for both child and carer.
“This takes place over several weeks, after which time the child then goes to stay with the carer for a month.” Ese continues. ”If there are no problems and the carer and child have been able to form a bond, we begin the process of securing a care order through the courts for the child.”
“Once the child has been placed with a foster carer, BRCI continue to carry our regular monitoring visits to the homes and schools of the child in Foster Care.”
“If, on the other hand, the carer and child have problems and are not compatible, the child is returned back to the Emergency Accommodation Shelter, where BRCI then start looking for another Foster carer for the child.”
As Ese continues “This process is necessary to ensure that every child we place in foster care, experiences love, care and responsible parenting.”
But sadly, this isn’t always easy to achieve. “Most people have reservations about caring for children that have been accused of witchcraft.” Explains Ese. “It is also extremely difficult and nearly impossible to re-unite children with their families if they have been accused of witchcraft.”
With this in mind the team offer regular support meetings, training and refresher training to all foster carers with the aim of improving how they care for children and in turn offering the foster carers adequate support.
The bigger challenge for BRCI, however, is in funding the training and support meetings. It costs around £200.00 to fund a 2-hour training session to provide new foster carers with the skills, knowledge and resilience that is required to take on the caring responsibility of a child with complex emotional needs. Most carers, who haven’t had prior Foster Care training, will require at least 1-2 days of training.
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