The vison and mission of Homes of Hope is the provision of excellent therapeutic ‘away-from-home’ care for children from hard places through a holistic, connected, network of child-centered community homes. This is something Hilary Price, the CEO and founder is passionate about in the very complex world of caring for vulnerable children here in Aotearoa.
In an environment of extremely high compliance, complex legal frameworks, cultural diversity, differing values, perspective and positioning – Hilary has managed to create something that is providing great outcomes for tamariki. Seeing the children in their care beginning to flourish, placed in forever homes, and then later as young adults making their way successfully in the world is a very rewarding aspect of her role.
Hilary is driven by her faith, purpose, vision, and mission to get the job done well, working in cohesion, and unity, and hope for a better future for the children. She admits, running a small not for profit charity always brings the challenge of needing to be versatile and flexible in response to the demands, deficits or challenges.
Hilary believes there is a continuing need to be responsive to the presenting needs of children from hard places and their families. She doesn’t doubt that in the future, it will get increasingly more complex to achieve this. There are fantastic people in our community who want to help in this space, she says, yet they are either unsure how to, or if they have stepped up, they don’t get the support/information/training they need. This is the space she feels that Homes of Hope needs to press into in the future. Educating caregivers and whanau on becoming more child-centric, to better understand their needs, and responding accordingly. While she acknowledges this will create cultural, systemic and organisational challenges she believes by working together it can be achieved and current cycles can be broken.
Homes of Hope was founded in December 2002 after Hilary was asked by a colleague to join her in doing something about meeting the needs of children in foster care in New Zealand. Back in South Africa, Hilary had previously been involved in setting up a haven in Cape Town for up to 20 children at any one time who needed safe refuge. James House, as it is now known, also has a therapeutic service and skills-based programmes for the older children/young adults. She set this initiative up after seeing the plight of some of the children who attended an after school programme she was involved in.
Hilary says the more she has journeyed in the area of caring for vulnerable children the more she has learnt she needs to learn. Initially she qualified as a teacher in Zimbabwe Rhodesia and since arriving in New Zealand has subsequently qualified with a Bachelor of Social Work Bi-Cultural, and most recently, after four years, is about to qualify as a Child Centred Play Therapist. She is also in the process of introducing Trust Based Relational Intervention® into their Homes of Hope practice and later this year three staff members are travelling to the US to become accredited Practitioners. This will enable them to train foster carers in meeting the needs of children from hard places.
To work in this area Hilary advises that you need to take the rose tinted glasses off, realising that your heart will break many times but risking this will help to protect and support children and in time, their families and whanau.
Hilary doesn’t find a lot of time for her hobbies of music, art, horse riding, tennis and family and friends, however she treasures the delicious moments she gets to spend with her adorable grandchildren and adult children.