April 2022 Zimpeto Child Reintegration Program Update
Reintegration remains the primary focus of the children’s centre. The aim to reunite children with families is the end goal for all of the children we accept into the centre. When a child is accepted to live with us, we ensure that family ties are maintained whenever and wherever possible, by enabling children to go home for at least a weekend now and again, or even for part of their school holidays. This may require that families contribute by providing food, clothing, or bedding.
Additionally, the reintegration team is responsible for follow-up once a child is reunited with their family. Regular visits are made in the early stages of reintegration to ensure that the food supply is sufficient, school fees are paid, and medical needs are attended to. It is the responsibility of the reintegration team to ensure that families are safe.
The background for all that is needed to oversee each child/family requires that much be in place. There must be a functioning car and a responsible driver, a social welfare technician, an administration person with two computers, and a team leader. It takes a village...
The pandemic slowed everything considerably. As things are opening up again, 2022 has already seen many children reintegrating. Several babies (now school age) have been reunited with extended family. Twins who came to us (malnourished and sick) have now returned to their family home. They will be supported by the ministry food box program to ensure that food scarcity does not pose a risk to the well-being of the twins.
Several older youth who have complicated social issues have reunited with their families. One young man who required an amputation of his big toe (due to infection) has successfully reunited with extended family. Each of these situations requires a lot of work and many visits from the reintegration team, both to empower the family to receive the child/youth and to enable the youth to have a positive mindset that will ensure successful reintegration.
Although we work hard to achieve success, occasionally reintegration is unsuccessful (oft times with older youth), as occurred this year. A young adult chose to return to the streets for a second time, even though his family had been well set up to receive him home. As he is now 20 years of age, we are not able (by law) to accept him back to the centre. We will continue to look out for him in the city streets and help him as best we can.
Pictured below are a few of the children and families that have been reintegrated in 2022.
Thank you on behalf of each precious child and family that are are reunited!