New care centre for 'problem children' already reaping awards

2016-05-18 09:08
Emmasdal Child and Youth Care Centre in Heidelberg (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Emmasdal Child and Youth Care Centre in Heidelberg (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

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Heidelberg - Just over a year ago, the Gauteng government opened a care centre for youth from broken homes, with learning disabilities and criminal records.

Already the Emmasdal Child and Youth Care Centre in Heidelberg has a pupil who successfully completed the programme to Grade 12. The centre caters for girls only and currently has 16 pupils.

Emmasdal head, Rachel Human, said the school accepted any girl declared in need of care by the Commissioner of Child Welfare in terms of the Children’s Act.

“We help any children with severe circumstances who may feel unwanted by their families,” Human said.

She was speaking during a visit to the centre by Gauteng Premier David Makhura and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Tuesday.

“We have an obligation and moral duty to help these children to become the best they can possibly be. We don’t give up on them,” Makhura said.

He said they needed to support such schools more, to help children.

Human said the purpose of the school was to help children be reunited with their families.

It admitted any child between the ages of 12 to 18 was considered at risk. Girls were sent there after being referred by the police's Child Protection Unit, a Children's Court, or a social worker.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura and his delegation visit the Emmesdal Child and Youth Care Centre. (Iavan Pijoos, News24)

Nearby was the JW Luckhoff Child and Youth Care Centre for boys. Two of its pupils had been admitted to university.

“One of our brightest learners is doing his Grade 12 and we are hoping for a bursary from the department of education,” said the centre’s head, Thabo Maila.

The rooms at Emmasdal had just enough space for a single bed and a small cupboard. There was increasing demand for space at the school as parents sought help for their children.

However, there was not enough money to expand and renovate the school and there was a dire need for more teachers and social workers.

Human said Emmasdal was doing well, but they struggled to get some of the families to take their children back.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  youth

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