Institutional or residential care is when a child is placed in a children’s home or a group foster care home after going through the necessary process via court. As with foster care, this option gives you time as a parent to get organised so that you can take care of your child yourself in the long run. You will be able to remain in contact with your child, but this is a temporary relief solution and should result in your reunification with your child after no longer than two years. The home will take full responsibility for the care and education of your child.
Being a temporary solution, there are some concerns that you will need to be aware of, if you make this choice. A children’s home can never replace a family environment where a child has a sense of permanence and feels like they belong. The child may struggle with the issue of having an inconsistent carer as children’s homes rely on shift workers. They may not be able to bond with a primary care giver and as a result they could feel insecure and struggle with their sense of identity as they grow up.
To help you make this decision, it is advisable that you get hold of a counsellor, social worker, child protection organisation or your local representative of the Department of Social Development who can assist you. To find an organisation close to you, please click here. Alternatively, please contact our call centre on 0800 864 658 for immediate assistance