The case became known to CTCWS Khayelitsha when the Social Worker Mrs. Neliswa Roloma was conducting a home visit in Site C and saw the child concerned Siya* roaming around the streets and not at school. She then asked the child to come the social workers office with his parents the following day.
On the 13.02.2019 Sabulela and his biological father turned up at the office.
The biological father reported that Siya and his sibling were abandoned with him by their biological mother without birth certificates. Their biological mother never had an Identity Document as a result she could not register their births at the Department of Home Affairs. Because the parents were married according to customary law, the biological father made several attempts to register the children at the DOH but unsuccessfully. He was told to produce paternity test results first before the application for birth certificates could be processed
He could not afford to pay for the paternity test because he was unemployed.
Interview with Siya:
- He reported that he was not attending school.
- He was taken out of school in 2017 when he was doing Grade 4 at Isikhokelo Primary School in Site C Khayelitsha because he did not have a birth certificate. All attempts to apply for a birth certificate for him at the Department of Home affairs were unsuccessful. The whole year in 2018 he was not at school.
Interview with sibling of Siya
- He also reported that he was not attending school.
- He was also taken out of school in 2016 when he was in Grade 1 at Sivile Primary School Ikhwezi Park in Khayelitsha. He did not have a birth certificate as the result he was not at school for 2 years
INTERVENTION BY THE DESIGNATED SOCIAL WORKER:
A risk assessment conducted validated allegations of abandonment by the biological mother. The assessment also confirmed allegations of neglect by the biological father who was abusing alcohol and leaving children unsupervised. The children were found to be at risk and in need of care and protection. Both children were taken for a medical assessment and one was found to be underweight for his age which was indicative of neglect.
The children were subsequently removed from their biological father’s care and placed in Temporary Safe Care pending further investigations. The Temporary Safe Care order was issued on the 18.02.2019.
The matter was discussed with the Presiding Officer Khayelitsha Children’s Court as there was concern about the children not attending school due to absence of birth certificates. The social worker was advised to compile a CCH report and request age estimation. The Presiding Officer will issue a Form 8 that must be taken to the Department of Home Affairs to facilitate the application of birth certificates,
Since both children were not at school, the case manager took it upon herself to find placement at school for them although the first quarter had already started
- On the 18.02.2019 the case manager visited Isikhokelo Primary to seek placement for Siya. She was told that the child could not be accommodated as there was place for Grade 1 learners only.
- On the 20.02.2019 the case manager visited Sivile Primary for placement of both children. The Principal told her that the case will be referred to the School’s Task Team who must decide which Grades the children must be admitted to since they last attended school in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
On the 05.03.2019 the Principal at Sivile contacted the case manager to inform her that both children must be taken to Intshayelelo Primary School Khayelitsha for an assessment by the school Psychologist and School Social Worker.
On the 26.03.2019 the case manager contacted the Principal for the outcome of the assessment. She was informed that the children can start at school when the school re-opens on the 02.04.2019. Siya was placed in Grade 5 and his sibling in Grade 2.
- The case manager had a further meeting with the respective educators about stationery for the children and to establish what measures were going to be put in place to assist the children in catching up with the schoolwork or projects that they have missed
Although the children were accepted at school without birth certificates, the school is content with the fact that the case manager is doing her best to facilitate the application process and issuing of birth certificates for the children concerned.
The social worker managed to ensure that all the needs of the children concerned are met. All the units conducted meetings with beneficiaries in their areas. Community members were happy to be included in these discussions.
* Name has been changed to protect child’s privacy