Fostering a Child

Description:

Foster care is the placement of child, who needs to be removed from the parental home, into the custody of a suitable family or person willing to be foster parents. This is done by order of the Children's Court.

 

Children can be removed from their parents if they are abused, neglected or abandoned.

 

  1. Who can foster a child?
  2. What are the rights and responsibilities of a foster parent?
  3. What financial support is there for foster parents?
  4. How do you apply to be a foster parent?
  5. What legal processes do you go through (if any)?

 

1. WHO CAN FOSTER A CHILD?

 

A person who has been screened and found to be fit and proper to be a foster parent by a Social Worker from the Department of Social Development or Designated Child Protection Organization and undergoes training can foster a child or children.

 

 

2. WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A FOSTER PARENT?

 

 

  • Maintain and care for the child.
  • Grant reasonable access to the child's biological parents.

 

Placement in foster care gives foster parents the responsibility to care for the child, which includes disciplining the child. However, this does NOT include the power to:

  • Deal with any property belonging to the child.
  • Consent to the marriage of the child.

 

Foster parents may not remove a child out of South Africa without the approval of the Provincial MEC for Social Development/Minister for Social Development.

 

 

 

3. WHAT FINANCIAL SUPPORT IS THERE FOR FOSTER PARENTS?

The child is maintained by means of a foster child grant paid by the state to the foster parents.

The natural parents of the child also have a duty to contribute to the child's maintenance, through an order of court called a contribution order.

Instructions:

4. HOW DO YOU APPLY TO BE A FOSTER PARENT?

Contact the Department of Social Development's Regional Office or Service Point in your area. A Designated Child Protection Organization can also be contacted. The intake worker will arrange for you to be screened by a social worker operating in your area. The screening involves interviews and a visit to your home.

Factors taken into account in the screening include the age of the prospective foster parents, their health, the family composition, the suitability of accommodation, the general environment and closeness of schools and public transport.

Other aspects considered are the prospective foster parents' views about child rearing and education, their ability to accept responsibility, their attitude towards the natural parents, and their motivation to foster a child.

However, the choice of foster home for a particular child depends on the needs of a child. For example, if a particular child is already acquainted with and emotionally attached to a particular foster parent candidate, this will be an important factor to consider when doing the assessment. Religious and cultural factors will also be considered for each child.

 

 

5. WHAT LEGAL PROCESSES DO YOU GO THROUGH (IF ANY)?

 

Before a children's court places a child in foster care by court order in terms of section 156, the court must consider a report by a designated social worker about:

 

 

  • the cultural, religious and linguistic background of the child; and
  • the availability of a suitable person with a similar background to that of the child who is willing and able to provide foster care to the child.

 

A child may be placed in the foster care of a person from a different cultural, religious and linguistic background to that of the child, but only if:

 

  • there is an existing bond between that person and the child; or
  • a suitable and willing person with a similar background is not readily available to provide foster care to the child.
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)
The content on this page was last updated on 28 September 2017