In Heilbronn, a housing group for children opens on a riding stable

The team in Heilbronn-Horkheim in the Diakonische Jugendhilfe region Heilbronn: The first three children will soon move in, more will follow. Photos: Mario Berger Photo: Berger, Mario

Green as far as the eye can see, vastness, relaxation. If you are driving across the narrow lane to Horkheim Horse Farm, take a deep breath first. It’s cozy here.

Riding stable operator Ralf Klenk is the landlord of the brand new house for the children

In this idyll, the Diakonische Jugendhilfe Region Heilbronn (DJHN) wants to offer six girls between the ages of six and twelve a temporary home. Contractor and horse farm operator Ralf Klenk is the landlord of the new house, which is tailored to the children’s needs. They have to stay here for one to two years.

There is a therapy dog ​​and a therapy horse for support

It is conceivable that later boys will join, according to those responsible. Children who are motor or, above all, mentally handicapped, who have difficulty concentrating or trauma, or who have crawled so much into their snail shells under Corona that they can no longer go to school, get help here. From five employees so far plus animal support from a therapy dog ​​and a therapy horse. As a starting point, the residents have to go to primary schools.

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There is no similar facility in the whole of Baden-Württemberg

“Creating a group like this at a riding school is an opportunity that you might get once every 100 years,” says Markus Schnizler, CEO of DJHN, one of the largest sponsors in this area in the region. There is no similar facility in the whole of Baden-Württemberg.

The children strengthen their self-esteem while riding

The animals are integrated into everyday life. “The horse is groomed and fed, and curative riding lessons are also part of the concept,” says Manuela Kopf, head of the department for help in the education sector. The children tie the knot and increase their self-esteem while riding the big animal.

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The farm sets a precedent as an emotional place of learning

Children leave emotions to an animal

Anja Greilinger’s little habits Theo is currently training as a therapy dog. “Maybe the girls are reading something to Theo, they can take him for walks or practice tricks,” says the housing group’s team leader. “Sometimes it’s easier for children to take care of an animal and entrust them with problems than to open up to an adult.”

Seats should be offered throughout Germany

The girls come through the youth office. Important sources of inspiration that children need help with are also paediatricians, schools or day care centers. The goal is to offer the places throughout Germany.

The need right now is huge

There are already a few inquiries, Schnizler says. But as long as the performance agreement has not yet been finalized, the youth welfare offices cannot admit children. The housing group will soon start with three children, and gradually more girls will join. As an expert, he knows: “We have a huge need at the moment.” Studies, also in regional day care institutions, have shown that 25 to 50 percent of children have behavioral problems and have increased support needs. There are six children’s rooms with views of nature plus a guest room and two parents’ apartments in the new building. Two girls have to share a bathroom.

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The family should get out of the quarrel and the negative thought spiral

The goal is to bring the families back together. “Some parents used to think, ‘Here’s my child, please take care of it, and I’ll take it home again.” In Horkheim, on the other hand, father and mother can move into the apartments at the weekend. “We want to strengthen their parenting skills, practice situations, also with video recordings,” says Manuela Kopf. “The most important thing is to learn to love again.” Getting out of the quarrel and the negative thought spiral that does not succeed. Again to see the positive in the child or in the parents. “It certainly affects both sides.”

It’s the staff

Diakonische Jugendhilfe Region Heilbronn (DJHN) based in Eppingen has 600 employees in the region. It operates 27 stationary and semi-stationary housing groups in the town and district of Heilbronn, five of which are day groups with eight seats each in the Eppingen-Kleingartach. “In the last 60 years, there have probably not been as long waiting lists as there are now,” says CEO Markus Schnizler. “We could open new groups, but we can not find the staff at all.” The system is at the limit of its capacity, “maybe a little bit over”.

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