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Parliament Briefed on Foster Care Progress Report

April 20, 2021

Department of Social Development

Child care and protection structures are in place that seek to facilitate engagement with stakeholders on the North Gauteng High Court Order on foster care.

The social development department revealed this in a briefing in parliament on the foster care progress report on the implementation of the high court order.

Other issues highlighted during the briefing include continuous engagement with national treasury on funding for implementation of the Child Support top up grant, the strengthening of the monitoring system via the deployment of a web based foster care monitoring tool that has a warning system aimed to strengthen the management of foster care orders that are due to lapse and provision for overtime work in order to fast track the process of issuing responses to the Child Protection Register’s form 30.

The department also pointed out that Draft Children’s Amendment Bill Regulations have been drawn up and consultations with key stakeholders will take place during the 2021/22 financial year.

The bill was tabled on 31 August 2020 and is currently before the portfolio committee on social development.

The bill aims to amend the Children’s Act, 2005, so as to:

• amend and insert certain definitions;
• provide for children’s right to privacy and protection of information;
• further provide for the rights of unmarried fathers;
• extend the children’s court jurisdiction;
• further provide for funding of early childhood development programmes;
• provide for the designation and functions for a Registrar of the National Child Protection Register;
• further provide for the care of abandoned or orphaned children and additional matters that may be regulated;
• further provide for rules relating to care and protection proceedings;
• further provide for medical testing of children in need of care and protection or adoption;
• provide for additional matters relating to children in alternative care;
• further provide for matters relating to adoption and inter-country adoption;
• further provide for the hearing of child abduction matters;
• further provide for matters relating to surrogate motherhood; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

In terms of the Social Assistance Amendment Act, signed by president Ramaphosa in December 2020, a final Socio-Economic Impact Assessment sign off dated 31/03/2021 has been received from the presidency.

Draft Regulations were published for comment in January 2021.

According to the department, proclamation of the act will be promulgated concurrently with the final Regulations.

In terms of addressing the foster care backlog, overall progress made by the end of February 2021 is 35 962 with a deviation of 38 113 foster care orders carried over to March for processing and finalisation.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the department announced that the cap that was placed on Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in terms of the Employment Stimulus Relief Fund where up to only four employees were going to be paid for ECD centres and only one employee was going to be paid for non-centre-based services has been removed.

As a consequence, ECD services that have passed all the necessary verifications will now receive funding for all the employees that they applied for.

“The value of the payment for each employee is R4 186 which is a significant boost to assist the ECD sector which has been one of the hardest hit as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.”

The department called on all ECD services that have received notification to update their information to do so by 7 May 2021.