My sister and I went to stay with different maternal aunts after our parents started to have financial problems.
The Children’s Court Inquiry was finalized and I was placed with my maternal aunt and her husband in a different province. I went to visit my parents from time to time but were returned to my aunt on private arrangement.
After my foster parents got divorced the placement failed and I was placed in safe care with Mr and Mrs Z (not related).
Mrs Z, sent me to be professionally assessed by a social worker. The social worker’s report stated that I was exposed to family violence, alcohol abuse and possible sexual games in our house.
I was then assessed again and for the first time I could open up and tell the truth. I confirmed that it was true. I had to mention that my elder brother sexually molested me, I told my mother but she ignored it.
I maintained an average of 80% at school and enjoyed a lot of different sport activities. I was comfortable with my placement and have a strong bond with my new family and feel that I belong.
I have contact with my mother via phone calls but do not feel comfortable with physical contact.
With all the support from my foster parents, the social worker and my new family, I finished matric a year ago and are now studying at Potchefstroom University.
I see a bright future for myself.
Foster care includes stability, a better support system for the child, and the foster parents making a difference.
My parents had no proper accommodation and lived in very bad circumstances. My mother tested positive for Dagga and Crystal Meth and my father could not take proper care of me.
Because there were no close family that could take proper care of me, the social worker explained to my biological parents that I had to be placed in temporary safe care. My parents visited me for the first time at the Place of Safety House and I was very emotional.
My parents attended the Children’s Court Proceedings and afterwards visited me at the Place of Safety House and the visit went well. My parents could not visit me during the lockdown for Covid-19 pandemic but could phone me. My parents had to follow the rules of the Place of Safety House.
I have adjusted well to the structure and the routine of my Place of Safety House. I have contact on a regular base with my biological parents but I enjoy going back to play with the other toddlers at my Place of Safety House. With my last visit under the supervision of the social worker my mother again tested positive for drugs.
The social workers introduced me to Mr and Mrs X, who would like to become my Foster parents. I enjoyed it to play with Mr and Mrs X.
Mr and Mrs X is busy with the application and screening process to become my Foster parents.
Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.
This is my story….
My biological father does not have contact with me and his current whereabouts are unknown. My mother refuses to share information about my biological father.
My mother got married again. I was removed from their care. My parents both abused drugs and we were also exposed to drugs.
I was abused in to such an extent, that when I was “naughty”, my parents would not give me food. We were then placed in temporary safe care and later placed in foster care. These placements have been challenging.
I experienced developmental difficulties, being severally traumatized and there are ongoing conflict between my foster parents and my parents.
The conflict between my foster parents and biological parents has calmed down, due to the fact that the social workers made it clear that contact will take place through the professionals.
My placement however, have been successful up to date. I don’t know what my future holds in for me but I will keep on praying that somehow I will be happy as a grown-up.
Some abusers never leave external marks. However if you could see the marks they leave on our souls, you would recoil in horror.
A Pretoria boy who spent seven years in foster care, was recently reunited with his mother.
“At age seven he was removed from his family home due to severe violence. The entire family was at risk – one of the worst cases we have ever seen,” explains the social worker who supported the boy all this time. “But his story is a story of hope: we never give up” says Henda van der Merwe, director of CMR Gauteng-Oos.
Kobus* (nom de plume) struggled initially – as a result of the trauma he experienced at such a young age; he had many emotional and behavioural problems to overcome,” she explains.
“His caregivers at the foster home had a very trying time with his anger problems, anxiety and suicide attempts. Such a road is not an easy one and demands more than just love and patience.”
CMR Gauteng-Oos supports their foster parents with ongoing training and emotional support and in cases like this young boy – the impact on the foster family is carefully monitored and problems are addressed.
“The CMR, a registered Child Protection Organisation with statutory powers, aim to keep families together and manages to reunite families despite the common impression that we just remove children from their homes,” explains van der Merwe.
“Circumstances like child molestation or -neglect leads to a court order which instructs organisations like CMR Gauteng-Oos to remove the child. The child is taken to a place of safety and can be placed in a foster home, Industrial School or Children’s Home, following careful investigation into what would be best for the individual child. Children are only returned to their homes if the circumstances have changed in a positive way and if deemed in the interest of the child.
Kobus and his mother were quite nervous before reuniting, says the social worker who assisted them with the reuniting process.
What led to this happening? He wrote his mother a letter in which he asked her to answer his many questions about his background. She had only had telephonic contact with the social worker, but after receiving the letter, she expressed the wish to have her son living with her. Both of them received counselling to prepare them emotionally.
Van der Merwe concludes: “In accordance with the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005) we try in all cases not to alienate a child from his parents. Social workers have to keep the child in contact with the parents, with the help of his ‘new parents’. A working agreement, prepared by the social worker, is entered into, and signed by all parties. A child’s story can become a success story. Kobus’ story is such a story of hope and success.”
CMR Gauteng-Oos currently supports almost 900 children in foster care.
If you’d like to make a donation toward our organisation you can click here
Every bit of help goes a long way and we thank you for caring!
A maternal grandfather brought his two grandchildren to a CMR social worker after their mother passed away. The children had no birth certificates and as result they were not admitted to the nearest school. The school that did admit them was far from home and the travelling cost was taking up all their money.
The social worker made them a priority and a home visit was scheduled. Upon arrival she was informed that the grandfather also passed away. He was the only breadwinner in the family. The children’s uncle is completing his grade 12. He was willing to take the children in his care. Several times the uncle was found by the social worker selling mielies and chicken feet on the street corner after school.
The social worker with the help of the social auxiliary worker asked for permission to take the children to a district surgeon for age assessment. The children were included in the annual CMR Ivory Park holiday project. This is specifically for children in need of care on the CMR Ivory Park case load.
Various service providers are invited to attend and give educational talks to the children during the holidays. This case was discussed with the presiding officer at the children’s court. The social workers’ report was submitted to the court and the case was finalised. Court orders were issued together with a form so that the social worker can assist the client with birth certificates application. The social worker took the birth certificate application to Home Affairs that sent them back to the local Hospital for notification of birth. The Hospital confirmed that the children were born in the hospital.
It was a relief when the social worker finally received a call from Home Affairs informing her that the birth certificates were ready to be collected. At last the uncle can now apply for foster care grant in respect of the children concerned, he will be able to concentrate fully in his school work and the children can attend school.
Tsepo’s* story is an example of the important work social workers are doing.
Cases like this motivates social workers tremendously and make that burned out and emotional moments worth it.
Tsepo* is a 13-year old boy who lost both parents due to HIV / AIDS. After the death of his mother, he was placed in foster care with his grandmother in Centurion. The grandmother works as a housekeeper and receives a small income.
Tsepo* is also HIV-positive. He travels alone by train or taxi to the Attridgeville clinic to receive his medication. His grandmother usually gives him extra money so that he can buy lunch. Tsepo* never uses this money for himself. He uses it for another taxi ride to visit his baby half-brother to make sure he is well cared for. If the baby needs something, Tsepo* provides the remaining money to contribute. Tsepo* has also contacted the social worker when he was worried about his half-brother.
Tsepo’s* warm heart helped us to realize that caring does not require a lot of money and that even a child can reach out to people in need.
*Name changed to protect identiy