Why Het Vergeten Kind?
According to studies, Dutch children are among the happiest children in the world. But unfortunately this happiness does not extend to all the children in our country. All too often things go wrong, sometimes even very wrong.
Thousands of children in the Netherlands can no longer live at home. They have been neglected or mistreated. They fled from violence or were removed from their homes because they were no longer safe. There are also many children who do live at home, but who face serious hardships on a daily basis. The trauma leaves deep scars. It can make them insecure, scared and angry.
Addiction, large debts, psychological problems and parental inability can create a negative climate that prevents the children from receiving the positive attention that they so desperately need. They become lonely, socially isolated and their development suffers. Later in life, they run an increased risk of being involved in crime, being unemployed, not being able to raise their own children properly or not even being able to enter into a lasting relationship.
That is why Stichting Het Vergeten Kind (The Forgotten Child Foundation) is committed to helping children who grow up in an unsafe and/or unstable home situation and who are invisible to many.
By 'forgotten' we do not mean that their parents have forgotten them or that care providers do not care about their fate. We mean that these children feel forgotten. Because their interests are not central. Because their difficult behaviour is not understood as a cry for positive attention. Because they cannot participate and are different. Because they feel rejected and not seen and heard.
Het Vergeten Kind is committed to helping children in the Netherlands who are having a hard time because there are many problems at home. Sometimes the situation is so serious that they no longer live with their parents. Our goal is that all these children should feel seen and heard, that they live in a safe and stable place and can develop positively. So that they find their own place in society.
Het Vergeten Kind is there for all children in the Netherlands who do not get the chance to be a child because they experience serious problems at home. This stands in the way of a healthy development. In more than 50,000 cases, the situation is so serious that they can no longer live at home.
HOW WE HELP CHILDREN
When things go wrong at home, children often blame themselves. While they themselves are especially the victim. Het Vergeten Kind wants the Netherlands to stop looking away, instead to identify early, intervene effectively and help in a sustainable way. We fight every day to change the situation. To want to see the children blossom and shine again. To let them be children again.
We like to do this together. Together with everyone who cares about damaged children. We want to be a connecting factor between the different parties who are involved with these children. We do this in the role of:
- vigorous doer
- investor in innovation
- positive catalyst
To realise our mission, we invest in the following programmes and activities divided over two pillars:
PILLAR 1: JUST BEING A CHILD
Our impactful children's programme allows vulnerable children to 'just be' children again. By having fun, they forget all their worries, catch their breath, play, make friends, create positive memories and participate.
The specific activities within this pillar are:
- Heppie Holidays & Weekends: playing and relaxing with children of the same age in a pleasant, safe environment, including our own Hotel Heppie. With a great deal of attention and care for each child. We also organise supervised family holidays. In the summer of 2022, we want to open our second Hotel Heppie in the Veluwe. This will allow 4,500 children to participate in a Heppie Holiday or a Heppie Weekend cycle.
- Heppie Box: with this package we bring the Heppie feeling to vulnerable children at home. In this way, children - who often live under stress, anxiety and isolation - can experience positive moments of relaxation and fun throughout the year which contributes to their well-being. Every year we want to hand out at least 2,000 Heppie Boxes which we hope will make 4,000 children happy.
- Heppie Tour: a day without worries, just having fun in an amusement park or zoo, together with your sister, brother, (foster) parent(s) or carer. We want to give about 4,500 children a carefree day out every year with the Heppie Tour.
PILLAR 2: A SAFE AND STABLE HOME FOR EVERY CHILD
We also focus on the sustainable and structural improvement of the situation of vulnerable children in our country. We do this through programmes and projects that contribute to a stable and safe home for children in our target group, preferably with their own families. We encourage the government and youth care providers to put the interests of children at the centre of the policy and its implementation. In this way, the quality of care and help for children improves. Furthermore, where possible, we show how care can be organised with more stability and attention.
The specific activities within this pillar are:
- Campaigning & policy advocacy: by campaigning and, together with young people, entering into discussions with various policy makers, we want to achieve structural improvement in child care.
- Heppie (t)Huis: to show that things can be done differently and better, we have set up Heppie (t)Huis. A safe and stable place for children to live who have been placed out of home, with a permanent team of care providers. They ensure that every child is seen and heard and receives the positive attention he or she needs. The parents/carers also receive attention and support, because the aim is that the children and young people can live safely and comfortably at home again.
- The Unforgettables: the 30 members of our youth council - The Unforgettables - tell their stories as experience experts to the Netherlands (to the media, politics and youth welfare organisations). This creates more attention for and awareness of the problems of all 'forgotten children'. In addition, they provide us with advice and think along with us about how youth care can be improved.
- Research: To measure and improve the impact of our programmes, we conduct impact research throughout the year. We also conduct research into the living situation of children. The results of these surveys help us in our lobbying activities.
WHAT WE BELIEVE IN
Everything that receives attention grows. Children grow from positive attention. It gives them self-confidence and resilience. In order to develop properly, a child needs a safe and stable living environment; we call this a 'Climate of Attention'. This is our basic attitude in everything we do. This means really putting the child first, listening, looking at the child's behaviour and then acting.
Because we do not receive any subsidy from the government, we depend on donations from society. Private donors, companies, capital funds and service clubs, but also schools and churches that have a warm heart for the forgotten children of the Netherlands. We are proud that companies such as Miele, Kia, Nelson shoes, Douwe Egberts, Auping and Otolift are partners of Het Vergeten Kind. Together we can ensure that the forgotten children of the Netherlands feel seen and heard!
Are you also interested in working with us? Please contact our relationship manager:
Jeroen van Woudenberg | [email protected]