Ethelbert Children’s Home consists of six cottages, each with two residing Child Care Workers and a maximum of twelve children. Boys and girls are placed in separate cottages, with children under five finding a home in the toddler cottage. Ethelbert can care for a maximum of 65 children, though this number often differs due to the placement of children with rehabilitated parents or foster/adoptive parents.
When children are placed in our care, we strive to do more than provide them with a bed to sleep in and food to eat. Intensive rehabilitation and therapy are almost always needed. We provide the children with schooling as well as extra curricular activities. We ensure that they live as normal a life as possible, and we strive to give them all the opportunities any ordinary child would have as they grow up. For the period that the children are with us, we are not only their legal guardians, but we also act as their surrogate family – providing everything from school shoes to pocket money.
The toddler unit cares for children of 18 months and older, many of whom are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. We do our best to find adoptive parents for the children in our care, when their circumstances allow it, and are always thrilled when one of our children are adopted.
One of the most exciting programmes at Ethelbert is the Adventure Seekers. The goal of Adventure Seekers is to provide Ethelbert youth who are not able to go home or have behavioural problems, with opportunities and skills to deal with difficult situations so that they can draw upon these experiences for everyday living. It involves the use of challenges found in nature such as diving, hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and backpacking to provide growth experiences in their lives.
There are also a number of life skills programmes being run at Ethelbert Children’s Home, one of which being the arts and craft classes that have been running for a few years. The children also have their own holiday home in Park Rynie, which accommodates 20 children, and is mostly used for children that cannot visit parents or hosts during the holidays.
At the same time our Social Workers work with the families, providing therapy and counselling to them to ensure that they also receive support to overcome the reasons why their child was removed from their care.
In addition to supporting the families of the children in our care, Ethelbert Children’s Home takes a proactive approach in dealing with the severe breakdown in family and community values and the increasing number of poverty stricken families entering the social welfare system. We are deeply involved in the impoverished communities of Arundel Gardens and Burlington.