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Committee to probe abuse in foster homes

Written by Priscilla Khumalo
The Department of Social Development has appointed a committee to look at the abuse of children placed in foster care.

Speaking at the National Social Work Indaba held recently in Durban, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini said the abuse of children was an issue that needed immediate attention.

“There must be a way of finding out what is going on with our kids … we have to put the best interests of our children first,” she said.

The committee will look at the issues such as:

  • Children not being taken care of properly while families continue to draw foster care grants.
  • A recent court judgment regarding the renewal of foster care grants, which are delayed due to backlogs.
  • Invalid orders from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA).
  • Cutting the red tape around foster care.

The committee will also explore extending the foster care grant beyond the age of 18, as long as the child is still at school or studying.

The National Social Work Indaba aimed to develop proposals and interventions aimed at strengthening the impact on social work practice.

The Minister emphasised the need to strengthen mentoring among social workers as well as understanding policy.

“All social workers must understand the legislation, regulations that have to do with the Department of Social Development. No one will lift the profession except social workers…don’t expect someone else to do the work for you, this we have to do ourselves,” the Minister challenged social workers.

She urged the South African Council for Social Service Professions to protect social workers and engage with them throughout the country.

Minister Dlamini said the department was working on absorbing young social workers into the department to ensure that they grow in their profession.

“What we are trying to do right now is to look at how we are going to engage with those young social workers, because they have now become despondent,” she added.