The NDSF and Richmond Foundation have formally signed an agreement awarding a social grant towards a project that will provide a therapeutic programme of specialised care for children with severe and challenging behaviour conditions.
Kids in Development (K.I.Ds) is a residential therapeutic programme for children aged seven to thirteen who have been severely affected by early trauma, in the form of any type of abuse and/or severe neglect. These experiences usually result in the children developing severe challenging behaviour that effects the child in all areas of their life such especially in developing meaningful relationships with others.
Run by Richmond Foundation, the K.I.Ds Programme provides these children with a nurturing and stimulating environment, and positive experiences from which they may build confidence and resilience. This includes learning how to develop significant relationships. The programme serves as a bridge for them to be able to move on to a more permanent situation in their lives.
Recent studies indicate that one of every four persons of working age will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life and half of all mental health conditions start before the age of 14 years. *
K.I.Ds first opened its doors in 2007, through a public-private-partnership between the Ministry of the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity, Curia and Richmond Foundation. For twelve years, it operated from a wing of the Jesus of Nazareth convent in Żejtun. In 2019, K.I.Ds was required to vacate the Żejtun premises and the Curia offered alternative premises, within Fra Diegu complex. These premises require development and finishing to become fully operational. The NDSF’s funding will
ensure that the project at the Fra Diegu complex will provide a tailor-made, healing space for the children to fully settle there.
The total capital expenditure for the new premises, which has a total area of 535 sqm, is projected to be around €1,170,000, which will be mainly financed through NDSF’s social grant of €700,000. The facility was carefully designed to facilitate the running of the programme. It will include an administrative and therapeutic area, an outdoor area for recreational activity, spacious bedrooms for children, and a kitchen and living area. The entire indoor premises will be equipped with air conditioning.
Speaking at the signing, the NDSF’s CEO, Raymond Ellul stated that the purpose of the social grant was to ensure that vulnerable children and young adolescents, together with their families would find the right professional help and support through Richmond’s KIDS programme and hopefully they would eventually be able to fully integrate in society. The project, like all other social projects currently funded by NDSF, will no doubt enhance the social well-being of the country for current and future
generations. Mr. Ellul explained that the NDSF was established as a government agency in 2015 with the purpose of managing and administering 70% of the contributions received from the Individual Investor Programme of Malta.
On behalf of Richmond Foundation, Anthony Guillaumier, Chairperson, held that as more young people are experiencing complex life issues, it is essential that the country offers the appropriate range of services within purposely designed settings to provide the right care and support for them to lead positive lives. This grant will provide some of the most vulnerable children with a dedicated setting to call home where they can develop in a safe and loving environment.
*A Mental Health Strategy for Malta 2020-2030, Ministry of Health, July 2019