THE HOMESTEAD PREVENTION AND EARLY INTERVENTION PROGRAMME:
The Homestead Prevention and Early Intervention programmes (PEI) focus on preventing children from ending up on the street, and on getting children living, working and begging on the street off the street. The Homestead PEI programmes are therefore run in the most poverty stricken and gang infested communities of Cape Town, what we call communities of origin, as well as out on the street. This means the Homestead is reaching out to children when and where they are most vulnerable.
The Homestead PEI programmes consist of:
a) The Homestead Drop-in Centres: The Homestead has three Drop-in centres, one each in Khayelitsha, Manenberg and Woodstock (we are also about to open one in Valhalla Park). Drop-in centres aim to reduce the vulnerability of the children through specialised support including substance abuse counselling, school attendance support, family preservation programmes, as well as parental guidance. More often than not it is this support, along with a pair of school shoes and a warm meal that keeps vulnerable children at home with their families, attending school and off the streets. The Homestead Drop-in Centres:
- Offer support and care when and where children are most vulnerable, for instance after school, during school holidays, when gang activity is at its worst. By offering services in the communities of origin, we reduce vulnerability and offer children protection from a harsh reality of exploitation and abuse.
- Reach children previously ignored by intervention services and to provide a base from which we can work with hard to reach children, for instance the children who live and work on the Khayelitsha taxi rank.
- Offer a consistent and structured intervention programme both for vulnerable community children as well as for hardened street children. Sometimes the same centre works with children living on the street in the morning and then with the vulnerable community children in the afternoon after school .
- Have a high impact, for instance our Manenberg Drop-in centre is based in the middle of the most dangerous gangland in Cape Town. This centre works with about 20 children a day, more during the school holidays, equalling the Homestead helping 138 different children and their families each year the same centre engaging with about another 175 children each year on the local streets. Similarly The Homestead Khayelitsha Drop-in Centre works with 30 to 40 children each day and sometimes even up to 55 children during the Holiday period. This means hundreds of children are being protected and turned around from the street by The Homestead drop-in centres.
c) After School Care and Support programmes: The Homestead runs a specialised programme at a Site C school for 35 to 40 vulnerable children, pupils who have been identified by teachers and other pupils as traumatised, having difficulties and requiring immediate or ongoing therapeutic support. The Homestead ensures these children have a meal, are kept safe and complete therapeutic and life skills programmes necessary to help them cope with their very difficult family and com
munity realities. The Homestead After School Programme also works directly with the child’s families and refers both the child and their families out to specialised services when necessary. The success and impact of this programme, in helping to stabilise and protect vulnerable children, means more schools are requesting our service and the current school wants The Homestead to expand the programme for pupils from their lower grades.
work with children and their families as one.