The sound of laughter fills the air as children bounce and play on the trampoline in the Homes of Hope backyard.
More children can now join the fun after Homes of Hope was able to build a third home with the help of the community.
The Tauranga therapeutic foster care organisation has just opened a new five-bedroomed home, named Kauri, meaning it can help up to six children in need.
Children that come into Homes of Hope care have suffered abuse or neglect, and are in the top one-to-two per cent of abused children, says funding and communications manager Pam French.
“It’s not fair on these little ones,” says Pam, “because all of them love mum and dad. They just don't want the abuse and they have to leave home.”
Upon entering care they receive an individualised plan from a social worker. Most will have child centred play therapy and receive wrap around support for their entire stay.
“When children first come here they have some time to relax and come down from their trauma,” says Pam. “Then you start to see the children go through their therapy and the changes that they make are incredible.
“They can actually have childhoods and play.”
Homes of Hope cares for infants up to 12 year-olds, until they are ready to go to their forever home.
The organisation keeps siblings together, and they will all stay until everyone is ready to leave. Children will live at one of the three homes for at least a year, and up to five years.
Pam says they have a very high success rate, with 81 per cent of children staying in their forever home once they leave.
“They know they’re loved,” she says. “They know they deserve to be loved and they leave that way. That’s what’s important.”
Just under 300 children have been through Homes of Hopes’ doors since it began in 2003.
All of the homes are in a hub with therapy rooms and an office, so support is always available for the children, house parents and caregivers.
Kauri has been built by Classic Builders, who donated about $210,000 of tradies and sub-contractors’ time and supplies towards the total $390,000 cost of the build.
Cashmores real estate owners Blair and Kirsty Cashmore raised another $100,000 from a black-tie event held specifically for the new house.
Chaplain Gordon Parker’s family donated $35,000 and The Sutherland Self Help Trust gave $25,000.
It has been Homes of Hope chief executive Hilary Price’s dream to have a new home, so to have it realised is really special, says Pam.