I remember it like yesterday, scrolling through my Facebook feed and feeling embraced with the spirit of gratitude as I read a post that a friend of mine was tagged in. “The WARD families offered up their time to come and sing Christmas carols to our children and spend quality time with them.”
Then a couple of months later another post popped up in my feed. This time shared by my friend, a request for financial donations to help cover the rising medical costs of one of the children placed at the safe home. I felt gutted! Here was this couple, providing emergency safe placement for very young children in need of immediate love, care and protection having to ASK for financial assistance to pay for the medical needs of a baby that’s been placed in their care through legal intervention.
I felt gutted because not only did this family worry about this baby, but they also had the added financial stress that came with the placement of a child requiring medical intervention and specialised support.
Money is not something that a safety parent should have to worry about. Their key priority is to provide the child/ren with unconditional love and care until such time that a suitable foster care family is identified.
The wealth of this world can be found in the kindness that we extend to others.
Today I met with Janine and Deon, I visited Hannah’s Place of Safety. I sat on their couch and I listened to their story. Two hours of listening to a mother with a heart so big that she stepped out of the corporate world after decades of service to realise her dream of providing a safe place for children in need of emergency placement.
Janine took a very bold step. She worked really hard and sacrificed tremendously throughout her career, with her husband and her family to ensure that they’d not have this mountain of debt hanging over their heads when they took this big step; opening the family home to children.
Looking from the outside in it may look like there are no needs. But believe me when I tell you that the system is a beast!
I’ve worked in the sector long enough to know this, and reputable organisations like Hannah’s Place of Safety needs all the financial aid that they can get. This is EMERGENCY SAFETY PLACEMENT. Meaning, the children that are placed with Janine and Deon are children that require immediate intervention. With this, there is no tick-box as to who you can/cannot accept. If you have space you have space. A child is a child. Once placed in your care you do whatever you can to ensure that child’s needs are seen to, no matter what!
Hannah’s Place of Safety provides for children from all over Cape Town, and their ages range from as young as a few weeks up to 6 years. Their placement can be anything from 48 hours to 3 months (sometimes longer). During this time Janine and Deon not only cares for the children, but they also try their best to find suitable foster families for the little ones in their care. Potential foster care families are then vetted and processed by the department of social development for suitability.
It’s been almost two years since Janine and Deon started Hannah’s Place of Safety, and during this period they’ve assisted 25 vulnerable children! I’m not going to go into the detail of the reasons behind why these 25 children needed immediate emergency care and protection. I ask you to trust me when I say that they protected, and continues to protect and help heal, these children from atrocities that no child, or anyone for that matter, should ever have to face!
Hannah’s Place of Safety is based in Mitchell’s Plain Cape Town, a registered NPO with the department of social development and their banking details can be viewed by clicking here.
And whilst my son would love for me to adopt an actual child and whilst I know I said I am going off the people grid, I can’t help but feel inspired by the difference that Janine and Deon is making in the lives of these children. I don’t have money, but I do have my littlest corner on the internet where I can help spread the word of the amazing work and hopefully encourage individuals, organisations and businesses to consider making a financial contribution to Hannah’s Place of Safety or alternatively connect with Janine and Deon if you would like to know more about how to become a Foster Parent.
This is me, digitally adopting Hannah’s Place of Safety.