Sexuality and relationships in children's homes

Project owner: Freya, z. s.

Responsible person: Lucie Šídová




Civil Society / Social Economy

What is it about?

Due to their often traumatic past, children in children's homes need targeted support to develop healthy relationships and sexuality. The topic of sexuality and relationships is often neglected and repressed in residential institutions for children. The project aims to explore ways to safely open up the topic of sexuality and help children enter adult life equipped with the skills to establish quality relationships through a newly adopted Learning Network method (experience sharing, tailored training for staff and gradual implementation of changes in the institutions).


Topics of sexuality and relationships in residential institutions for children are neglected. Children have limited access to reliable and appropriately presented information promoting healthy psychosocial and sexual development. The environment often doesn’t enable children to explore their sexuality safely which can have negative consequences for their future lives. 


Freya combines methods of Learning Network and Human Centred Design that synergistically influences the systemic change in children's homes. Teams from five children’s homes regularly attend meetings, trainings, and share their experience. At the same time, each team supported by an assigned coach/mentor develops a unique solution for their respective facility.  


The most important actors are staff and children living in children’s homes themselves. Both groups were involved in the development of the content of the Learning Network meetings through qualitative research. Staff gained competencies to provide a sexuality friendly environment through coaching, training and sharing of good practice. 


The project enables staff to actively implement change in their facility on an ongoing basis under the guidance of a coach which assures sustainable bottom-up driven change based on specific needs. As reported, children are already more open and they come to ask the staff on sexuality-related topics and the staff faces fewer problematic situations. 


The Learning Network method is universal 

and can be used to improve care in social, educational and healthcare facilities globally. Freya learned about the method from its partners in Norway and plans to use this format for a follow-up project aimed at different types of residential facilities in the Czech Republic.