Established in the year 2000, DAA is a temporary therapeutic center that provides protection for child victims of abuse. It accommodates up to 40 children from infancy to early adolescence. The children receive comprehensive and integrated services: care, academic, medical, and psychosocial. Children remain in the center until a safe placement is identified within their nuclear or extended families, or in cases where this is not possible, the children are transferred to a long-term care home.
Daily Care Services:
Every (6-8) children at Dar Al Aman reside in an apartment with one caregiver. The caregivers are responsible for creating a safe and loving environment for the children; this idea of a “safe home” is new to many of our children. It is through consistent and reliable care that the children begin to trust their surroundings, hence setting the child on the path towards healing.
The caregivers attend to the children’s physical needs (nutrition, hygiene, health, etc), their intellectual needs (activities, stimulation, etc), their social needs (relationships, social rules, etc) and their emotional needs (love, acceptance, etc). Children are given the opportunity to “catch up” on their development and reconstruct their perception of the world in a safe and nurturing environment.
At Dar Al Aman, we are eager to achieve a healthy balance for the children between structure and flexibility. We believe that children who come from abusive and often chaotic homes need structure and predictability, while maintaining enough flexibility for children’s individual needs and preferences to be considered.
Children in abusive homes are likely to fall behind academically and often face educational neglect or even schooling disruption. At Dar Al Aman, we aim at reintegrating the child into the school community, thus retrieving a sense of “normalcy” to their lives. Upon entering Dar Al Aman, children are assessed to determine their achievement level and accordingly a suitable school is identified. Children usually join a nearby school from within the public school system, but when a child has any specific or special needs, then schools or even centers from the private sector are considered. After school, the caregivers follow-up with the children on their school-work, while teacher/s provide one-on-one and small group support to children in the areas that require special attention. Moreover, children who have never been to school or who have been out of school for years are home-schooled.
In addition to school-aged children, children under six years old attend an early childhood development program within Dar Al Aman. The program is tailored to provide these children with developmentally appropriate activities that not only prepare them for school, but more importantly supports their social and emotional development, which is considered an integral part of their rehabilitation.
While many children who stay at Dar Al Aman are academically behind their counterparts, we strive to support them in reaching their academic potential and consequently restoring their self confidence and value. The reintegration of children into the school system is another key accomplishment for these children as they will be able to join a school smoothly in their future placement.
All children who come to Dar Al Aman require medical attention, be it to address their malnutrition, physical wounds, developmental stunting, or in more severe cases fractures and deformations. An in-home nurse monitors the children’s health on a daily basis, and children who need primary health care visit the local health center. Nevertheless, some children require more advanced care due to the abuse they have endured, and these children are treated at hospitals and special clinics. Examples include plastic surgery (to remedy signs of physical abuse such as burns, nose restructuring, scars, fractures, lip injuries) physiotherapy, and teeth implants. JRF partners with a number of public and private health clinics and hospitals aiming to provide the children with quality medical services.
All children at Dar Al Aman receive counseling and therapy as needed. Our team comprises of counselors and psychologists who offer interventions to children in both individual and group format; in doing so, the team utilizes creative therapy tools and techniques such as art and play therapy. In more severe cases were the children are displaying severe symptoms and signs of psychological/ mental disorders, a psychiatrist is consulted.
Parallel to this process, psychosocial services are provided to the children’s families. JRF strongly believes that a child’s natural place is within a family, thus we try our best to secure that for all the children who enter Dar Al Aman. Our psychosocial counselors conduct an assessment which includes the direct and extended family members of the child. Once a suitable and willing family is identified, the counselors construct an intervention plan with the family leading up to the integration of the child with the family; the rehabilitation of the identified family in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for the child could range from a few months up to a couple of years. If it was not possible to find a suitable placement for the child from within the family, then as a last resort the children are transferred to a long-term care center. All children who leave Dar Al Aman are supervised in their new placement for at least one year.