When an identified Hungarian victim wants to return home he/she must be aware of the opportunities in Hungary. According to the Act CXXXV of 2005 on Crime Victim Support and State Compensation, and the Government Decree No 354/2012 of 13 December 2012 on the identification system of victims of human trafficking, victims receive information and are entitled to Victim Support Services (e.g. immediate financial support, psychological and legal help) and if necessary they are guided to shelters or to bodies providing healthcare. The Hungarian foreign missions and Consulate Services have information about the numerous ways of getting financial, legal and psychical support, how to get home, who the main contacts are, etc.
Overview of the Hungarian child protection system
Children are a special vulnerable group, especially if they are victims. The protection of the interests and rights of the children is very important for Hungary.
- Child Protection Act (Act No. XXXI on the Protection of Children and the Administration of Public Guardianship)
- Government Decree Ne 149/1997 (IX.10) on the guardianship authorities and the child protection and guardianship procedure.
In the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, (New York, 1989), the primary goal of the Child Protection Act (CPA.) is to protect the rights of children under the age of 18.
The switch of perspectives, consisting of bringing the child and the family to the forefront of child welfare and protection and emphasizing the importance of preventive, local care and social work, was not only reflected in legislation.
An important section of the law provides that the child may not be taken away from his/her family on the grounds of insufficient material or financial conditions, and that instead, the family should be assisted to take ‘good enough’ care of their children so as to eliminate the factors endangering the child, research conducted in this area suggests that the poverty of the parents.
Aims of this Act:
- Protect children's rights and validate their interests,
- promote the fulfilment of parental responsibilities,
- prevent and reduce the risk which children face,
- replace the lack of parental care,
- help to integrate those youngsters who are outside of the child protection system.
The Act provides for the best interests of the child (children's social rights: the family environment, subsidiary protection of the law enforcement)
- the right of a child to be raised in his/her own family (Article 18)
- special protection against child abuse and neglect (Article 19)
- substitute/alternative care for children, Periodic review of child placement (Article 20).
The Child Protection Act covers:
- Children, young adults and their parents who are Hungarian citizens residing in Hungary,
- children, young adults and their parents who are permanent residents, immigrants or recognized by the Hungarian authorities as refugees, stateless persons, or provided subsidiary protection status,
- unaccompanied minor children who have applied for asylum, except for unaccompanied minor children between the age of 14 and 18 who applied for asylum during the crisis caused by mass migration,
- EU citizens with freedom of movement and who reported their residency more than three months previously, and who have registered place of residence,
- protection of children who are not of Hungarian nationality (Temporary Placement scope, assigning guardian),
- guardianship cases involving children, young adults and their parents who reside outside of Hungary, personal law is to be governing based on international treaties or other legislation.
The Child Protection Act clearly separates the official/authority work and service:
- The official/ authority work which is carried out by the guardianship authority:
- decisions affecting the fate of the child and the family – separation from the family
- appointment of a guardian,
- the adoption decision - what work (notary, guardianship);
- services mean the different types of services to eligible families and children in need.
The Child Protection Act also separates two types of services:
- child welfare benefits which are available for all families
- child protection benefits for those children who are separated from their families.
NGOs, religious organizations and individual entrepreneurs are involved in the operation of the child protection system at state and municipal level.
Up to 2012, the Hungarian child protection system was a combination of community and institutional services. Community services included family help centers, child welfare services as well as child protection services and the guardianship authority in public administration. Institutional services were provided by child protection institutions as well as special homes for children with disabilities and behavioral or mental problems. Overall, the Hungarian child protection system was headed and supervised by the child protection department of the State Secretariat for social affairs of the Ministry of Human Capacities until 2012. However, upon the amendment on 8 December 2012 to Act XXXI of 1997 on the Protection of Children and the Administration of Guardianship, the Hungarian child protection system went through a process of reform and centralization, bringing child protection and other specialized intuitions under state governance from the municipalities. A new, national authority, the Directorate-General of Social Affairs and Child Protection, was established to coordinate child protection institutions. During the reform process between 2012-2014, the emphasis shifted from institutionalization to placing children (especially between the ages of 0-12) with adoptive families.
Child care system provides:
- cash/in-kind services
- primary child welfare services
- child protection specialist services
- official/authority work
- juvenile in correction institute
- tasks of other authorizations (helper for families, police, education and institutes, Victim Support Service, NGOs).
Children are protected:
- with cash, in-kind and personal care services,
- with primary child welfare services
- and with child protection specialist services, as well as regulatory measures defined in the Child Protection Act.
Cash and in-kind services
The financial and in-kind benefits aim to prevent and reduce the types of financial risk to children and prevent the child being separated from his/her family because of its poor financial situation:
- Regular child protection allowance
- Providing meals for children (at institutions – for free or at a discounted price)
- Extraordinary child protection support
- Child maintenance payments
- Housing assistance
- Textbook support, education supplies, tuition assistance, price must be paid for health care, etc.
(The local government can provide detailed information about the cash and in-kind benefits, especially child welfare services and the district social agencies operating etc.)
Primary child welfare services
The objective of primary child welfare services is to provide services for children and their families in their homes, which prevents the development of risks, assists with the elimination of existing risks, and supports the physical, mental, emotional and moral development and welfare of children, and their education within families. These services are available on a voluntary basis.
The child welfare services include:
- continuous monitoring of the social situation of children living in the settlement, in danger,
- listen to children’s problems and take the necessary steps to remedy the situation,
- on a service level, contribute to the targeted and approved distribution of ad hoc or regular allowances in kind,
- facilitates the child protection activities of educational institutions,
- if the guardianship authority decides to separate a child, child welfare service prepares a child protection plan in care and education, and provide the family care required,
- operates of the
- offers support and advice to pregnant women in crisis situation and helps them to access to social and basic child welfare services, especially regarding services offered by temporary homes to families,
- through social work with children and their families (hereinafter: social work), promotes the resolution of children’s problems and the correction of family dysfunction,
- organizing the substitute parent network, maintaining a record of deputy seats to parents
- participates in the activity of the Forum for Drug Affairs,
- at the request of the regional child protection service investigating and checking the circumstances of those who wish to adopt,
- help children who were removed from their families to integrate back into the parental home as soon as possible with family care.
The street work is carried out as part of searching for wandering children and organizes useful ways to spend their free time and different kinds of counselling, assists formal affairs.
The hospital social work is based on the territorial jurisdiction cooperative hospitals, for example, it could provide effective assistance in the event of crises surrounding the birth and child abuse.
The services provided by child welfare services are free of charge.
Day care services
Day care for children and day supervision, care and education for children in families should be organized for children whose parents and legal guardians cannot provide child day care. Among these benefits are a nursery, family day care, child care and family child care home.
A nursery is an institution providing daytime care and education for children below the age of three, raised in families. Once a child is over the age of three, but if, on the basis of his level of physical or mental development, he/she is not yet mature enough for kindergarten education, he/she may stay in the nursery until 31 August after his 4th birthday.
Nursery care can include education and care of children with special educational needs and children eligible for early development. These children may be eligible for nursery care until 31 August of the year when they turn six years old.
A family day-care service is daytime care for children raised in families, not participating in nursery or kindergarten education, or children attending school, outside the opening hours of school, or children not using the daytime facilities or study rooms of schools, provided in a family environment. This type of service contains daytime supervision care, education, meals and lessons for children in accordance with their age. If the service is organised by a self-employed entrepreneur, one entrepreneur may care for five children.
Temporary care for children
Within the framework of temporary care for children, care, maintenance, education and accommodation must be provided to promote the child's physical, mental, emotional and moral development if the parents cannot solve these because of his/her medical conditions, lifestyle problems, justified absence or are prevented from attending.
The services provide temporary child care (substitute parent, children in temporary shelters, temporary family home) without the use of official action, may be resorted to only at the request of the parents or with their agreement and shall not affect them exercising their supervisory rights as parents.
The temporary care can last until the underlying cause exists, but can last up to 12 months, and may be extended once for 6 months. (The district child welfare services can give more information about the temporary care opportunities.)
Foster parents provide full care, temporary or permanent, to children and young adults in their own home. In foster parent families a maximum of four children can be raised - including the foster parent's own child(ren). The foster parents are entitled to special allowances and an educational fee for looking after the child. The foster parent network is run by the child welfare services or NGOs.
Temporary Home for Children
Those children can be placed in temporary home who have families, but absence of placement would remain without them, and whose care is endangered due to the difficulties of family life.
The temporary shelters provide help for children - in cooperation with the Child Welfare Service – to return to their families. It works in a similar way to children's homes. Children live in groups and up to 12 children can be placed in one group. Professional educators, child care, childcare assistants care for them.
Temporary Home for Families
The service in temporary homes is designed, depending on the degree of means-tested childcare, to help the family so that the children and parents are not forced to part from each other. The purpose of this was to help those families who are temporarily or permanently homeless and to support them to continue living as a family, gather strength and reinforcement. Those families shall also be supported, who as a family have never lived together before, or were forced to live separately for long periods until the family could be reunited and to mobilize the resources inherent in coexistence.
Only temporary family homes may function as a crisis center. Crisis centers receive persons and their children in crisis who have been subjected to domestic violence or abuse.
Child protection specialist care
The child protection system has a dual function: on the one hand, through the primary child welfare services to be arranged for by local governments, it assists the development of children in families, and prevention and treatment of risky situations in life and, on the other hand, it provides a replacement family service for children who cannot be raised in their own families for some reason. This guarantees the education of the child in accordance with his or her age, and creates a basis for the social integration of the child.
According to Act XXXI of 1997 on child protection and guardianship administration, the child protection specialist care system must provide a home for temporarily placed children subject to temporary or long-term education, follow-up care of young adults, and fully comprehensive services for children using the specialist care for other reasons. The objective of services in children’s homes is to provide the full range of services, family care and follow-up care for children and young adults.
The child protection special service is responsible for testing the personality of the child, appointment of the foster parents or children's homes, operation of a foster parent network, or technical preparations for adoption during temporary and long-term education as well as after temporary placements. The child protection service also operates as the guardian of children subject to temporary and long-term education, preparing an individual care and education plan, providing family and follow-up care for the child in order to help him/her to return to his/her family and live his/her own life.
Personal care concerns:
- home providing care,
- the aftercare,
- and the regional child protection services.
The child protection institutions provide:
- full provision for children between 0-18 years in transition and long-term care, legal representation, proper care of their needs, education, providing compulsory education to promote their independent lives,
- aftercare service for those young adults (between 18-25 years old) who became adults in child protection care, on the basis of an order from a child welfare agency.
Home care providers
The home care provider includes the all-inclusive (meals, supplies and clothing, health care, nursing, education, housing) service for the child; return home, maintaining family relationships and supporting family care - or, if not possible, promoting adoptions; and the aftercare for their reintegration and an independent life.
A magisterial injunction is necessary for the home care providers, either temporary or permanent, from the local child welfare agency. For temporary placements those authorities who are responsible in the Act XXXI of 1997.
The Regional child protection service makes the proposal on the placement of the child according to an expert study.
Special care must be provided to the chronically ill and those living with a disability, and children under the age of three (with special needs).
Special care must be provided for children with severe personality disorders and mental development problems, serious disorders, antisocial conduct, in addition to children who are addicted to alcohol, drugs and other psychoactive substances (with special needs).
The two possible forms of home care providers are foster parents and children’ home placement.
One of the most effective forms of child protection care is foster parent care. The number of children placed with foster parents has been slowly but gradually increasing since 1995. The development of the foster parent network is an important objective, with special consideration to professional foster parent services, in order to find a placement for children struggling with various problems needing special services and joining the system at an older age. Development of a special child home network at county and national level is also a very important task, especially for children with special needs, serious behavioural problems, dissocial symptoms, physiological disturbances or those who use psychoactive substances. A process started in which children's homes caring for many children are turned into homes to place children who cannot be placed to foster parents, and do not require any special services.
Managing the integration, behavioural and socialization problems of children in the 14-18 age bracket is an important challenge for both primary and specialist care. In the present child protection system, support with appropriate services is not available for this age group. If children join the system at an older age, it is very likely that the problems, which have not been addressed in their families for a long time, will remain unsolved, which can also reduce the effectiveness of child protection services.
Finding a solution for the housing problems of young adults who leave these homes, and the other important basic condition of social integration - employment - also represent problems. It is important to find alternative training options which assist young people to find favourable positions in the labour market. Follow-up care might become an effective tool, not only extending required length of time before being able to leave care.
A children's home operates as a residential institution with an uninterrupted work schedule, which is involved in providing care to ensure the children have a well-kept home, providing aftercare for young adults and operating external accommodations if necessary.
The children’s home must be capable of caring for at least 12 to 48 children. The children live in groups which comprise fewer than 12 children.
Care and education is provided by a working group of qualified educators and child care and child protection assistants. Apart from them, all children's homes have family care and aftercare workers alongside and psychologists and development teachers.
Apartment Home care
This is a special form of children's home that provides care for maximum 12 children in a separate apartment or house, providing them with a family style environment.
The pedagogical purpose of this is to teach children how to maintain their own homes. The educational team (with six members) takes care of the children in the apartment home.
Special care adapted to the child's age, condition and educational needs, vocational training, employment and care, socialization and re-socialization, habilitation and rehabilitation treatment is provided as well.
Receiving home care
The Methodical Child Protection Service provides care in these shelters for those children who are found by the police, or who need immediate separation/replacement from their families because of a serious threat from the guardianship authority.
It provides temporarily support to children in crisis as long as they return to their family or enter the child care system.
Mother and child care combined/together
The children’s home can also host the mother of the child if she is homeless or pregnant and in a crisis situation.
The purpose is to maintain and strengthen the parent-child relationship to be able to step out from home with a stable environment. It is also important that during this time the mothers learn and possibly gain a profession, from which they can live independently with their children.
Children's health home
Children with multiple severe disabilities (medium and severe mentally impaired, disabled or immobile, bedridden, wheelchair-bound) are cared for in Health children's homes.
This institution cares for disabled children between 1 and 18 years of age, but the young adults (who grew up there) are still cared for if they cannot be placed in homes for disabled adults due to lack of space.
Special children's homes (nursing homes)
A special children's home provides care for children with special needs between the ages of 0 and 3.
Special children's home
Special homes for children offer care, socialization, resocialization, habilitation and rehabilitation to children with severe psychological or dissocial symptoms, as well as children who use psychoactive substances or have dual needs.
Young adults (older than 18) may request to be placed in an aftercare home under the following conditions:
- if they are in full-time education, until this finishes or until the age of 25 if he/she is still studying at this age,
- if they are not able to live independently or have reduced work capacity,
- if they are waiting to be placed in a social institution.
The aftercare phase is the task of child protection. It can be provided once the child becomes an adult between the ages of 18 and 21(for full-time students, 18 and 25).
Those young adults are entitled to the aftercare service whose subsistence income cannot be assured or who are in full-time education (either high school or tertiary institution), or waiting for placement in social residential institutions.
Young adults should be helped to start an independent life and to ensure the necessary conditions for making a living in aftercare service.
Youngsters will be cared for in foster families or in an institutional setting, in aftercare homes, in children's homes special aftercare groups, or in integrated care groups with minors.
The aim of the aftercare service is to strengthen the skills of young adults in care which will enable them to start and maintain an independent life, to take responsibility for their own future, and to ensure their long-term, successful integration into society.
Child protection / Official measures
Taking into protection
If the parent (or legal guardian) is unable (or unwilling) to stop the child at risk by resorting to primary services, to ensure that the child's development can be provided in a family environment with help, the municipal notary takes the child into protection. The guardianship authority supervises the justifiability of the decision at least once a year. The parent has the right to parental custody during this process.
The child welfare agency can ensure that the child - if the decision is in the interest of the child – is cared for by another family (named by the parents) who will temporarily accommodate, care for and educate the child because of the parent's health, justified absence, or other family reasons for as long as necessary at the request of the parent(s). In this period the parent(s) has no right to parental custody.
This measure will be taken if a child without custody or his/her physical, mental, emotional and moral development is in serious threat from his/her family environment or himself/herself and he/she must be placed immediately. The guardianship authority and the police make a decision about the temporary placement.
Taking into foster care
The guardianship authority makes a decision about the foster care of the child if the child's development is endangered by his/her family environment and primary child welfare services have not been able to address this and taking him/her into protection could not have been eliminated or no result expected, and if adequate care cannot be provided for the child within his/her family. This also applies if the court abolishes the parental custody right of one or both parents, or one or both parents are deceased, and the child does not have any supervising parent or the child’s parents are unknown. The guardianship authority appoints a guardian in this case.
If a child who is in temporary or permanent care endangers his/her own health or that of others because of his/her health or psychical conditions, this behaviour can be averted by immediate and close custody and the director of children’s home can decide to restrict his/her freedom.
The guardianship authority orders the aftercare following temporary or permanent care at the request of the young adult in care for at least 1 year. The purpose is to help young adults reintegrate into a family environment, and begin an independent life.
The child welfare agency takes a decision about this at the request of the young adults (see more below).
Until 2012 the child protection system in Hungary was a mixture of community and institutional care. The community care level was represented by family help centres, the child welfare system, child protection divisions and the guardianship authority in the public administration. The institutionalized care level was carried out by child protection institutions and special homes for handicapped children or children with behavioural and mental problems. Overall, until 2012 the child protection system in Hungary was directed and supervised by the Child Protection Division of the State Secretariat for Social Affairs of the Ministry of Human Capacities. However, with the recent amendments to the Act XXXI of 1997 on Child Protection and Guardianship from 8 December 2012 the child protection system in Hungary is undergoing a reform towards centralization with child protection and specialized institutions being shifted from local governments’ to state responsibility. A new national authority for child protection institutions is established – the Social and Child Protection General Directorate. The reform implemented between 2012 and 2014 also involves a shift in focus from institutional care placement of children to placement in adoptive families (especially for children aged 0 – 12).
Since 1 January 2013 the network of 126 child protection institutions and 46 specialized institutions/homes for adults and children (psychiatric and addict patients, those with behavioural problems, sociopaths and the disabled) in Hungary have been subject to nationalization under the auspices of the new General Directorate for Social and Child Protection (316/2012 (XI.13.) Government order).
Shelters in Hungary
There are currently three NGOs providing shelters for victims of trafficking: Chance for Families 2005 Foundation, the Hungarian Baptist Aid (HBA) and the Anonymous Ways Foundation in Hungary.
The Chance for Families 2005 Foundation operates two secret shelters which can accommodate women and men in need and their children. The shelters receive state funding to take care of victims of trafficking (the first shelter 2011, the second shelter since 2015) but the Foundations contribution is also significant in the maintenance of the shelters. The shelters are located approximately two hours from Budapest, in the north-western part of Hungary. The shelters' staff consists of a social worker, a nurse, a psychologist and a lawyer.
1. shelter: ‘The shelter is a relatively big building where 125 people can be accommodated (with victims of domestic violence as well). It is equipped with security cameras and is in direct contact with the police in case of emergency. There is a separate part of the building specifically for 8-12 victims of trafficking with several bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and a large living area. The shelter has a large garden, including a playground for children. There is also a kitchen workshop to allow residents to develop skills.
2. shelter: The shelter has 7 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 1 kitchen and a garden. Victims of labour and sexual exploitation (women, men, families) can be continuosly accommodated in the shelter. Social manager, social worker, lawyer and a psychologist provide assistance and if necessary other experts can be involved in the reintegration of the victims too.
The shelters have occasionally accommodated foreign victims. There are contacts with shelters abroad, Hungarian victims can be directly sent to the shelters from these other shelters. The shelters normally do not cater for child victims, but have accommodated a victim aged 17, who had been sexually exploited, for the duration of the police investigations. The shelters have received very few men (two victims of sexual exploitation, and some victims of labour exploitation). The Foundation has plans to set up a separate shelter for male victims’.
The Ministry of Human Capacities supports the NGO Chance for Families 2005 Foundation in operating the Temporary Shelters, which provides complex services and assistance for victims of human trafficking for the purpose of labour or sexual exploitation. The Temporary Shelters can provide services for 8-12 persons for just 90 days. The duration of stay can be extended once with 90 days on request and after that the victim can be accommodated in Transitory Apartments.
The shelters provide:
- Safe accommodation for 90 + 90 days
- Food, clothing, hygiene supplies, mental health service (complete care if necessary)
- Representing the victims' interests
- Social worker, psychologist, psychological consultant, psychiatrist, lawyer, doctor
Both shelters can be reached by the National Crisis Telephone Information Service: 06 80 20 55 20
The Hungarian Baptist Aid has been offering shelters to victims of human trafficking with the help of private donation and EU resources since 2005. The Hungarian Baptist Aid operates three shelters in various parts of the country as well as a crisis room in Budapest for victims.
The crisis room offers emergency stay of a few days for one female or male victim at a time. The short-term stay in the crisis room is for the victim and the expert who make contact with them for the first time to assess the risks and needs before transferring the victim to the shelter, which offers reintegration services and long-term accommodation. The crisis room is located in the outskirts of Budapest, at a secret location, as part of a larger facility equipped with CCTV cameras.
The shelter for 6 persons of the Hungarian Baptist Aid is located 2 hours away from Budapest. This spacious family house with a garden can accommodate up to six adult women and their children (if necessary). There is no regulated maximum stay, but victims stay for about 1.5 years on average.
“Upon arrival, they receive a comprehensive medical check-up, where specialists determine the care needed, and they receive psychological support. Each victim takes part in a personal rehabilitation program. The Hungarian Baptist Aid is reported to have a good relationship with local employment agencies and education centers in order to facilitate the reintegration of victims. The house is equipped with CCTV cameras and local police forces are standing by to intervene when necessary. If needed, victims will be accompanied during the first few weeks of their stay every time they leave the house.
There is another shelter, also about 2 hours from Budapest, available to those female victims who require a different level of protection. This second house can accommodate up to 12 women and their children; on average, more than half of them have been victims of human trafficking. The victims receive a medical check-up upon arrival and psychological care throughout their entire stay. Personalized and group activities aimed at skills development are also available, which will facilitate their rehabilitation and return to employment.
The third shelter is one hour from Budapest and can accommodate six female victims. Victims may also bring along their children, and the shelter offers the same type of protective, rehabilitation and reintegration services as the other two facilities.
All of the shelters put a strong emphasis on the training/reemployment of the victims. The organization conducts continuous fund-raising activities to finance the training fees.
Therapy sessions are also essential at the shelters, and it is aimed at facilitating the return of victims into the workforce and develop the skills necessary for finding and retaining a job. An artisanal workshop has been established with donations from Switzerland to help facilitate that process.
On an ad hoc basis, the Hungarian Baptist Aid may also accommodate male victims of human trafficking.
The organization can only receive children victims if they can be placed there together with a relative who is the legal guardian of the child.
The Hungarian Baptist Aid only accepts third-country nationals or children victims in exceptional cases when the authorities refer the victims to them as a temporary solution.
The most common organizations that refer victims to the Hungarian Baptist Aid are: IOM (in the case of Hungarian victims returning from abroad), the police, NGOs of target countries, the Hungarian Baptist Church, schools and congregations, social, family and child protection services.
The Anonymous Ways Foundation’s safe house has 6 places for women and children, especially for those who worked in prostitution and/or were sexually exploited. It is of great importance that effective help is available for the victims at the right time, and with which they can regain their lost capabilities, emotional stability and economic and legal rights economically.
The Anonymous Ways Foundation helps these women to start a new life, improving the quality of their lives and in protecting their rights with short- mid- and long-term recovery programmes and life skills training, in which participation is based on willingness and co-operation.
Recovery programmes are provided by the shelters
At the Chance for Families 2005 Foundation’s shelters the victims receive mental counselling and assistance from a medical expert if necessary. They can learn new professions in order to start their new, independent life.
Hungarian Baptist Aid provides personalized direct (psychosocial, health and legal) and social assistance in their shelters to help the victims in the rehabilitation process.
- Providing advice and information about healthcare, social and child protection and welfare services
- Organizing daily activities
- Assisting engagement and spending leisure time actively (and smartly)
- Assisting special strategies, medicine-compliance
- Forming self-help groups, supporting networks and free time
- Leading victims into education, vocational training, competency and skill development
- Helping victims to find employment and advising them on job opportunities
- Further availability and possibility for engagement
- Assistance with independent housing.
The Anonymous Ways Foundation provides different programmes for the victims, namely a daily programme and a housing programme (short- mid- and long-term recovery programme, life skills training). The daily sessions of the study center (ASK study center) take place every day between 10 am to 4 pm in a different part of town from the shelter. This means that participants must commute to the study center every morning, which in itself already prepares them for a working lifestyle (get up in time in the morning, find their way by public transport, develop a daily routine, etc.)
The Anonymous Ways Foundation uses the franchise program model of Servants Anonymous Foundation to assist women who belong to the target group of the Foundation in order to change their situation and their destiny. The Servants Anonymous (SA) Foundation has existed since 1989 on an international level. The SA programme model offers a long-term programme (3 to 7 years) for young women (aged 16 to 29 [age exceptions occur]) and their children who have been sexually exploited and/or trafficked. Increased levels of independence are factored into each program phase.
The stages and content of the SA programme at the Anonymous Ways Foundation:
Ask Learning Centre – Phase I Recovery Programming
Starting from the date of entry into the housing programme, participants join the ASK Learning Centre and attend classes from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. During Phase I of their programme the main focus will be on the recovery curriculum. The objectives of the programme are that participants will be equipped to:
- Deal with their past issues of abuse
- Deal with any current addiction issues
- Learn to engage in healthy relationships
- Learn to deal with their emotions in a healthy, functioning manner
- Improve their quality of life
- Learn the skills to move forward with positive action in their lives
- Increase their level of self-esteem
- Learn to parent in a positive manner, breaking the cycle of abuse in the lives of their children
- Increase their level of education
This is accomplished through delivery of the recovery curriculum in short, interactive classes and recreational and educational outings. While participating in the day programme, participants can place their children in the on-site parent support centre. This phase generally lasts 9 months to 1 year.
In preparation for the Phase II Advanced Programming, participants are offered on-site job shadowing positions to assist them in discerning their skill set and area of interest for job training and further education.
Ask Learning Centre – Phase II Advanced Programming
Advanced Programming is the portion of the program that occurs once the main recovery programming curriculum is completed by participants. At this level, programming generally lasts up to 18 months and the focus is on hard skill development and working toward obtaining their Grade 12 education. Participants will work on individualized learning plans that incorporate advanced employment preparation through on-site job training programmes, financial management, leadership skills and establishing healthy connections in the community at large to ease transition from the programme. The end goal of Advanced Programming is that participants will be equipped to begin a new career and transition from social assistance. While in Advanced Programming participants will leave front-line housing and will be eligible for Transitional Housing support. Day care subsidies may be offered on a case by case basis.
NOTE: Specialized Advanced Programmes are offered to participants with high barriers to employment/further education, i.e. learning disabilities, extremely low levels of education, physical/mental health issues, language barriers, etc.
Affordable Transitional Housing
In this phase participants move out of the front-line house and into an apartment of their own in the community. Financial support is provided by the SA Foundation to top up the portion of rent that is not covered by social assistance. While in this phase participants will receive support from a one-on-one worker to address transition concerns and will continue to attend the ASK Learning Centre Phase II – Advanced Programming. Access to the parent support centre continues to be provided in this phase free of charge. Transitional Housing support generally last up to 18 months.
Affordable Long-Term Housing
At this level of programming participants are employed full-time in the community or have returned to school. Financial support from the SA Foundation may be provided to offset housing or educational costs on a per case basis.
The Follow care programme is provided to all participants who have completed the programme and provides the follow-up and care they need to be successful in the community at large. Invitations to events are extended, one-on-one care is provided and opportunities to lead classes and/or sponsor new programme participants are created. The Follow care program is ongoing for as long as the participant is in need of extended support.