About Us

Sedibeng Children’s Haven’s story

Sedibeng Children’s Haven, as we know it today, had humble beginnings in a small house in Market Street, Vereeniging. 

Here is our story which started in 1999/2000 when the Vereeniging Rotary Club, in consultation of the Child Protection Unit of the SAPS, identified an unacceptable situation pertaining to the investigation of child molestation and abuse cases.  The Rotary Club of Vereeniging and Three Rivers raised sufficient funds to enable them to renovate the property adjoining the Clinic in Market Street, Vereeniging.

The intention of those involved in the project was to create a facility which would serve as a special criminal charge office, medical examination centre, a temporary place of safety and an investigation office manned by the Child Protection Unit.

Aspects of the investigation procedure involving children, at the time, were found inadequate in several respects.  Juvenile victims of abuse were often brought to the stark, unfriendly central Police charge office where complaints were lodged and dockets opened in the same manner, and in the same environment, as those for murder, housebreaking, drunken driving and other crimes.  The child victim was thereafter, in certain instances, returned to the place where the crime had been committed and to which the perpetrator had easy access.

It was felt that this unhealthy situation could not be allowed to perpetuate.

In July 2000 the Rotary Club and Local Authority entered into a lease agreement.  The renovations and building operations thereafter proceed in earnest.  No expense was spared and the building was made fit for the purpose for which it was intended.

The Rotary Club funded training of members of the uniformed branch of the SAPS.  The course was presented by the local university and was designed to prepare charge office staff to deal with juvenile complainants, more particularly, in molestation matters.

Unfortunately when the first phase of the building operations neared completion, the Child Protection Unit indicated that it was not in a position to fund the day to day expenses of the Haven.  The Rotary Club, in terms of their prescribed constitution, are not entitled to take ownership, or permanent management, of a particular project.  They are obliged, on realisation of an object, to transfer management and control thereof to a responsible body.

In 2001, the Local Council for Child Welfare then stepped in and took occupation of the premises.  It was believed that they would then take over the management role in consultation with the Child Protection Unit.  This appeared to be the only means to bring the Haven into practical operation without further delay.

Unfortunately, it became increasingly obvious that Child Welfare is logistically unable to properly run and pilot the facility in the direction which was envisaged.  The Haven became nothing more than a home for destitute children.

It was during this time that our late Reverend Barry Boyd learned that the Haven had fallen on bad times and visited the house in Market Street.  That day, he was there long enough to know that three small children had been added to the number of children already living there.  Their vulnerability, distress and innocence touched him deeply and he was resolved that he will fight and fight to keep the doors of the house of love open.

Reverend Boyd was determined never to repeat the whispers of defeat.  He felt that love should not be tainted by pessimism or weariness.  His vision was that children should be presented with the reality of the fact that the world is not just an abusive place.

Reverend Boyd made an appeal to the community and local businesses.  A group of entrepreneurs took charge and established a Section 21 company as a vehicle to manage and develop the Haven.  Sedibeng Children’s Haven was born and was officially opened on 2 June 2002. It is because of Rev Barry Boyd’s appeal to the community, that Sedibeng Children’s Haven, as we know it today, is a caring, warm and welcoming place for children in need of care and protection.

After obtaining quotes to renovate the original house proved too expensive, it was decided to look for alternative premises in a more desirable and safer environment.  Eventide Old Age Home was kind enough to offer Sedibeng Children’s Haven the use of one of their unused building at nominal rental.  The building, with the help of numerous generous donations was revamped and the result is the Haven as we have it today.  This building was officially opened on 12 October 2008.

The Haven was reinstated as a viable facility in favour of the community of the Vaal Triangle.  All the children housed at the Haven are classified as “children in need of care and protection” as defined in The Child Care Act, 34 of 2005, as amended.

Children of all races, cultures and religions receive care, treatment and protection at the Haven.  Children identified by the Child Protection Unit and relevant Welfare organisations are housed during the children’s court investigation and transition procedures.

Approximately 337 children have already passed through the Haven.  These children have all benefited from the positive environment and specialised assistance provided by the Haven.

 What does Sedibeng Children’s Haven offer

1. Accommodation                                                  

The state of the art facility has a well kept communal area which consists of an open plan TV Room/Play Room, Dining Room (which doubles as a study) and Study Room.   

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 A Full Kitchen, pantry, laundry and store rooms help to meet the children’s basic needs with regards to food and clean clothes.

The Haven has three sections where the children sleep – toddlers, boys and girls.  Each section has its own bathroom facilities.  The toddler and boys section are separated by burglar gates.  Two children share a bedroom.  Children are placed according to their needs, gender and age. 

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The children enjoy playing outside in our three play areas.  Being on the premises of Eventide Old Age Home, the children enjoy the open space in front of Sedibeng Children's Haven to play cricket, soccer and other games.

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The Haven's social worker has an office and a trauma room which is used for therapy and individual sessions with children.

2. Children in need of care and protection

Children between the ages 2 to 14 years old, from all walks of life, gender, culture and religion are placed at the Haven.  We endeavour to make the child’s stay at the Haven as comfortable as possible by creating a homely and safe environment.

Besides catering for the children’s physical and emotional needs, we strive to create a structured/safe environment.  We promote children’s overall development (i.e. self-esteem, emotional wellness, sense of belonging, social skills and academic progress). Our children enjoy social trips, attend school sports, cultural activities and are encouraged to attend church and Sunday school. All of these activities are arranged and attended by our dedicated staff led by our Social Worker/Manager.

The children use bus transport and attend local schools.

3. Involvement of the biological parents 

The involvement of the biological parents are encouraged and supported as long as it remains in the best interest of the child.

The biological parents must discuss all visits with the Designated Social Worker.   Only biological parents are allowed to visit (in exceptional cases visits from other family members can be arranged with the Designated Social Worker who informs the Manager of the Haven).  The children are not allowed to leave the Haven without permission from the Designated Social Worker as well as the Manager of the Haven.

4. Social work services

The Haven’s Social Worker/Manager has an advisory role towards the child care worker to enable them to deal with the children's behaviour and day to day care.  Children’s progress, behaviour and needs are discussed on a regular basis and feedback is regularly given to the Designated Social Worker.                               

Discussions are regularly held with the Designated Social Worker, the biological parents and the child care workers.  At such discussions, the child's behaviour as well as the future plan of action is discussed.

5. The Board of Management

Sedibeng Children’s Haven has a Board of Management consisting of seven members.  Board members are offering their services voluntarily.  The members background various from financial, business, legal and medical expertise. 

Board of Management meeting is held once a month to discuss issues regarding the running of the Haven, fundraising and the care of the children.  The members are very involved and are passionate in providing a good services to the children we look after.

6. The employees

The Haven has a qualified Social Worker who is also the Manager in conjunction with the Board Members.  All admissions and movement of children has to be discussed with the Manager. 

The qualified Social Worker/Manager, along with our trained care givers, ensures that each child’s situation is individually assessed and monitored. Our child care workers are regularly evaluated and trained to improve their skills and in doing so, benefit the children placed at the Haven.

The Haven employs six permanent child care worker who work shifts and four relievers.  

 

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