Reuniting with family ...

Here at The Footprints Family we not only provide a secure safe and loving home for our rescued vulnerable children but we are constantly trying to find family and relatives. We now have an aftercare programme in place that Mama Kerry and the Social Workers are involved with, trying to reintegrate children back with family. UNICEF has, for a while now, instructed institutions to consider, where possible, safe and practical, placing children back into their community with a family member if possible with support from the organisation that they were in. As such, we have set up Mama Kerry's Alternative Care Programme. The Children's Home continues but this helps children who may have a family member, where the environment is safe and where we can support them within their community and culture to return back to the family they are from. The social worker team identify a child who has a relative and councils that child as to whether they would like to return to their community and culture. A site visit is carried out and lengthy talks with the family member.

Firstly, we make regular visits to ensure that our transition criteria are met and complied with. We provide a food parcel on a regular basis, medical cover, education and pastoral care. This process is entirely reversible should we feel the child is not getting the care and support they need. However, it has become more and more prevalent from research done, that certain, carefully selected children, can in fact make a transition back to their community with such support. This does not mean that we place any child back into ANY dangerous situation. We constantly monitor.

Tumani, is our first child to return to her community under our home-based programme where she has a grandmother and uncle. Tumani herself was keen to return, and after lots of counselling, discussion, site visit etc., she returned. As UNICEF say "Poverty is not a reason for being in a children's home", and however different the lifestyle is to what you or I might be familiar to, and indeed the lifestyle she has at The Footprints Family, her blood-ties and community are also very important.

Here are some of the latest pictures of us visiting Tumani. No, the environment is not like Footprints, the bed being made is for Tumani as her grandmother had given Tumani her own bed and was sleeping on the floor on sacks. Tumani is happy and well, and of course under our regular monitoring, evaluation and support.

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