There is a desperate shortage of foster care parents in South Africa.
The main reasons that frighten potential foster care givers away are because the biological parents and even in some cases great parents, stay involved; and that the child might not stay with them. Yet they are expected to invest hugely in the child emotionally and financially. It is an unparalleled commitment, with few guarantees.
By and large, the children who are placed in foster homes are more challenging – they have been exposed to numerous traumatic situations/events, and have developmental asswell as emotional delays due to neglect and the aforementioned trauma. It’s also a complicated process, because their biological parents are involved, and visits by the parents are encouraged to maintain their relationship, but these visits can upset the children all over again.
‘Fostering is not a route into adoption’, says Sue Krawits, the director of Impilo child Protection and Adoption Services. ‘It does happen, because the foster parents would have the first option to adopt should it be a possibility, but no one should go into fostering with that agenda,’ she warns.
Should you be interested in becoming a foster parent, you’ll need to meet certain criteria, and go through a screening process. You’ll have to work closely with social workers, who will have access to your house at short notice.
‘Foster parenting is a very selfless thing to do and you’ve got to be quite insightful about why you’re doing it,’ Sue warns.
– For more information on Impilo Child Protection and Adoption Services, contact them on (011) 640-1343 / http://www.impilo.org.za