Kids Haven is a care center for children and adolescents created on October 27, 1992 to care for and protect street children, those with street connection behaviors and children in crisis in the Ekurhuleni region and beyond. .
The main center is located in the CBD of Benoni.
“Every child has the right to basic nutrition, shelter, health care and support, but they also have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, abuse and harm,” said Don Mofokeng, Head of Kids’ Pre- and After-Care Community Services Program. Haven.
“At Kids Haven, we take the protection of children seriously. We see it as the fundamental starting point for a child’s development. If a child is afraid, vulnerable, and insecure, that child is not easily able to grow, play, learn and thrive. Plus, we help kids with challenging behaviors, ”said Sam Mokgopha, CEO of Kids Haven.
Kids Haven has community workers who reach out to street children to build trust and build a relationship with them.
“Then we support them and help them participate in our ‘intake program’ where we conduct assessments, refer them to statutory services for admission to care or reintegrate them into their families,” Mofokeng said.
“Those with serious drug problems are referred to Sanca for specialized services. Once they have been helped through drug rehabilitation, Kids Haven then intervenes with other counseling, life skills, education and other recreational programs.
“When they’re fully recovered and rebounded in life, we then reunite them with their families or prepare them for an independent living program. “
With many children struggling with drug re-life, Kids Haven is also dealing with runaways.
“We contact them and encourage them to come back. We have therapy programs, recreation programs and life skills. We refer them to a rehabilitation center if the problem persists, ”Mokgopha said.
According to the center, an average of 11 children run away per year.
“This includes all children with difficult behaviors and not necessarily all drug addicted children. However, we do not have so much the problem of leakage. Others disappear in such a way that we cannot even trace their whereabouts anymore because they do not return to their families or to the places from which they were expelled after their flight, ”Mofokeng said.
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Kids Haven does a lot to help children who come to them or are found by them.
“We put them in our various programs, whether it is the life skills program, gender-based violence, men and boys, therapy and sport. We also encourage their exposure to other ways of life so that they can see other alternatives in life.
The center has faced many different addictions such as children who smoked nyaope, benzene, dagga and cocaine, with dagga being the most popular as it is easily accessible to street children, followed by nyaope.
“Some children even started with alcoholic disinfectants,” Mofokeng said.
“Drug addicted children have serious behavioral issues, such as breaking Kids Haven rules, stealing items inside to sell outside, violence, disrespecting staff. Some even create gangs inside to steal or intimidate other children. “
They even had situations of children trying to bring drugs into the center.
“We have cases of drug smuggling, mostly dagga, but we have isolated cases where they bring in hard drugs like cocaine. We search their bags and clothes when they come back from school or activities outside the center, ”Mokgopha said.
“In one incident, we discovered that a leader was bringing in and sending other people to bring drugs inside whenever they were outside Kids Haven.
“We focused on providing more specific therapy and other life skills programs. We also monitor them 24/7 to make sure they no longer have access to medication. For those who bring drugs to the center, all privileges are taken away from them. “
Addiction is a big problem in the world right now, and Kids Haven is just a center doing its best to save young people.
“If you think your child may have a problem, watch and observe your children’s behavior, eating habits, and if any items are stolen or go missing in the house,” Mofokeng said.
“They become withdrawn, depressed, less motivated, calm, hostile, angry, uncooperative, deceptive, secretive and unable to concentrate or spend a lot of time sleeping and, moreover, signs of a sudden loss of power. inhibitions, hyperactive and / or unusually elated, will pick it up for you quite easily.
“If you’ve just found out or have reason to believe that your child is using drugs, the first thing to do is sit down and prepare for the important conversation ahead. The most important thing you can do first is just listen to your child.
“Your child may not be ready to speak, and if you find that this may be the case, prepare a list of specific questions about their recent behaviors. Ask why he / she went out late, who he / she spent time with and where he / she was when he / she comes home smelling the smoke.
“Ask when the substance use started and how exactly does he get the drugs or alcohol. Is he / she under pressure from someone?
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Mokgopha added, “Consider professional help sooner. We know that drugs and alcohol affect teens differently than at any other age. We also know, however, that drug addiction in adolescents and young adults can be treated successfully.
“If you think your teenager is addicted to drugs, see a social service agency or Sanca may be the next step. Early intervention is essential to maintain health and well-being and help her adopt a sober, drug-free lifestyle in the future.
“One of the most important things to remember is that you shouldn’t wait until your child becomes dependent before asking for help. Discovering the first signs of drug or alcohol abuse in your teen will be the best time to act.
“It’s never too early to talk to your teen about their drug use habits, and never too early to seek the help of addiction professionals.