Who we are
Cape Town Child Welfare Society is South Africa’s oldest and second-largest child welfare organisation. Since 1908, we have helped over a million children emerge from crisis situations ranging from drug/alcohol abuse, poverty, homelessness and crime, to severe neglect and physical and sexual abuse.
Our overriding goal is to ensure the survival and protection of children at risk – to help them break the cycle of despair in their lives, so that, ultimately, they are free to live fruitful, productive lives as flourishing members of society.
Daily, around 40 new cases come through the doors of our five intake offices across the Cape Peninsula. Over the last two years, Cape Town Child Welfare Society has begun to move away from a holistic approach to a highly specialized child welfare organisation again due to the demands of the new Children’s Act 38 of 2005 which was implemented in 2010. All our skills and experience have been put into developing the best possible child protection organisation.
Cape Town Child Welfare Society is proud to count Desmond Tutu as its patron, and to be closely affiliated with the International Forum for Child Welfare. In general, we are widely recognized for our role in the protection and upliftment of children.
We promote the well being of all children, predominantly those in poor socio-economic communities by protecting those in crisis and at risk, enhancing the capacity of families and communities to protect and develop their children and empowering children to claim their rights and accept their responsibilities. We network with other service providers for the benefit of the children and contribute to the development of National and International policies and legislation regarding children.
What we do
The organization is starting to take up its rightful place as one of the most respected and trusted agencies to champion the cause for a safe and nurturing society for all citizens, with a special focus on children.
We offer a variety of services to the community – e.g. adoption services, foster care placements, intake and referral services, investigations and intervention and family preservation services.
Our intake unit responds to children in crisis and is similar to the casualty unit at a hospital which has a highly pressurized working environment. It therefore requires experienced and caring staff complement who are able to think on their feet in crisis situations.
Once an initial risk and safety assessment has been completed by this unit, the matter will either be closed or transferred to one of two units depending on the outcome of the risk assessment. If the child is found to be at risk, it will be referred to our investigations unit to conduct an investigation and take the matter to court. Although there are concerns regarding the child’s well-being in this situation, there are sufficient protective factors which, if strengthened, will mitigate any risks to the child in the future. The case will be transferred to the Intervention unit for family strengthening programs.
In those instances where statutory intervention is inevitable the child will be placed either in foster care or adoption. The unit responsible for foster care will provide monitoring and supportive services to children placed in foster care to ensure that they recover from the circumstances which resulted in their removal from their biological parents. They are also required to provide services to the biological parents of these children in order to preserve family ties where this is in the best interest of the child.
Where children have been orphaned or abandoned the best permanency plan is adoption and therefore we have specialized adoption unit who are responsible for the recruitment; screening and training of adoptive parents. In addition, they also provide counselling services to birth parents who are contemplating relinquishing their children for adoption to ensure that they have considered all options before embarking on such a drastic course of action.
Due to the increase in single parents the organization also offers contact, care and mediation services to parents who are experiencing difficulties with co-parenting.
Why we do it
On the 4/06/2019 the Cape Times reported that Red Cross Children’s Hospital dealt with
273 abused and neglected children within the first five months of this year alone as follows:
- 88 cases of physical abuse,
- 66 of neglect,
- 45 of sexual abuse,
- 6 of abandonment,
- 11 of children at risk,
- 18 incidents of dog bites,
- 17 gunshot injures and
- 22 burns.”
The majority of these abuse and neglect cases are referred to CTCWS for further investigation which correlates with a noted increase in the caseloads of our social workers. These investigations identified parental neglect as associated with substance abuse as being the primary cause for the harm being experienced by our children within vulnerable communities on the Cape Flats in particular. In almost all cases a common theme emerges of the basic physical and emotional needs of these children just not being met.
The following stats were also reported in an article entitled
“The World most dangerous city”
in the Sunday Times dated the 30/06/2019.
1 230 suspected murders Jan 2019 until April 2019,
10.66 murders a day,
3 893 projected murders for 2019 if the current statistics continues.
These murders are being committed primarily within Manenberg, Hanover Park, Lotus River, Ottery, Kensington and Bonteheuwel.
What is happening in these communities have been equated to civil war. Apparently five nights out of seven, gun fire goes off and people have to lie on the floor until it stops.
CTCWS areas of operation are Manenberg, Hanover Park, Lotus River and Ottery.
Our social workers whose average ages range from between 23 yrs to 30yrs risk their lives on a daily basis to enter these dangerous communities in order to protect children identified as being at risk within these communities.