Close to 3 000 backlog cases of Foster Care recorded in WC; MEC appeals to public to sign up as a safety parent or foster parent.
The Western Cape’s Social Development Department says there are close to 3 000 backlog cases in terms of foster care in the province.
The 2 947, says MEC Sharna Fernandez, only refers to the number of foster care orders that required extension, as per court order. A total of 36 480 children are in foster care in the Western Cape.
The North Gauteng High Court issued an Order in November 2017, which provides an additional 24 months for the key provisions contained in the 2017 Order. It was further extended in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
The extended court order highlighted:
· The suspension of two declarations regarding the provision for a comprehensive legal solution and putting in place the mechanisms, resources and structures for a sustainable and efficient foster care system;
· Requiring the National Minister of Social Development to request Parliament to expedite the process for consideration and tabling of amendments to the Children’s Act;
· Interim regime for management of the affected foster care orders;
· Reporting parameters changing from six monthly to three monthly intervals for reporting to the High Court and Centre for Child Law
Fernandez says her department has put a deadline of 12 November 2022, to clear the foster care backlog,as part of its ‘’Provincial Foster Care Management Plan.’’
‘’We have 490 unprocessed extensions for February 2022 to March 2022, of which 230 are unabridged birth certificates that we have still not yet received from the National Department of Home Affairs, and a further 166 are awaiting court dates. It is important to note that the current number of unprocessed extensions are not new placements.”
“The challenges presented by the National Disaster Management Act during the COVID-19 pandemic period has had a restrictive effect on overall operations in the public and private sector. Although the Courts could still be accessed for urgent matters pertaining to children and specifically foster care matters, there were operational restrictions caused by limited access to courts and other lockdown restrictions,” added Fernandez.
The MEC appealed to the public to sign up as a safety parent or foster parent.
‘’This is a great way for community members to partner with us and be part of protecting our children,” said Fernandez.
Done By: Mitchum George