Wednesday 21 June 2023 – On 1 July, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) will receive official recognition for the Huis van het Kind Theodora family centre on the Brussels Health Campus in Jette. The centre’s objective is to create opportunities for parents to meet and to bring together organisations involved in preventive family support. It will be primarily directed at families in the Brussels municipalities of Jette, Ganshoren and Sint-Agatha-Berchem. The recognition allows VUB to further carry out its role as an urban engaged university.
Theodora is one of the seven physical locations of the renewed Huis van het Kind Brussel partnership – a cooperation between Gezinsbond, Wiegwijs and I-mens – that began this year. Parents and parents-to-be can contact the centre for information about bringing up children and to meet other parents. Huis van het Kind aims to be more available and accessible for Brussels families by setting up a number of physical centres in the city. To do this, it calls on the help and expertise of local partner organisations with experience in the field that understand the problems faced by urban families.
A number of partners are already playing an important role in supporting young families at the Theodoor Kindercampus, including Kind & Gezin consultancy, day-care centre, school, out-of-school care and the Scouts. There is also space for the Centre for General Welfare (CAW). The Huis van het Kind Theodora is the latest partner. Parents will be able to go there for information about enrolling in childcare, pregnancy, healthy eating and parenting. The services offered will be shaped by the partners that are already present on the Theodoor Kindercampus, the perinatal centre at UZ Brussel and other organisations whose expertise add value for families.
“The recognition and integration of a Huis van het Kind on the VUB Theodoor Kindercampus aligns perfectly with what VUB, as an urban engaged university, stands for: a university for, with and in the city,” says VUB rector Jan Danckaert. “Based on its living lab philosophy, VUB wants to place its campus and know-how at the service of the city, and enrich it in collaboration with the various Brussels actors. Raising children in general, and in an urban context in particular, isn’t always easy. By helping children to grow and parents to raise them, we’re helping to build a better future for our next generations. This initiative contributes to us carrying out our social role even better.”
With the recognition as a physical Huis van het Kind, Theodora will receive subsidies in the coming years from the Flemish Community Commission (VGC) and family support agency Opgroeien to develop its role.
Launch in the presence of ministers
Ahead of the launch of the new Huis van het Kind on 1 July, a kick-off meeting with all stakeholders took place on the Theodoor kindercampus. It was an opportunity for Flanders’ minister for Welfare, Public Health and Families, Hilde Crevits, and president of the VGC College Elke Van Den Brandt to visit the site.
“Huis van het Kind is a household name throughout Flanders and Brussels,” says Crevits. “They are essential for prevention, early intervention and better service for families. Huis van het Kind Brussel demonstrates that good cooperation between the Flemish government, local authorities, partners and staff creates a good, accessible service. This is certainly also thanks to the commitment of staff and partners in the field. The cooperation model in Brussels that we’re proposing today can be a source of inspiration for other Huizen van het Kind.“
“We want to make the fantastic service that the Huis van het Kind has to offer to young families as accessible as possible,” adds Van den Brandt. “Multiple organisations together, in a physical location in every neighbourhood: this will allow families to find the right support quickly. It means we can use the existing expertise efficiently, and maintain the physical presence of the Huis van het Kind throughout Brussels.”
- Isabelle Selleslag, VUB Head of campus facilities: [email protected] - 0499 62 52 53