An ongoing focus for Open Arms Infant Homes has been to support the next steps of older children who have been cared for by Open Arms since they were babies. It is a priority to make sure they are set up with the help they need to achieve an independent and fulfilling future of their own.
It has always been vital to support children to move back to families as soon as they are well enough and the team are committed to making this possible for all children welcomed. They worked closely with the Department of Social Welfare and local communities to make this possible for the children in Harrogate House.
It is not always an easy process though, especially with cases of abuse or abandonment which can need additional or more specialist support in remote communities.
Thanks to the hard work of our team and the ongoing improvements in our community work, we’re pleased to report that there have been no failed reintegration since this work started.
In 2019 Harrogate House was closed as a toddler home. The building is now a valuable onsite staff dormitory, offering the night shift staff their own private space so that adequate breaks can be taken away from the children.
Open Arms also have five family homes that have supported 25 children for most of their lives. In 2018, as the first child approached adulthood our team worked with these individuals to prepare their plans for the future based on their skills, interests and ambitions.
We are delighted that by the end of 2022 14 individuals have successfully moved on from Open Arms back to their families, extended families or into a permanent home of their own.
Each person is unique and so the support needed has to be completely holistic around their needs. Some children had close relationships with their immediate family and regularly visited them but for others it has taken time to identify relatives and family history.
In each case the bonds developed have been welcomed by the child and family members which have really fuelled this work.
Twenty year old Jackie grew up in one of the Family Houses at Open Arms after spending time being cared for in the Infant Homes. Along with her peers she was supported through school and attended after school clubs to pursue hobbies and interests. Academia was always a challenge due to a serious illness she suffered when she was very young but she enjoyed school and socialising with friends when she could.
Committed to supporting children within families
The best place for a child is with their family and we are committed to making sure that any intervention is as short as possible followed by longer term support, advice and monitoring in the community where needed. Empowering families and children to thrive in this way makes sure that the resources we have are used where the need is the greatest and it avoids the long term over reliance on aid. Your help and support mean that children can access help when needed while still achieving self sufficiency for a future of their own.
Your donation will help children in Malawi grow up healthy with the love of a familyDonate