The Department of Social Development has appointed a committee to look at the abuse of children placed in foster care, Minister Bathabile Dlamini announced on Wednesday.
Addressing social work practitioners at the National Social Work Indaba, Minister Dlamini said there were issues that needed attention with regards to foster care, one of them was the abuse of children.
“There must be a way of finding out what is going on with our kids … we have to put the best interests of our children first,” Minister Dlamini said.
The committee will also tackle issues such as children not being taken care of properly while families continue to draw foster care grants, a recent court judgment regarding the renewal of foster care grants which are delayed due to a massive backlog, invalid orders from SASSA, and generally cutting the red tape around foster care.
The committee will explore extending the foster care grant beyond the age of 18 as long as the child is still at school or studying.
The National Social Work Indaba, which started on Tuesday, is being held under the theme “Revitalising social work practice in South Africa”. The indaba aims to develop proposals and interventions aimed at addressing factors that impact on social work practice.
The Minister emphasised the need to strengthen mentoring among social workers as well as understanding policy.
“All social workers must understand the legislation, regulations that have to do with the Department of Social Development. No one will lift the profession except social workers … don’t expect someone else to do the work for you, this we have to do ourselves,” the Minister challenged social workers.
She urged the South African Council for Social Service Professions to protect social workers and engage with them throughout the country.
Minister Dlamini said the department was working on the absorption of young social workers into the department. “What we are trying to do right now is to look at how we are going to engage with those young social workers, because they have now become despondent.”
During the commissions held earlier in the day, social workers raised concerns regarding training, Minister Dlamini raised a need to find out if they can have a scholarship for masters and doctorate in social work.
“It’s not going to help to just recruit social workers and let them study degrees, but let’s also find out if we can have scholarship for masters and doctorate. Whilst we are doing that, more of us must do research and more of us must write about us.”
During the gala dinner event, social workers lit candles and read the social work professional oath.
South African Council for Social Service Professions President, Dr Zethu Mkhize, who led the oath, insisted that social work is about strictly adhering to the code of ethics.
Source : SAnews.gov.za