Firlands Children’s Home in Linden will close its doors come the end of the year

Guests of the annual Firlands' fête wait to see what's up for grabs at the jumble sale. Photo: Ashtyn Mackenzie

Firlands Children’s Home in Linden will close its doors come the end of the year following a strategic review of the church’s outreach ministries.

The home has been in operation since 1923 and currently is home to 51 children.

Territorial Commander of The Salvation Army Southern Africa, Colonel Keith Conrad, said the church’s primary concern now is to make sure that each child is appropriately and happily integrated into a new life situation.

“The well-being of the children in our care is of paramount importance through this process, and every step is being taken to ensure that those at Firlands will be properly and holistically cared for. In the months leading up to the closure of Firlands, each child will be carefully assessed as to the best option for his or her future.

“Some may be reintegrated into their families, others may be ready for adoption into a family. Still others may move into one of our other children’s homes,” Conrad said.

He said the decision to bring an end to this particular ministry had been taken after a thorough and comprehensive review of the church’s ministry and outreach.

Conrad said the decision to close this institution is part of a worldwide trend by The Salvation Army to strategically phase out ministries that are outside their core competency. Another global trend is to phase out institutionalised care in favour of a home or house parent environment.

“As an organisation, we are finding it more and more difficult to provide the specialised care that is required to run a children’s home. This is a strategic decision taking into account our competencies, finances and the increasing legal and government challenges around service to and care of vulnerable children. As a result, we have decided to scale back our activities by closing Firlands,” said Conrad.

The Salvation Army’s other two homes in Gauteng, Carl Sithole in Soweto and Strathyre Girls Home in Kensington, will continue to operate. Staff will from Firlands will also be assisted in finding other positions and given professional advice.

The annual Firlands’ fête, a very popular event on Johannesburg’s calendar, will continue this year as planned.

He emphasised that the public’s continued support of Firlands through this year of change will still benefit the children in the home.

Details: 011 782 5556.

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