A Child Protection Agency ito the Children’s Act, Bethany House provides a number of specialized programs for orphaned and vulnerable children and children at risk:
o Child & Youth Development Centre – Monument: This center, located across a number of residential properties, has been operational since October 1999. It accommodates 60 children whose ages range from birth up to 18 years. The aim of Bethany House is to break the cycle of abuse in the child’s life and facilitate healing and re-integration into the community as a productive member of society. Following a holistic approach, the physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs of child victims are met. Teenagers also participate in an independent living program to prepare them for life outside the children’s home.
o Boikhutso Cluster Foster Care: This program makes provision for a family to provide alternative care for up to six (6) children who are not their biological children. The Bethany House Trust provides psycho-social support to these families whilst assisting them to create an enabling environment for the children.
o Centre of Learning: A range of parenting programs focusing on the needs of alternative care were developed in our Centre of Learning. Through these programs we equip prospective foster and adoptive parents with the skills necessary for alternative parenting. The “Khulisani Abantwana Bethu” (Raise our children!) program has empowered many parents willing to look after children in need of a safe home. The program is recognized by MONASH (SA) as a short course. We believe that one of the primary solutions to house the millions of “aids orphans” in Africa will be through homes such as these. Our success rate with placements is 98% compared to the industry average of 35%. That means that in only 2% of the cases where we placed a child with one of our trained parents, will the placement fail.
o Dream Box: Realizing the dreams and aspirations of the children in our residential care program is very important to us. In order to help them discover their own, unique talents, an educator assists them with homework and school assignments.
o Child Protection Services (CPS):
Schools Interventions: The program is registered as a “victim empowerment program” with the Department of Social Development and provides psycho-social services to children who are in West Rand based schools, to children who have to testify in criminal court proceedings (court preparation) and post-testimony counseling to children who has already testified in criminal court proceedings. The timely treatment of trauma in children’s lives is critical to ensure healthy minds.
Intermediary Services for Child Witnesses: To minimize trauma to child victims of crime who have to testify in criminal court proceedings, we provide trained intermediaries (social workers) to accompany the child witness to court and act as mediator between the child and the court. We provide services to Magistrates Courts on the West Rand and have acted on behalf of more than 3 000 child witnesses. Research findings from this project were presented at a number of international conferences and were also published internationally.
Crisis Line: This telephonic service operates throughout South Africa as a child abuse advice and referral service. It is widely used by parents and caregivers alike who are in need of advice on the child abuse management system. The cell phone emergency service providers regularly patch crisis calls through to us ranging from family violence to child abductions.
Reality Check: This intervention offers a substance abuse prevention program to learners at schools in the West Rand and Soweto regions. In addition to the prevention program, learners who test positively for a banned substance are referred into our diversion program to prevent them from entering the formal criminal justice system.
Investigations: A specialized investigations unit responds to and investigates cases of alleged sexual abuse, cases of pedophilia, child sex networks and occult related crimes. These cases are investigated in conjunction with the South African Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority.