Become a foster parent | Western Cape Government

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Become a foster parent

(Western Cape Government)

Become a foster parent

The care and protection of children is one of the Department of Social Development’s primary areas of legislative responsibility

In fulfilling this mandate, we work to promote the resilience of families and their ability to care for and develop their children.

Every child deserves, and has a basic human right to, proper care and protection

Where children are orphaned, or identified as being at high risk for neglect or abuse, they are placed with temporary safety parents by the department’s social workers via a court process, and thereafter into longer term foster care by court order in the event that an investigation confirms this is needed.

Foster care is defined as the placement of a child who has been removed from, or lost his or her family/guardian/s, into the care of a suitable family or person willing to be foster parents.

Who qualifies to be a foster child?

The child must meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Under 18 at the time of placement

  • have been abandoned or orphaned and be without visible means of support

  • be living on the streets or begging for a living

  • have been exploited or exposed to exploitation

  • be at risk of harm and/or neglect if returned to the custody of the parent, guardian or care-giver

  • be 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.

Who qualifies to be a foster parent?

To qualify as a foster parent, a person must be:

  • 18 years or older

  • fit and proper, which is determined by a screening process to check criminal records and the child protection register for any actions that may render the person unsuitable to work with children

  • willing and able to look after the child

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

A child can be fostered for the period indicated in the court order. Once the indicated period of the court order has lapsed, the children’s court magistrate may, after reviewing the recommendation from the social worker, extend the period of the court order or return the child to his or her parents/guardian/s.

If you’re interested in becoming a safety or foster parent, you can contact your nearest Regional Social Development office or contact the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.


The content on this page was last updated on 31 May 2019