CRC Director Olivia Fonnie and the case managers have been participating in the Trust Based Relationship Intervention course to help them become better child welfare professionals and caregivers for vulnerable children and youth. The TBRI course is currently being offered online for free by the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development, so the CRC is taking advantage of the opportunity to gain critical skills. Karyn Purvis, an internationally renowned child development expert and passionate advocate for vulnerable children created this curriculum to train professionals who work in a variety of caregiving contexts, including foster homes, residential settings, court rooms and classrooms. So far, seven of the CRC case managers have participated in the coursework to earn TBRI certification.
1MILLIONHOME/HCW Family Reunification Workshop
HCW, 1MILLIONHOME and the Sierra Leone Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs (MSWGCA) are collaborating to hold a reintegration/transition workshop for orphanage directors, child welfare program leaders, and government officials from West Africa.
The workshop will be held in Freetown in Fall 2020. Program Development Director Laura Horvath describes the event as a hands-on workshop designed to equip participants with the tools they need to begin their own transition from institutional to family-based care, as recommended by the United Nations. (Read more about family reintegration here.)
MSWGCA Minister Mabinty Tarawallie will host a nationwide meeting with all registered child protection organizations to encourage attendance at the 1MILLIONHOME/HCW workshop. The CRC will be highlighted as a trailblazer in the movement to reintegrate children with their family of birth or a foster family.
Collaboration with Street Child to rescue abandoned children
The CRC staff have been collaborating with Street Child to provide interim care for abandoned children while their families are traced and prepared for reintegration. Street Child has a long history in Sierra Leone providing short term and emergency care to homeless children. "I am very excited about the CRC taking the lead to work side by side to get children off the streets, Child Welfare Programs Liaison Mohamed Nabieu says. "The MSW Minister's goal is to take 1,000 kids off the streets by the end of this year, and she would be working with the CRC to support her goal."
The CRC continues to build a robust case management system, hiring additional case managers to effectively and efficiently monitor the welfare of children and families.
CRC mentors orphanages transitioning to family care
The CRC is launching a Deinstitutionalization department focused on helping orphanages transition from residential to family care. Led by long time CRC team member David Musa, the DI Department will assess an organization's readiness for transition, teach the organization how to develop a transition plan, and coach their staff through the process. The DI Department will coach orphanages on safe, collaborative, and sustainable family reintegration, as well as family strengthening and sustainability.
The Child Reintegration Centre announced the promotion of Henry Kebbie to Sponsor A Child Coordinator. Since 2017, Henry Kebbie has served the CRC ably as Assistant Coordinator. With the departure of program lead Joseph "JJ" Junisa, who has joined his wife in London, the CRC leadership unanimously agreed that Henry should step into the leadership role.
Henry is an alumnus of the CRC who was enrolled in the Child Support Program in 2000 as a child from a vulnerable family. Always a gifted and determined student, Henry earned a Promise Scholarship to study social work at Njala University. In 2017, Henry graduated with a bachelors degree in social work and was immediately hired by the CRC to assist the SAC program and perform case management duties.
Henry says that working at the CRC is a fulfillment of his life goal to help children with backgrounds like his own. "As a social worker, since I have a passion for helping children, I am also creating an impact in their life. It was my dream to help poor children. Being a social worker, you can work anywhere, helping children and the needy."
The father of a young daughter, Henry has a natural rapport with the CRC children. He enjoys every opportunity to connect the students with their sponsors. "Whenever the children come for letter writing I have so much fun with them. When sponsors visit and we go on home visits, the time we spend with them helps me to know most of the students’ homes," Henry says.
Henry is grateful to work for an organization with faith at the core of the mission. "One of my favorite things about working at the CRC is that we start every day with devotion, bringing the grace of God into our lives before we start working," he says.