Winburg Child and Youth Care Centre
Winburg Orphanage was founded during 1903. Rev. J.J.T. Marquard decided, with assistance from the Dutch Reformed Church and local community, to establish a home for war orphans. To this day the orphanage is still at Gillespie Street, Winburg where it was originally established. The first principal of the centre was Me. Murray. She started the orphanage with 11 children whose mothers had all died in concentration camps.
On request from the children, the name was changed from Winburg Orphanage to Winburg Children’s Home during 1966. During 1971 management decided that the buildings no longer complied with the needs of the children and thus decided to build a new complex which housed 164 children. As the new building progressed, the original building was demolished. During March 1973 the new building was inaugurated. During 2000 the name was once more changed to the Winburg Youth Care Centre.
From 1902 to 1905 a further three large orphanages were erected by the Dutch Reformed Church in the Free State: Ons Kinderhuis (220 children) in Bloemfontein, Charlotte Theron Kinderhuis (280 children) in Bethlehem, and Gedenk Kinderhuis (155 children) in Ladybrand. The functioning of these Children’s Homes was co-ordinated by the Synodal Commission of the Dutch Reformed Church of the Free State.
During 2000 this Commission had a look at models for the care of children placed in terms of the Children’s Act in order to ensure that the best interests of these children are served. This service had to be both effective and affordable and had to meet the needs of the children at an acceptable standard.
The Synodal Commission of the Dutch Reformed Church granted permission on the 29th August 2001 for the establishment of one governing body to liquidate existing assets in order to finance the proposed model.
On the 21st September 2001 the inaugural meeting for this governing body for the Free State Youth Care Centres was held. The model chosen was for the establishment of a therapeutic centre on the grounds of Ons Kinderhuis to provide care, education, development and treatment to 100 children with special needs. A further 600 children would be cared for in 50 de-centralized homes throughout the province. It was decided that approximately 12 children of both sexes and differing ages would be care for in each of these decentralised homes. Each centre would have a child care worker, general assistant, a relief child care worker and a part-time social worker. The motivation for this is as follows:
Less trauma during removal of children from their homes
Children who have been found to be in need of care and removed from their homes and referred to a children’s home are removed from their familiar environment and usually sent to another town. The grounds of a children’s home are large and intimidating for a young child. The child is not only removed from the parents, but from familiar people like their teachers, friends and neighbours. Brothers and sisters are placed in separate living units while in a decentralized youth care centre in the same town the child experiences far less disruption and gets to share a home with his/her siblings.
Increased parental involvement
Children were often placed hundreds of kilometres away from their homes which lead to further alienation as parents are unable to keep regular contact. Approximately 30% of parents do not keep contact with their children leading to feelings of rejection and inferiority. During recent years no more than 10 children from Winburg resided in the Winburg Children’s Home.
Children experience less stigmatisation in a youth care centre as they are not readily identified as children from a children’s home. Their home looks like any other in town and has no large identifying notice board. They also have a normal address and telephone number. When they interact with the community, it is no more obvious than a large family.
Better reconstruction services can be rendered
The wide distribution of youth care centres throughout the province ensures that children are placed closer to parents / family. Parents can more easily become involved in programmes and the same social worker can integrate her services to both the child and the parents. It has been established that family reconstruction is more successful under these circumstances. The Policy of the Free State has been adjusted so that social workers from the youth care centres can render family reconstruction services in the community themselves.
Increased community involvement
It is easier for a community to accept ownership of 12 children in a youth care centre in their midst. The children are amongst them and distance is no problem. The demands made by 12 children are considerably less than those of 164 children. “Holiday parents” are more accessible and available. Many more donations are received. Children are more readily invited out and involved in activities in the community because a small group is more manageable.
Improved social integration
Children from a youth care centre are more readily involved in church, school and social activities. Children from a large children’s home can make up a large percentage (up to 50%) of a school. Think of the effect of 164 children from the children’s home on the school in Winburg.
The children from a youth care centre socialise normally with children from normal families because these are just 12 children of differing ages and sexes. In larger children’s homes the children only socialise with each other and therefore no normal integration takes place with children from the community.
More effective equipping of the children with life skills takes place as they are more integrated in the activities of a normal family. They learn how to cook, garden, have hobbies, receive friends and even do shopping. Winburg children’s home had a large central kitchen from where the prepared meals were sent out to each living unit. These children could therefore never acquire the necessary culinary skills. In a decentralized youth care centre it is not unusual for a boy to prepare pancakes for the family.
Establishing of values and norms
Healthy values and norms can more easily be established when the child care worker teaches the children right from wrong. Because the group is small, the influence of the community is greater.
Distribution of resources takes place
Although the youth care centre is a home to 12 children, it also fulfills two other important functions:
- It can act as a Place of Safety for children in a crisis situation, e.g. when a child suddenly has to be removed at night. Each youth care centre has a crisis room.
- Services can also be rendered to children from the community. The nature of the services can vary widely. Food provision for hungry children from the community often takes place. Children from the community also take part in social, spiritual and developmental programmes at the youth care centre.
Before decentralisation took place, there was no other option but to place children of different languages and cultures in the same children’s home. The children all attended the same church for practical reasons. Children from the youth care centres are now placed where their own cultural needs can best be accommodated. Currently children in Winburg Youth Care Centres speak Afrikaans and Sotho. They now attend various churches e.g. A.F.M., Makelaketla Christian Congregation and the Dutch Reformed Church.
Political, economic and demographic tendencies have had a strong influence when the Winburg Orphanage was established. Winburg was the capital city of the Free State. This changed a long time ago. The children’s home housed very few children from Winburg and the Goldfields had a desperate need for their own children’s home.
Very good co-operation is forthcoming from the Department of Social Development and it was decided that the subsidy would in future be paid out in a lump sum to the governing body. This way of financing implies that the programme and not individual children are subsidised.
Winburg Youth Care Centre is represented by messrs H.S. Kok, H.S. Buys and G.J. Nel on the provincial governing body. Mr. Kok was chosen as vice chairman.
During 2005 the implementation in Winburg became a reality. Two houses, Huis Diamant and Huis Smarag, were established for the accommodation of 15 boys and girls in each. The children are all younger than 18 years and represents different cultures. The upgraded houses have been separately fenced and were occupied in September 2006. We are currently registered with the Department of Social Development as a youth care centre for 30 children.
The children assisted in the move from the large building to the two smaller homes. The child care workers then were me. Martie Bothma, Mabel Mogorosi and Hester Calitz. The social worker was me. Anita Barnard.
The management amended the constitution and business plan in order to monitor the process of decentralisation and transformation. The chairman was Mr. Schalk Kok, who had the distinction of serving on the governing body since 1971 and, with the assistance of other, has recorded the history of the Winburg Children's Home. Mr. Kok passed away in 2012.
Pastor Petrus Mooi was the first person of colour to serve on the governing body. His Christian philosophy ensured that the process of transformation went smoothly.
We receive a monthly subsidy from the Department of Social Development which covers approximately 60% of the running costs. Thanks to the involvement and support of the Winburg community and the two Dutch Reformed Churches in Odendaalsrus, we are able to meet all our financial commitments.
The motto of the youth care centre is “The Lord shall provide” and we have indeed experienced this over the past 100 years. The emblem of the youth care centre comprises a combination of an anchor and a cross. The anchor represents steadfastness and the cross is a symbol of Christianity.
Involvement of the community
We receive help with money for Alfred who is studying to become a teacher.
At present the centre receives in kind donations of vegetables and maize meal. There is a desperate need for meat, milk and bread. It is a big challenge to stay within the food budget.
Toys like balls are always in need.
Winburg Child and Youth Care Centre regularly produce children who are good in sport. 8 children take part in Judo and 3 participated in the SA Championships. One child represents the province in yokepin. Sponsors are needed to enable participation in sports events.
Huis Diamant and Huis Smarag
Tel: 051 – 881 0013 Tel: 051 – 881 0252
P.O. Box 70
Child care worker: Sylvia Salvier and Marie Louw
Relief child care worker: Mabel Mogonosi
Assistents: Tsidi Jafta en Meriam Rantsatsi
Chairman: Mr. Petrus Pienaar
Chairman: Mr. Louis Heyns
Chairman: Me. Isabel Nel