Trygga Barnen is a politically and religiously independent non-profit foundation. We aim to support children and young people in families where one or both parents drink too much, abuse drugs and/or has poor mental health. We also inform about children's right to a safe childhood. We do this through our own experiences of growing up in homes with addiction and/or mental illness.

It's hard to be a relative of someone who is addicted. It's difficult to see when someone is treating himself and the people around him badly. We at Trygga Barnen are here to support when it feels like the hardest. Our vision is that all children and young people should have a safe childhood.

• Trygga Barnen conveys professional help, advice and offers meeting facilities for children and young people up to 25 years.
• Trygga Barnen works for children's right to a secure childhood, free from alcohol and drugs.
• Trygga Barnen works to evolve in real time. This means that the methods and forms that we work with are constantly renewed to better achieve our aim.
• Trygga Barnen is based on the UN Convention of a child's right to support and to participate in matters affecting them.
• The Foundation Trygga Barnen is under the supervision of the County Administrative Board of Stockholm under the rules that apply to foundations. The Foundation's finances are audited annually by a chartered accountant.
• We vow to silence.
 

Background

Trygga Barnen Foundation was founded by Agneta Trygg and her youngest daughter, Olivia Trygg, in the spring of 2010. The origin of the founding of Trygga Barnen were their personal experiences of alcoholism in the family, when Olivia's father, Hans Trygg, became increasingly ill. Finally, Agneta realized that it is not only the alcoholic person who needs help, but also the relatives. When Agneta's daughter Olivia one day stood up in class and told everyone that she had a father with alcohol problems, she immediately got a response. Many got in touch with her and it turned out that there were many more than you could have imagined that lived with similar experiences.

In 2010, work began to start the foundation to help children and young people in the same situation as Olivia lived in. Many adults, such as family members, friends, coworkers, but also staff in pre-schools and schools seem to not dare "see" what these children and young people carry within themselves. It is not just adults who need support but also our children and young people. One of Trygga Barnen's milestone is to take away the shame - we must dare to talk about it out loud. Olivia's father unfortunately passed away in the spring of 2010 because of his addiction.

Today, Olivia Trygg General Secretary of the Foundation, has three permanent employees, three hourly employees and about 20 volunteers. Agneta Trygg is Chairman of the Board.


How do children and young people reach us?

For children and young people to find us and our activities, we need to be seen where children spend their days. We do this through lectures at schools where we talk about our own backgrounds as children in similar situations, so they can relate. Many young people find us through Google search or social media. As for the younger children, it is often a parent, grandparents, or other relatives who contact us initially.

By being seen in schools, we can also catch the children and young people who need support. In 2014 we did 73 lectures for; children and adults, schools, social welfare offices, health centers and at various seminars. Altogether we lectured for 2000 pupils and 1500 adults who meet children and young people in their everyday lives. Trygga Barnen offers various activities to support children and young people. Below we briefly describe the various support activities we have.


Trygga Barnen's support activities

All the activities we offer are developed in close dialogue with our target audience. It is important for us to offer support based on the needs and wishes of children and young people themselves. We want to convey community, hope and faith in the future and thus break the social heritage. Our approach is based on humanity and we do not offer treatment. All those who work with us have personal experience of growing up in homes with addiction problems and/or mental illness. However, we are careful to ensure that those who work with children and young people in our business have processed their experiences through professional help and today are well and confident adults. Trygga Barnen train and supervise employees and volunteers internally. 

Activity Groups
Each semester Trygga Barnen organizes activity groups. Activity groups are divided by age: 8-12 years, 13-16 years and 17-25 years. The group meets every week for one semester. The aim of the groups is for children and young people to experience community and to feel that they are not alone in the problems they live in, sharing of experiences and exchange experiences and get support on how they can manage their own situation. A few times per semester the groups do something fun together, such as bowling. Activity groups is an educational method that we developed, with the Ersta model as a basis. The fee is 300 kr per child/semester.

Trygg Hand - Safe Hand
A Trygg Hand is a designated contact person, that the child/youth meet regularly over a period of time, on average, ten times during a semester or a year. The purpose of a Trygg Hand is to offer personalized support in the form of a human being that the child/youth can identify with. With a Trygg Hand the child/youth get the opportunity to meet and talk in a relaxed atmosphere and do activities together along requests. Sometimes it can be very hard to go off alone to a therapist, social welfare office or a police interrogation. A Trygg Hand can be involved throughout the process and provide support and standing up for the child's rights.

Trygga Barnen's Celebrations
Trygga Barnen organizes alternatives to the celebrations that can be especially tough for children and young people in families with addiction. The events takes place a few days before the annual anniversary. Then we'll meet, eat, socialize and celebrate. There is always professional help in place if someone would like to talk to a therapist.

Trygga Barnen's Midsummer (2015) had 60 children and their families celebrate together. On the site there was a bouncy castle, cake ingredients to bake your own cakes, ice cream and a cotton candy machine, a lunch buffet, strawberries and quantities of flowers to bind wreaths, a professional face painters, animators, craft table and quiz on children's rights. All this is carried out with the help of sponsors and voluntary efforts and thus means no costs for Trygga Barnen (in addition to regular staff costs during the event itself). The event is planned and largely led by volunteers.

Trygg Hängbro - Safe Bridge
In the summer of 2014 began a new venture, which means that we offer counseling when school and municipal support business has closed for the summer. We act as a suspension bridge during the time when many others are closed, from July 1 through August 31. Trygg Hängbro is available via live chat, email and telephone hotline for children and young people up to 25 years. Trygg Hängbro will not exceed a waiting time for support longer than seven days.

Phone, email, chat and kik
We are available by phone and e-mail Monday through Friday 9am to 5 pm. We are also available via chat, three evenings per week. The chat is handled by volunteers, all with their own experiences growing up in a home with substance abuse addiction and/or mental illness and processed experiences in therapy. "Kik" is an anonymous free alternative to texting, as more and more children and young people want to get in touch with us. We are reached via "kik" seven days a week, year around.

Therapist Portal
We have built a therapist portal within Stockholm. We want to ensure that all children who need help can get it. Therefore $100 for each paying child goes straight back from the therapist to Trygga Barnen, who can then help children in families that are not able to pay for a therapist.

Lectures
We offer lectures and training courses for businesses, teachers, counselors and others who work with children and young people, and also for schoolchildren.


What do children and young people about us?

Here are some of the comments that activity group participants (13-15 years) left on the evaluation sheet, after the spring semester in 2015:

"Trygga Barnen has given me support and made me feel less alone. The group has made me realize that I'm worth more than the crap that I have endured. I would say that the [future activity group participants] will feel much better by talking about their problems, and no one will judge."

"In the beginning, I really didn't want to come here. I didn't think I needed it and didn't want to share my experiences. I was scared. But Trygga Barnen has given me good things during this trip. I've learned things about myself in general. I do not regret at all that I came here."

"Trygga Barnen has made me to not feel so alone and have made me part a great community. I have learned that I am not alone in my feelings, and that it's okay to feel the way you want. I'm very happy that I joined Trygga Barnen. It helps one's self-esteem and they listen and understand (always try anyway). All are nice and you will get a nice group of new friends."