In Heilbronn, a children’s apartment complex opens to a riding stable

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

Green as far as the eye can see, widening, relaxed. If you are driving through the narrow lane to the Horkheim horse farm, you must first take a deep breath. It’s nice here.

Ride stable worker Ralph Klink is the new home owner for the kids

In this idyllic setting, the Diakonische Jugendhilfe Heilbronn (DJHN) wants to offer six girls aged six to twelve a temporary home. Entrepreneur and ranch operator Ralph Klink is the owner of the new home, which has been designed according to the needs of the children. They should stay here for one to two years.

There’s a therapy dog ​​and a therapy horse for support

It is conceivable that subsequent boys will join, officials say. Children who have a motor impairment, or above all, those with mental disabilities, who have difficulty concentrating or traumatized, or who have crawled into snail shells so much during Corona that they are no longer able to go to school, get help here. From five employees so far plus animal support from a therapy dog ​​and a therapy horse. In principle, residents must attend public schools.

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

“Making a group like this at a riding school is an opportunity you get maybe once every 100 years,” says Markus Schneizler, managing director of DJHN, one of the region’s biggest sponsors in the area. There is no similar facility in the whole state of Baden-Württemberg.

Kids boost their self-esteem while riding

Animals are integrated into everyday life. “The horse is cared for and fed, and therapeutic riding lessons are part of the concept,” says Manuela Kopf, Head of Education Sector Assistance. Kids bond and boost their self-esteem while riding the big animal.

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The farm sets a precedent as an emotional place for learning

Children entrust their feelings to an animal

Anja Greilinger’s Little Havanese Theo is currently training to be a therapy dog. “Maybe the girls read something to Theo, and they can take him for walks or doing tricks,” says the team leader in the apartment block. “Sometimes it’s easier for kids to take care of an animal and trust their problems than to open up to an adult.”

Places must be made available all over Germany

The girls come through the Youth Welfare Office. Important sources of inspiration that children need help are also pediatricians, schools or daycares. The goal is to provide places all over Germany.

The need is now huge

Schneizler says there are already some inquiries. However, as long as the performance agreement has not yet been finalized, youth welfare offices cannot accommodate children. The residential group will soon start with three kids, more girls will be added gradually. As an expert, he knows: “We have a great need right now.” Surveys, also in regional day care centers, have shown that 25 to 50 percent of children have behavioral problems and have increased support needs. There are six children’s rooms with nature views as well as a guest room and apartments for parents in the new building. Two girls should share a bathroom.

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The family must get out of the controversy and negative whirlpool of thoughts

The goal is to reunite families. “Some parents used to think: ‘Here’s my baby, please fix it and I’m going home again. In Horkheim, on the other hand, father and mother can move into apartments on the weekend. “We want to strengthen parenting skills, practice attitudes, and also through video recordings,” says Manuela Kopf. “The most important thing is to learn to love again. Get out of the controversy and the negative spiral of ideas that don’t work. Once again let’s see the positive in the child or in the parents. “It definitely affects both sides.”


It’s the work team

The Diakonische Jugendhilfe-Heilbronn (DJHN) in Eppingen has 600 employees in the region. It operates 27 fixed and semi-fixed residential clusters in the city and district of Heilbronn, five of which are day clusters of eight each in Eppingen-Klingartach. “In the last 60 years there may not have been waiting lists as long as they are now,” says Managing Director Markus Schneizler. “We can open new groups, but we can’t find employees at all.” The system is within its capacity, “maybe a little higher”.

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