What is the Epworth Therapy and Assessment Centre?
The Epworth Children’s Village is a nonprofit organisation (NPO) and a children’s home that was started by the Methodist Church after the First World War to assist children and families who had been impacted by the war. As the need in the South African context shifted the ECV admitted children placed by the Children’s Court as they were deemed to be “in need of care” and at risk in their family environments as described in the Children’s Act (38 of 2005).
In 2003 the Board and management of the organisation realised that providing a safe, stable, caring environment was not enough to meet the children’s holistic needs. The children were struggling emotionally as a result of the abuse, trauma, rejection, loss and abandonment they had experienced. These struggles were reflected in their behaviour and in their school performance. Many of the children still had contact with their families but the families had not received effective assistance to address their social problems and so there had been no change in their home environments. This meant that there was little possibility of the children being returned to functional, safe and caring home environments.
The Epworth Therapy and Assessment Centre, a Social Enterprise and a programme arm of the Epworth Children’s Village, was developed in response to these aforementioned needs and consists of intern psychologists and qualified psychologists who provide psychological assessments and therapy to the children, and their families, resident in the Epworth Children’s Village. The Therapy and Assessment Centre also provides for the psychological needs of other community members and NPOs which cannot afford these services privately. A large number of these are learners who are requiring educational assessments for placement in special schooling. The Gauteng Department of Education do not have sufficient capacity to address the volume of learners requiring assessments and hundreds of these learners are referred to the Therapy and Assessment Centre annually. The majority of the learners referred are living in disadvantaged circumstances.
The Therapy and Assessment Centre’s income generating programmes fund the interventions for the children resident in the Epworth Children’s Village as well as the community members and NPOs who cannot afford these services privately. This cross-subsidisation of funding enables the Therapy and Assessment Centre to provide low-cost psychological services to communities without financial means.
Intern Educational and Counselling Psychologists undertake their final year Masters internship at the Therapy and Assessment Centre. The internship consists of individual therapy, group work and assessments at the Epworth Children’s Village, other welfare organisations and schools. Our internship is challenging and dynamic and interns are exposed to a variety of clients and cases which allow them to develop a skill set to work with any circumstance and client need within their scopes of practice.
In 2017 we welcome:
Khanyisile Bujela Amy Christie
Melissa Bester Victoria Ntanzi
We also accommodate Registered Counselling Honours students for their practical hours.
We provide the full range of assessments, therapy and community work at local schools and welfare organisation sites as well as through a community resource centre based at the Epworth Children’s Village. These services are charged for at an affordable rate which is below medical aid rates. We also undertake workshops and trainings at schools and sites for teachers, learners and parents. These workshops include but are not limited to: Grade 8 orientation, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, ADD/ADHD, Anxiety and learning disabilities. The Therapy and Assessment Centre also undertakes bulk career and subject choice assessments at schools at a low-cost rate per learner.
In addition to the clients seen at the Epworth Therapy and Assessment Centre, on the property of the Epworth Children’s Village, in 2017 we are providing services one day a week at:
Dinwiddie Primary School Jeppe High School for Girls
Summerfields Primary School Arbor Primary School
Germiston High School Kids Haven
Boksburg Child Welfare John Wesley CYCC
Psychological Services for Children in Residential Care
This is our flagship programme, and the original purpose of the Epworth Therapy and Assessment Centre, because through the services provided for in this programme the Vision and Mission of the Epworth Children’s Village is achieved.
We provide psycho-social and educational intervention for the children who are placed in the Epworth Children’s Village, through the Children’s Court, and their families. This intervention is geared towards addressing the reasons why the children were removed from their families in order to enable reunification with their families and communities. This programme aims to address the children’s psychological, emotional, social and educational needs and is complemented by a multidisciplinary reunification programme addressing their families’ needs. Epworth has been able to successfully return 10 to 15 children a year to their families as a direct result of these services!
The Private Practice charges medical aid rates for the complete range of assessments and therapy. We are based on the property of the Epworth Children’s Village. The proceeds from these services go towards the therapeutic intervention for the children, and their families, resident in the Epworth Children’s Village and towards the low-cost services we offer to the community members who are unable to afford these services privately. Clients are referred through schools, word-of-mouth and through the Netcare Sunward Park Hospital.
As a Social Enterprise, and as a registered NPO, any surplus generated through the income generating portions of the Epworth Therapy and Assessment Centre’s services, after the cross-subsidisation of services for the Psychological Services for Children in Residential Care and Community Services programmes, goes towards the running costs of the Epworth Children’s Village itself.