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Last Update 31 Oct 2022

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Children and orphans

Children and orphans

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Since its establishment, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was committed to care for orphans and has offered an excellent example in this regard. Such care has been extended and established over time. The responsibility to monitor the orphans’ situation, explore their needs, and look after them was entrusted in order to ensure their dignity and self-reliance.

The General Administration for Orphans of the Undersecretary of the Ministry for Social Welfare and Family is responsible for and supervising all orphan and orphan care affairs. The administration strives to develop general policies for the care of orphaned children and those in a like situation, in addition to social groups with special circumstances such as children of unknown parentage. The Administration aims to provide care, education and reformation to these children in accordance with the tolerant principles of Islamic law, in modern scientific methods through shelter houses and institutions, or monitor their care with foster or caring families. The General Administration for Orphans provides its services through two specialized technical departments, the Department of Orphans' Affairs and the Department of Residential Care.

Sub-departments:

 

 
 
1. Orphan Guardianship Department:

 

 
 
The Department of Orphan Guardianship is strongly committed to the firm belief and conviction that the natural family atmosphere is the appropriate environment for the socio-psychological and mental care of the orphaned child, and his or her proper upbringing. The Department considers enrollment in a residential house as the last practical solution and the last stage of orphan care when social research proves that this family atmosphere is not available for the care of the orphaned child, either by one of his/her relatives or any foster family. The Department also supervises foster and caring family system.
The Department of Orphan Guardianship is responsible for examining applications for guardianship in accordance with the relevant conditions and regulations.

Foster Families and Caring Families Systems supervised by the Department:

1. Foster Families System:-

It is the full and permanent care by a family of one of the orphans under the supervision of the Ministry, in a manner that achieves psychological security and emotional satisfaction of the orphaned child, and helps him/her learn optimal social customs and values, where the orphan becomes a member of the family in accordance with the legitimate regulations governing this matter.

2. Caring Family System:

It is a program aimed at compensating orphaned children who have not had the opportunity to be fostered by a family by allowing families wishing to care for them to offer them partial care. So, under this system, one of the natural families in the community is associated with one or more orphaned children residing in one of the residential social shelters of the Agency for Welfare and Social Development to host him/her during a specific period such as the period of holidays (eids, weekends or summer vacations) and then the child is returned to the house or institution in which he resides, after the end of the holiday or the specified period.

One of the most important objectives of the Department of Orphan Guardianship is to receive applications from families wishing to foster these children and wishing to be rewarded by Allah, who have the ability and competence to care for orphaned children and compensate them for the loss of their parents. The opportunity is available to good families who wish to care for orphans. Foster and caring families are selected according to special social criteria. They have to have the proper social climate and the desired elements of socialization and express their desire to take care of these children within the household. Accordingly, these families are entrusted with the care and upbringing of orphans and those in a like situation. These children are subject to continuous supervision and follow-up by the branches of the Ministry. A financial subsidy is paid for each child in consideration for the care offered to him/her of up to (2000) riyals per month for the family that fosters a child under the age of six, and an amount of (3000) riyals per month for the family that  fosters a child over six years of age (on demand of fostering families). At the end of the fostering period, the fostering family is paid a reward of (20.000) riyals for each child whose fostering period has expired.

 

 
2. Residential Care Department:

 

 
The Department of Residential Care endeavors to create proper family stability for children subject to residential care within social welfare institutions, social education homes and model educational institutions. The Department prepares statistical, technical and administrative reports on childcare programs, and supervises social welfare institutions, and social education homes for boys and girls as well as model educational institutions.

 

 
Social Welfare Institutions:

 

 
It is the first stage of orphanage care. Social welfare institutions are social institutions affiliated to the Agency for Social Affairs. These institutions aim to provide comprehensive care to young orphans, and children with special circumstances such as those of unknown parentage and the like who are deprived of proper care in a family or normal community.
Social welfare institutions are well equipped to provide the appropriate social and psychological climate for children from birth to six years of age, in addition to full accommodation to compensate the child as much as possible for the absence of a natural family, where they finds suitable health, social, psychological, educational and recreational care for such a stage of life. These institutions are supervised by the Department of Residential Care, one of the departments of the General Administration for Orphans.

 Requirements for admission to Social welfare institutions:

 

1. Only Saudi children who do not have access to proper family or foster care are admitted to social welfare institutions.
2. Only cases of persons with special circumstances such as orphans or children of unknown parentage and those in a like situation are admitted, or cases suffering from family disintegration or the person entitled to custody of the child is dead or has an incurable mental, nervous or physical illness.
3. Children under seven years of age.
4. Free from infectious diseases.
5. The written approval of the person caring for the child to enroll him/her in the social welfare institutions after proving their inability to care for the child.

Care provided by social welfare institutions includes:

I. Comprehensive care within the institution, including:

 

 
1. Shelter and care for the orphaned child.
2. Provide food according to health standards and under medical supervision.
3. Periodic health follow-up and preventive medical examination. 
4. Keep the child clean in body and clothes.
5. Provide clothing the child suitable for his age and gender according to the specifications prepared by specialists.
6. Provide an appropriate social environment that fills the gap caused by the absence of a normal family for children as much as possible.
7. Instill Islamic values and educate young children according to their age and the recommendations of education experts.
8. Provide pre-school education opportunities for children according to their aptitude and age to help them become self-reliant and to give them the opportunity to discover and differentiate personal qualities of others.
9. Place some children in outside kindergartens to allow them the opportunity to socialize with other children to develop their knowledge and abilities.
10. Enroll children in primary schools after the age of six, and offer them all possible means to achieve a good level of performance during their studies.
11. Deposit an amount of money in the child’s account from the time the child is placed as a monthly benefit until he/she leaves the institution.
12. The child's psychological care includes psychological tests and speech sessions according to the case.
13. Provide educational, recreational and cultural programs for children and provide them with the opportunity to practice such programmes individually and collectively under the supervision of foster mums.

 

 
II. Internal programs and activities: 

 

 
With regard to internal activities, social welfare institutions are concerned with developing the child's experiences and build his/her social, cultural and other skills through the activities they carry out for children within the house under the supervision of the administrative and technical bodies of the institution. Internal programs and activities include simple games and in the garden and sports activity under the supervision of foster mums, in addition to educational activity for children from two to four years under the supervision of a social worker. Children also participate in the kitchen activity to learn  the names of natural nutrients. Cultural activities include conducting cultural and educational competitions, puppet theater, and the practice of agricultural activities in an atmosphere of competition among children. This is in addition to conducting recreational activities prepared by foster mums and supervised by the children's social worker and the preparation and development of the abilities of infants and the enrollment of children from 4 to 6 years of age in the internal kindergarten in the house under the supervision of the kindergarten supervisor and teachers.

 

 
 
III. External programs and activities:

 

 
It is mainly a varied activity carried out at specific times and aimed at integrating children into the outside community and includes the following:

 

 
 
1. Visit recreational and commercial centers, local markets, commercial, art and cultural exhibitions, as well as public facilities and cultural monuments, go to farms and organize meaningful recreational picnics.
2. Attend some social events such as weddings.
3. Participating in social institutions’ parties and recreational hospital parties.
4. Participate in some internal and external camps organized by any of the social institutions of the Social Affairs Agency and under its supervision.
5. Organize visits of children over the age of six to the Social Education House for Boys at the end of each week in preparation for their transfer to the Cubs Department in the House.

 

 
 
B- Social education houses for boys and girls:

 

 
The aim of social education houses is to accommodate children of both sexes, orphans, children of unknown parentage and those of like situation, to create a suitable environment for them. Social education houses for boys and girls attempt to serve as a reliable alternative to the natural family and to provide comprehensive care for these children for their healthy development and adaptation to themselves and their community.
Houses accept orphans and those in like situations from the age of six. Houses are well equipped to provide accommodation, care and education for them so that they are as close as possible to the normal family home.
Students stay in social education houses for boys until they reach the age of 12 and then they move to the Model schools (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools) until they complete their study in the schools of the Ministry of Education, are placed in a decent job or are set to reside in the external society.
On the other hand, female students stay in social education houses for girls until they are prepared to become housewives capable of leading a decent family life.
Each student in social education houses is paid a benefit according to their educational stages. In the primary stage, students receive a monthly stipend of (500) riyals, and students in the middle stage in education houses or model schools receive a monthly stipend of (700) riyals. Secondary school students in education houses or model schools, receive a monthly stipend of (900) riyals. University students, receive a monthly stipend of (1200) riyals.

 

 Categories eligible for admission to social education houses:

 

Social education houses accept the following categories:

 

 
1. Orphaned children who lost their father and/or mother.
2. Children of unknown parentage
3. Children of suffering from family disintegration.

 

Requirements for admission to social education houses for boys and girls:

 

1. The applicant must belong to one of the above categories.
2. The child must be between six years and twelve years of age at the time of applying for admission, for students only.
3. The child has no family of his relatives who can take care of him/her.
4. The living conditions surrounding him/her are threatening of delinquency if he continues to live in it.
5. The social research proves the fulfillment of the conditions and his eligibility to be placed in the house.
6. The child must be from infectious diseases, disabilities and mental illnesses.
7. The Minister of Labour and Social Affairs may waive one or more admission requirements when necessary and in special exceptional cases (orphanage, age, nationality).

 

 

 
C- Model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools):

 

 
In Saudi Arabia, model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools) are the next stage for the care of male orphans who graduate from social education houses after obtaining the primary certificate. These orphans often are brilliant students who excel in theoretical study. Model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools) host and embrace them in order to provide them with care and intermediate and secondary education opportunities later. 

Requirements for admission to Social welfare institutions model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools):

To be admitted to model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah Schools), students must fulfill the following requirements:

 

 

 
1. Orphaned children who lost one or both of their parents.
2. The social education house to which the child was enrolled should submit a report explaining the existing living conditions of the student, which requires him to be enrolled in the model education institution (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah School), and provide this institution with the full student file at the social education house.
3. The student must meet the conditions required by the Ministry of Education for the admission of students to intermediate education in terms of age and total score in the primary certificate.
4. The student must be willing to enroll in intermediate education, technical or vocational institutes.
5. The medical examination shall prove the student’s safe from diseases that hinder his eligibility for accommodation and care in the model education institution.
6. During primary school, the student should be an example of hard work, dedication, excellence in study, and good conduct during his previous stay in the Social Education House.

 

Types of social welfare and activities in model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah School):

 

Model educational institutions (Trbiyah Namouthajiyah School) focus on the planning of care programs and various activities, and supervise their implementation and follow-up through a technical committee formed for this purpose, where social, cultural and sports activities are coordinated, leisure time is filled with useful hobbies, and study times are organized, etc. The social department of the institution supervises all activities and programs inside and outside the institutio.
Marriage of orphans:-
Since the Ministry is the alternative legal guardian for orphaned girls and those like them, raising and marrying girls is one of the most important tasks  carried out by the Social Affairs Agency. The Agency has set the conditions and controls for the marriage suitor, as he is interviewed by specialists to check his competence and ability to marry. He fills out the forms for marriage, which include two sections, a section for the marriage suitor and includes all the necessary data about him. In addition, health and social documents about him shall be attached as well. The other section of the from includes the necessary data about the young lady and her care institution and other documents about the young lady's desire to enter into married life and the marriage suitor's acceptance of the same.

 

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