In recent years, Cape Town Child Welfare Society’s adoption practices have evolved in response to changing societal needs. The organisation remains actively involved in placing children who cannot be raised by their biological families with adoptive parents – people who will provide them with the love and security of a nurturing, caring family life.
At the same time, a lot of work is also being carried out to assist birth mothers keep their children. In many instances, children are put up for adoption because their mothers have extremely limited income, are already supporting a number of other children, do not have a supportive relationship with the birth father or are HIV positive.
Cape Town Child Welfare Society believes that, with the right support, these are all issues which can be addressed. To this end, we strive to ensure that mothers wishing to place their children for adoption are provided with:
- Intensive counselling;
- Job skills training (through which they are able to generate income);
- Access to community resources (in terms of emotional and financial support); and
- Basic requirements, such as food and clothing.
Cape Town Child Welfare Society has also challenged traditional South African adoption practices, which have tended to favour white, middle-class adopters at the expense of poorer families and families from diverse cultures. In fact, the organisation vigorously promotes adoption in non-white communities, enabling and encouraging these families to adopt children, and providing necessary support.
Other features of the Cape Town Child Welfare Society adoption programme:
- Community volunteers (usually adoptive parents) are actively involved in recruiting suitable prospective adoptive parents and lobbying around adoption issues, while providing support for other adoptive parents and prospective adopters.
- All prospective adoptive parents undergo a careful screening process. After this, they receive intensive training, equipping them with the child care skills to meet the challenges of adoption. (community volunteers are actively involved in providing both training and additional support.)
- Cape Town Child Welfare Society is involved in numerous community education campaigns around adoption issues.
- “Emergency parents” are recruited and trained to care for parentless children on a temporary basis.
- Instead of focusing on the needs of childless couples, attention has been shifted to the needs of parentless children, especially those with special needs.