Children and young people who live in various children’s care projects face many difficult challenges. First, the reasons why a child is separated from the protective environment of home and family usually involve a series of many misfortunes, and sometimes horrific abuse. Leaving their previous living environment they are then confronted by a new living situation, new and unfamiliar caretakers, and new peers.
They must learn new rules, adopt new living arrangements, and try and make new relationships. All this time they also must cope with loss, conflict, inner struggles, and the specific tasks associated with their age and psychosocial phase. These transitions would be difficult for almost everyone, and perhaps especially so for children who are developing their personalities and ways of living in the world.
In visiting a project that cares for these children many different questions arise. What should be observed? What kinds of rules or protocol exist in the program, and what procedures should visitors follow? What sorts of things can be seen that may point to an effective program, or might indicate an underlying gap? What plans does the facility have for each child, both in their care and for their future? Are families included in care activities? What may be a worrying observation?