Family Visit Day at NPH Peru
A special day that merges NPH families and biological families for our children at NPH Peru.
March 15, 2019 - Peru
Ongoing contact with parents, siblings, and friends is important for children. Jenny Peña, a social worker at NPH Peru, explains how biological family visits are managed. “Every Sunday biological families can visit their children for a few hours in the afternoon to eat, play, or just talk about what is happening in their everyday lives. Three times a year these Family Visit Days are moments when families can spend a full day with the children on NPH grounds.”
Each January, May and September, parents with a legal permit have visitation rights. These rights are granted by governing bodies when parents are not considered a problematic influence to the development of the children. For safety reasons, contact between families and children takes place exclusively in public spaces, for example, outdoors around the sports field or in the communal dining room. Entering the houses or areas around the houses is not allowed.
About 80 percent of children receive visits at least once a year. On a regular visitor day, there are usually no more than 20 visitors. On Family Visit Day, the numbers are significantly higher. For biological family who want to see their children, often time, distance, and cost deter relatives from visiting as often as they would like.
For those children we do not receive visitors, it is often hard for them to see other children spending time together with their families. Our tíos and tías, as well as volunteers, offer activities such as sports and board games for those children to help them feel cared for and included. In addition, an activity outside the village is organized three times a year for children who have received two or fewer visits within the last four months. Often, it’s a trip to the movies followed by dinner.
Mauro, a boy at NPH Peru, confirms that connection to one’s biological family is a very important subject in the life of a child. Mauro has been in NPH since 2014 and he talks about the warm feeling of seeing his family, “Frequently, my sisters and I are visited by my mother, my grandma, and my aunt. I like to see them and spend time with them. I don’t want them to worry about us. Here in NPH we also feel like we’re ‘home’”.
When kids first arrive in NPH, their desire to return to their parents is particularly strong. They may show a sense of longing or sadness to go with their relatives at the end of a visitor day. In these instances, tíos and tías give additional care and attention to these children, taking more time to talk with them and learn how the children are feeling. Though no caregiver can replace a biological parent, NPH caregivers strive to make our children feel loved and safe in a place they can call home.
Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.