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Parliament Briefed on Foster Care Court Orders

September 6, 2019

Portfolio Committee on Social Development

6 September 2019

The portfolio committee on social development has requested the social development department to come up with a detailed turnaround plan setting out how backlogs on foster care court orders will be cleared by 28 November 2019.

The request follows a briefing by the department on the backlog in the foster care programme, progress made to reduce it and plans to further manage the programme.

According to the department, the aim of foster care is to “provide care and protection to children in a nurturing, safe and healthy environment with positive support”.

It also “targets children who are found to be in need of care and protection by the Children’s Courts, placing them in the care of a cluster foster care scheme, unrelated person or a family member other than their biological parents”.

A number of court orders instructed the department to extend foster care orders administratively as the backlog of lapsed orders was not completed.

The latest extension is set to lapse on 28 November 2019.

The North Gauteng High Court ordered the department to prepare and table in parliament the necessary amendments to the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 and/or the Social Assistance Act 13 of 2014 in order to produce a comprehensive legal solution regarding the foster care system.

The committee called on the department to table the Draft Social Assistance Amendment Bill and the Draft Children’s Amendment Bill to ensure that the department complies with the court orders.

A Draft Social Assistance Amendment Bill was tabled in parliament in 2018 but it lapsed at the end of the 5th parliament.

In its briefing, the department called on the committee to support the tabling of the Draft Children’s Amendment Bill designed to support the foster care programme.