Through its Reintegration Program, SCAI traces, re-connects and reintegrates children back into their families or communities
SCAI strongly believes that being with one’s biological family wherever possible is a vitally important factor in a child’s physical, mental and emotional well-being and healthy development. A considerable amount of research has shown that long-term separation of a child from its family can have long term psychosocial impact. Not only is a child likely to feel lonely, rejected and have a low self esteem, a child who is separated at a young age is much more likely to commit crime, have drug and alcohol issues, sexual issues, have greater trouble trusting and developing close relationships or reaching their full potential when they are older.
How our support helps
SCAI helps the child and family through all stages of the reunification process, at the pace that is most suitable for the child. SCAI strives first to trace the families of the children in our Family-Based Care Home if they have lost contact with them, then after conducting an assessment of the family, re-connect them. Depending on the location and situation of the family, this is usually done initially over the phone or face to face at our Sunrise Home so the child continues to feel safe and well supported by familiar carers during what is usually a very exciting time, but one which can also be met with a degree of caution from the child.
Following that, we encourage regular contact, and after establishing their home environment is safe, we usually start by sending them to their homes for visits during school and festival holidays whenever possible. This helps both the child and family re-familiarise themselves with each other and strengthen family bonds. It also helps the child become re-accustomed to their local community and surrounding networks.
When the family confirms they are willing to take the child home and the child is happy to go, and we are satisfied that it is in their best interest, the children return to their families. Not all children have parents to go to, so “family” usually includes older siblings aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents or other relatives. In rare cases when a child has no extended family to go to, we aim to find the child a foster family they can bond with.
Many of the children SCAI has supported have not had parents to return to, so it has been very encouraging to see so many older siblings and extended family stepping into the role of primary guardian and providing the children a nurturing family home.
What support we provide post reintegration
In most cases the older siblings or extended family who take over the care of the children are also of limited means, so to enable the children to join the family, help minimise pressure on the child and family and enable a smoother transition, SCAI continues to provide education and some other basic support as needed, until they are capable of managing themselves. This also helps ensure they are not separated again.
- School materials including uniforms, shoes, bags, books, stationary, fees, tuition
- Short-term support for basic needs such as medical care, clothing, toiletries
- Rent assistance and basic household goods
Psychological and social support
- Regular visits to the children’s school or college to discuss each child’s progress with their teachers and to meet with the children
- Regular visits to the children’s homes to monitor the living conditions, assess their progress and provide counselling and support as needed
- Family counselling to address issues of individual members or family relationships
- Support for parents and guardians to share their issues, express their views, learn about their child’s development, risks they may face, opportunities they have and provide feedback about the program and their experience
- Life skills, career guidance and other workshops and training to help equip them for their future
- Sunrise Youth Club, which empowers the youth by building their confidence, creating a local peer support network, giving them a forum to be heard and participate in the community through volunteer work and various other activities (Read more about SCAI’s Youth Empowerment programs)
SCAI has reintegrated 84% of children in our full time care back into their families.