Josephine Schneider's House is a children's home where children from eight to nineteen can stay for a period, often of long duration.

Their families have severe psychological and social problems which have made it necessary to move the children from their homes in order to give them stable conditions during their childhood.

Josephine Schneider's House receives up to twelve children. All of them come from Frederiksberg where the children's home is situated. It means that the children can still use the same day-care institutions, schools and sports clubs as when they lived at home. Every child who is accepted at the children's home is assessed by the Family Division of Frederiksberg Municipality in cooperation with the children's home.

Josephine Schneider's House is owned by the Foundation of Josephine Schneider's House. The foundation owns four institutions in all: Two children's homes, youth housing and protected housing. Josephine Schneider was born in 1820 and died in 1887. She was very dedicated and far-sighted, and opened her first children's home in 1874. Josephine Schneider's House was built as a children's home in 1906 - 07. The children's home has a settlement with the Municipality of Frederiksberg, which runs the institution.



The objective of Josephine Schneider's House is to create an environment, which gives every child the opportunity of developing his or her resources confidently as well as becoming able to relate to family, school, and network. We wish to adopt an approach built on the situation of the individual child, his or her particular development, family background, and culture.



Security and stability: We try to make the house as "homelike" as possible and to let the days be characterized by continuity and predictability. Our children show the symptoms of families with heavy social problems, the consequences of which are a lack of structure and absence of a clear everyday distribution of roles. For the same reason we do not consider the child's symptoms as the true problem but take our starting point in the normal development of a child. Therefore the first thing we do, when a child has moved into Josephine Schneider's house, is to separate things by helping the child to get a continuous everyday life, to solve possible conflicts at school, and maybe to move the focus from the adult role it may have adopted to the role and the amount of responsibility which fits the age of the child. Hereby we are trying to help the child to organize its life and to form a general view of its existence. Our task is to help the children to accept the routines of quite ordinary functions and duties of everyday life - such as getting up in the morning, getting breakfast, bringing lunch, going to school, doing your homework etc.

Every child is attached to two trained social workers, who is responsible for the primary contact with the child's home, school, and case officer. It is the task of the social workers to establish the framework which gives the child the best opportunity to develop and to get on in the surrounding world.

We insist, that the children assemble regularly: i.e. after school, for a fixed period for doing your homework, and for dinner. This teaches the children that keeping agreements creates stability. At the same time the children realize that we are adults who take an interest in them, and that the institution has scope for talks about everything.



Before enrolment a meeting is arranged with the parents, the case officer, two social workers and possibly the child or young person. At the meeting the cause for admitting the child is discussed, and the action programme of the social authorities is presented. The two social workers in question have regular contact with the family, because we believe that the parents are to be taken seriously and treated with respect. The parents and the social workers decide how often meetings are to take place and who will be present. During the child's stay and through these talks we are trying to uncover the problems of the family and to realize the positive resources of the family in order, that the child and the family may benefit from this process.

The child or the teenager only participates in these talks, if his age, maturity and the nature of the problems allow it. At least once a month every child has a kind of conversations with the social workers, in which responsibilities of children and grown-ups, rolls in the house, and relations to the family are touched on.



We try to keep as close contact to the child's family as possible. The parents still play an important part in their child's life, and so may grandparents, uncles and aunts. In order that the child may develop to the best of its abilities we consider it essential that the child has a life outside the institution, too. Therefore we encourage the child to engage in various leisure-time activities, so that the child meets other young people. We eagerly support the child's relations with pals and thereby emphasize the value of friendship. Simultaneously we help to maintain relations from before, the child came to live with us by welcoming friends, who want to stay for weekends and holidays.

Likewise it is important for the children at Josephine Schneider's House to profit by the experiences of each other as well as making the best possible use of each other.

Most of our children remain in the same school or day-care as before they came to us. In a few cases a change of school is appropriate for the child, for instance to get rid of a bad image or bad friends. This always takes place in concert with the child, its parents and school.

There may be instances where the child's or the teenager's problems are so heavy, that the educational initiatives do not seem sufficient. In such cases the needs are carefully examined, so that the required expertise may be as useful as possible for the child or the teenager. A team work, between e.g. a psychologist and the social workers, is often seen as the best way of helping the child get on with its life.