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Fostering a Child

  • Fostering a child in South Africa

    • Foster care, as set out in Chapter 12 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, is a form of alternative placement that a Children’s Court can order. A child
      may be placed in foster care when the child has been deemed by the court to be a child in need of care and protection or if a child is
      transferred to this type of placement in terms of Section 71 of the Act.

      Section 28(1) of the Constitution, 1996 states that every child has a right to family care or parental care or to appropriate alternative care, as well
      as to basic nutrition, shelter, health care services and social services.

      The bests interests of the child are of paramount importance and therefore the right to appropriate alternative care , with consideration to
      the best interests of the child, is the starting point and real issue when reviewing and analysing the placement of children in foster care.

      Adopting A Child Process
  • Process to foster a child in south africa

    • 1. If you want to look after a child who is in need of care and protection, apply to the Department of Social Development or an
      accredited child protection organisation for permission to foster the child.

      2. You will be referred to a social worker who will conduct an investigation.

      3. The social worker will assess you and the child.

      4. The following documents need to be submitted:

      • an affidavit stating that the child is abandoned (if applicable);
      • death certificates of the parents (if applicable);
      • birth certificate of the child. If the child does not have a birth certificate, the social worker will assist you in obtaining the birth certificate;
      • your identity document.
      5. The biological parents of the child must be involved in the process.

      6. If you do not know where the biological parents are, the social worker will assist you in placing an advertisement in newspapers
      for one month, calling of the parents to come forward.

      7. If the biological parents do not come forward the process will proceed.

      8. The child must be involved in the entire process.

      9. The social worker will compile a report and present it to the Children’s Court with recommendations.

      10. Based on the social worker’s report, the presiding officer at the court may find the child to be in need of care and protection.

      11. The presiding officer will issue a court order approving the placement of the child with the foster parent. The court order will
      show the names of the foster parent, the foster child, and the duration of the foster placement.

  • The following persons qualify to be foster children:

    • • under the age of 18 years old and/or:

      • abandoned or orphaned and without any visible means of support;

      • display behaviour which cannot be controlled by the parent or care-giver;

      • living on the streets or begging for a living;

      • addicted to a dependence-producing substance and without any support to obtain treatment for such dependency;

      • have been exploited or exposed to exploitation;

      • at risk if returned to the custody of the parent/guardian/care-giver;

      • in a state of physical or mental neglect, maltreated, abused or degraded by a parent, a care-giver, a person who has parental
      responsibilities and rights, or a family member, or by a person under whose control the child is.

  • To qualify as a foster parent you must be

    • • 18 years or older;

      • fit and proper;

      • willing and able to look after the child;

      • able to provide a favourable environment for the child’s growth and development.

      Once a court order has been issued in your favour, you can apply for a foster child grant at your nearest South African Security Agency office.
      The child may also be exempted from paying fees at a public school and public healthcare institutions. For the child to be exempted from paying
      school fees, you have to fill in the exemption form which is available at the school, and submit a letter of recommendation from the social
      worker to the school. You are only allowed to foster a child for the period indicated in the court order. Once the period has lapsed, the presiding officer may, after
      reviewing the recommendation from the social worker, extend the period of the court order.

  • Interracial fostering of a child:

    • Section 40 of the Child Care Act requires that in the making of decisions regarding placement of a child in foster care, regard shall be had to the
      religious and cultural background of the child concerned and of his parents against that of the person in whose custody the child is to be placed.

      The racial and cultural matching of children and prospective adoptive foster parents is desirable, however, there is an urgency to settle a child
      in a permanent family environment in which he or she can form close bonds and develop normally, and if considerations of culture and
      ethnicity become the overriding factor, irreparable damage may be done to children who could have the benefit of care in a family environment,
      albeit by persons who are in different cultural or religious background or physical appearance.

      When arranging care for a child, including a foreign child (refugee and undocumented immigrant children included), social workers should
      make full enquiries about the cultural, religious and linguistic background of the child, and the availability of foster parents with a similar
      background to that child.

      A child may only be placed with a family of a different background if not family with a similar background to that of the child is available, willing and suitable to foster the child.

    • Required Documents –

      • Birth Certificate of Minor Child/Children.<

      • Certified Identity Document of Applicant.

    • Procedure

      • The process are as follows -

        • The applicant is required to approach the local magistrate’s court in order to become a foster parent.

      • A social worker will have interviewed the child and the applicant to determine if the applicant is a suitable foster parent to the minor.

      • The court then considers the best interest of the child.

      • The social worker will draw a report which will assist the court in making an informed decision in respect of the application. ___________________________________________________________
        Hi, I’m Kailash Pillay, an attorney from the city of Johannesburg. My passion for the law
        stems from a desire to improve upon the lives of the vulnerable who fall prey to a
        corrupt system.
        I studied at the University of Johannesburg where I obtained my Bachelor of Laws
        degree, the starting point to the long journey of becoming a legal practitioner.
        This profession has taught me to persevere through the complexities of the law and to
        continually develop my skills as a legal professional.