For some children, coming to Homes of Hope is the first time in their short lives they have felt enough safety to begin to play freely.
They come from backgrounds of trauma, suffering from abuse and neglect. This abuse and neglect can have a serious impact on their development and can lead to mental health problems, learning problems, youth suicide, behavioral problems, alcohol and drug use, and homelessness.
Homes of Hope provides a place for these children to recover from their trauma. Here they receive the therapeutic care they so badly need, with wrap-around, comprehensive supports so that they can once again begin to thrive.
Support involves Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT), play therapy that provides a safe place where the child is able, through their language of play with the support of a trained specialist therapist professional, to test, explore and begin to make sense of their life experiences and to find a positive sense of self.
Wrap-around support for caregivers includes Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). This training provides neuro-scientifically based training to and for house parents and caregivers to ensure the most appropriate, responsive, and child-centered care for children, particularly those who are trauma-experienced.
Something unique about the Homes of Hope foster care service is it keeps siblings together and they are not moved from placement to placement whilst in care.
This stability and consistency of care is crucial to their healing journey and supports their transition to their forever homes, says Homes of Hope CEO and Co-founder Hilary Price.
“Our overall goal is to keep siblings together, restoring their health and wellbeing whilst their families and whānau are being supported to ultimately reunite them back into their whānau where possible or to find their forever home where they go together with their siblings.
“It is so important that we can provide the quality of care that these tamariki require. We are privileged and blessed to be able to care for these beautiful children who have had a difficult start to their short lives. Our kaitiaki responsibilities are to be able to make a tangible difference in their lives as they walk into their futures.”
Homes of Hope has had much to celebrate these past few months.
In July, a fourth home was built on their current site for up to six more children to stay at any one time. This means the charity can now care for up to 14 children at a time.
Hilary says the new home has been an incredible journey that has taken place over the past year with mahi from the community of Tauranga.
Hilary Price and TECT Trustee Peter Blackwell in front of the new house.
“This was led by Classic Builders and their community of tradespeople and contractors, Cashmore Real Estate, with the financial support of the Wright Family Foundation, Chaplain Gordon Parker, and many, many others. Several members of Classic Builders worked of their own accord on the project to get the home finished in time.
The children are now loving their new abode.
“Some of our current children of Homes of Hope who lived in the home next door, Rata, moved into the new home. They watched as it was built and took part in the blessing of the land, the naming of the new home, Kauri, along the final blessing of the home.
“When it was time to move, each child prepared to move and managed their own belongings from the one home right next door to the other. It was especially exciting times for them; they are feeling settled and very happy in their sparkling new home.”
Not only has the charity opened a new home for its children, but it has also received a big boost in funding, with $100,000 recently approved by TECT to go towards operating costs.
It brings the total received by TECT to over $1.5 million in funding, something Hilary says is vital for their work.
“This valuable funding from TECT will be used to assist with the salaries of key team members.
“Without this help, our homes would not receive the critical professional, and practical support needed to be able to deliver the quality of care we know is required if we are to see the children flourishing and the homes running as smoothly as they do.”
She says TECT’s generous funding and ongoing support assists Homes of Hope to provide consistent, ongoing high level of therapeutic care to the tamariki and support to the House Parents and Caregivers.
“This delivers positive and tangible outcomes for the children. TECT funding provides Homes of Hope with security and assurance of their community support and has been a part of our family of funders since 2004.
“We are incredibly fortunate and grateful to have the support of TECT over so many years; they have become such a supportive and valued member of our greater family. Having a funding partner who has seen us grow over the years, journeying with us, is a testimony to the fruits of a great partnership. Thank you, TECT!”
Hilary says they would like to ensure the new home and existing homes are available for children from hard places long into the foreseeable future.
“We would like to encourage the community to support our endowment fund, which has been set up with the Acorn Foundation, building towards a secure ongoing future.