The Group Home Concept
Living together in a group supports the individual, mental, emotional and social development of each child. Within the group the children learn to build and develop positive relationships, take on responsibility for specific areas.
The staff team of each group consists of 5 social pedagogues, plus a housekeeper and a cleaner.
Daily routines, rights and responsibilities are negotiated between social paedagogues and children. The house rules apply to everybody. Once a week all members attend a group meeting, to discuss problems, concerns and ideas. Children and young people can have visitors (family and friends), visits are arranged individually. Visits back at their family homes can usually take place every other weekend.
The children and young people attend public schools in and near Leonstein. As necessary, we offer learning support in close cooperation with the teachers. Children and young people can continue their education and attend further education establishments. The social paedagogues keep regular contacts with the children's teachers, attend meetings and parents evenings.
Our crisis intervention SKIP offers two intake group homes with 14 places, where children (aged 4-11) and young people (aged 12-17) can find immediate access and emergency accommodation.
The main remit of SKIP is to provide child protection, assessments and family work, in order to work out a new perspective where a child or young person can be cared for and live safely in the future.
Group Home Facilities
Our completely refurbished house consists of 4 modern group homes, each providing comfortable living space for up to 9 children and young people.
Each group home comprises of single and twin and bedrooms for children/young people, a shared living room, kitchen and dining room, staff room and utility rooms. Every bedroom has its own ensuite bathroom.
We employ a clinical psychologist, who is available three days a week to provide confidential advice, mental health support, therapy and psychological assessmensts for our children and young people. Additional individual therapy and/or counselling can be accessed via referral to appropriately qualified therapists, as and when required.
Outdoor and leisure education
Outdoor education provides a valuable addition to the work in our house. The group experience away from the everyday environment helps develop social competency. We provide opportunities for young people to experience self, recognise their limits and conquer fears. We predominantly provide outdoor education during the summer months, when our staff organise activities, such as trekking, cycling, river walking, canoeing, sailing, etc. At weekends we offer the children and young people activities like kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding or snowshoe walking. Some of these can be carried out in close proximity to our house, so do not require lengthy preparation, and we have the equipment available in house.
A store room converted into an art studio provides easels, paints, brushes, palette-knives... giving our young people room to express their fantasies, ideas and desires through art. Joy, courage, effort and perseverance – all these things come to light while the young people work on their pictures. Of course it is delightful to have painted a nice picture and to look at it contentedly. The young people often marvel at their unfailing creativity and how easily they found access to it. "Come, I'll show you something, look! It's nice, it's great! It fits perfectly. Just one more line would be too much... a picture, my picture!"
The children and young people in our house can make use of our music room and receive tuition by external tutors. In the Sound Container, our rehearsal room they have access to vocal PA, keyboards, guitars, drum kits and other instruments. They can make music with other young people and/or staff. Over the years several bands have formed in the castle, some of them even proved their talent at live gigs. For fans of electronic music we provide an iMac computer including music production software, etc.
Children and young people regularly work in the ceramic workshop. They receive instruction and support from social pedagogues with specific know-how in ceramic work. This enables them to get to know materials, learn craft skills and practice creative shaping. Some therapeutic value lies in the work itself, combined with high scope for creativity and obtaining new skills. The finished products are presented to the public at exhibitions and various events, e.g. the advent market.
In addition to above mentioned activities the children and young people have access to a wide range of interesting leisure activities within and in close proximity to the castle. They can make use of a sports hall, a climbing wall, a play area, a large park with outdoor football pitch, as well as basketball court, skate park, and a volleyball / beach volleyball court.
Since 2010 we also own horse 'Krokus' and donkey 'Lola', who we keep at a nearby ranch. There they are cared for by our children and young people who receive professional instruction and free riding lessons from the owner of the ranch. Caring for an animal brings profound benefits for the developement of children, especially those who have suffered severe trauma in their earlier lives.
If or when a young person returns to their family or moves into their own tenancy, then we offer individual after care to the young person, for as long as appropriate and needed. The shape and extent of after care will be agreed with the young person and their social worker.