Foster care. Image:

Foster care. Image:

Foster care: Social Development gets deadline for backlog of court orders

The turnaround plan is scheduled for 28 November 2019.

Foster care. Image:

Foster care. Image:

The Department of Social Development received a deadline from its portfolio committee on Wednesday, for a turnaround plan regarding the backlog of foster care court orders.

Portfolio Committee is unsure if social development will meet the proposed deadline

Portfolio Committee on Social Development is anxious about the department’s capability to meet deadlines set by Gauteng’s High Court on foster care court orders.

Gauteng High Court has given the department three deadline extensions regarding this matter, which include interim interventions to better manage backlogs on foster care orders.

A turnaround plan has to surface to prove how the court orders will be processed

The committee demanded that social development present a detailed turnaround plan, that shows how court orders will be cleared by 28 November 2019.

There are major repercussions if social development fails to meet the required deadline; as the department’s legal requirement is to implement foster care as stipulated by South Africa’s Children’s Act.

“Failure to implement this legal requirement will have legal implications. This is why the department must table the amendments of the Social Assistance Amendment Bill and the Children’s Act Amendment Bill, to ensure that the department complies with court orders.”

Department of Social Development

The foster care court orders epidemic

Portfolio Committee summoned social development to meet the proposed deadline; as interim interventions implemented are not sufficient for the current backlog of foster care court orders.

In a report, the Department of Social Development stated that foster care was a directive intervention programme that placed minors into foster care homes through a court order.

It also revealed that there are several court orders regarding the minors, and in October 2017; around 478 158 children were receiving foster child grants.

Active measures were implemented to aid childcare services

“There were orders related to the North Gauteng High Court on Section 176 that concerned 18-year-old children, and orders in terms of Section 159 of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 as amended, respectively. The challenges emanated from the fact that in July 2010, the South African Social Security Agency had submitted a list of 299 076 foster children with lapsed foster care orders when the children were retained and receiving child grants. Due to the backlog, the Department had been litigated.”

Department of Social Development

Social development also implemented inter-sectoral partnerships with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to readdress challenges faced by the Child Care Act and to strengthen foster care services.