FOSTER GRANTS IS STILL A STRUGGLE FOR SOME
By: Phumzile Tshabalala
Finding a welcoming home, where they will have a feeling of belonging is a dream come true for some foster children.
The government is already helping with the foster care grant, which helps foster parents to take care of the children. Receiving the foster grant though still remains a mystery for some foster children.
In 2007 Catherine Nomhlolo Buthelezi, a retired Baragwanath Hospital porter in Diepkloof Soweto, took in two of her deceased sister’s grandchildren.
She followed the process of getting them into the system and applied for foster care grant in which a social worker was appointed to deal with the case. Ever since then, it has been a waiting game for Catherine.
Although she did receive a guardianship, she has not received the foster care grant.
According to the social worker Bongeka Mkhize who is handling the case, she said that there are so many cases that fall under the raider at times because social workers have so many
cases to deal with and unfortunately the children suffer from it all.
Mkhize believes that in her six years of being a social worker, the struggle of children not receiving their grants in time is only because of the same problem … there are not enough social workers.
According to the Department of Social Development guideline, the application may take up to three months to process. If approved, the recipient shall then be paid from the date the
court placed the child in their care.
Iris Thokozile Mawela (65) is an unemployed grandmother who also took in her deceased daughter’s child back in 2005. Just like everyone else Mawela, also applied and followed
procedure. She was approved by the court and has lived with her granddaughter up to this day.
“My oldest son has been helping me all these years and thank God that now I also receive the old age grant to keep us alive,” she said.
Brenda Morole, a Zone Counsellor stands to believe that “too many orphans not enough social workers” excuse has been over used as a crutch to avoid the real problem that our
system is a failure to society.
“Many foster children and their guardians go years without foster care grant after being promised. We cannot blame that on not having enough people to assist them,” She said.
Morole is gathering a report to show the local government.
In her report she wants to show how majority of foster children living with their approved foster parents go years with any financial assistance. Morole will also show a pattern she believes to have identified within these children, and she will also show how she has tried to assist them, in any way she can.
Social worker Tiny Sithole begs to differ with Brenda.
“It is not an excuse. We do have too many orphans and there is only so little of us.
We always try our best to cover each case carefully and rightfully. That’s our constant struggle,” said Sithole.
The struggle continues for some foster parents and guardians who rely on little that they have until the system recognises them.