Foster Care

 

Our Foster Care and Re-integration Department is responsible for the recruitment, screening and training of foster parents, as well as the supervision and monitoring of foster care placements.

Re-integration services are rendered to biological parents of children in alternative care (i.e. those in foster care and children’s homes). The monitoring and supervision of children who have been returned to the care of their parents is also undertaken for a period of two years.

If you met the criteria and are willing to open your heart and your home to a child in need, we would love to hear from you.

 

Q & A

Want to know more about Foster Care? Contact us on 011 298 8500 or fostercare@jhbchildwelfare.org.za

  • What is foster care?

    Foster care is provided for children whose biological parents are unable to care for them. This form of care is a preferred alternative to a child being placed in a residential child care facility, as it is hoped that the foster parents would provide an ideal family environment, love and care.

  • Who are foster children?

    A foster child is a child who has been removed from his/her biological parents and legally placed in the care of foster parents. These children are in need of care as a result of severe neglect and/or abuse; abandonment; parental alcohol and/or drug abuse; physical or mental illness of a child's parents; parental incompetence, as well as poverty, unemployment or homelessness of the parents.

  • Is foster care a long term commitment?

    Foster care may be short- or long-term, depending on the circumstances. Whilst foster care is, in many instances, a temporary substitute for family care, it is not uncommon for a foster care placement to be permanent.

  • What is temporary safe care or an emergency home?

    Temporary safe care or an emergency home is where a child is sometimes placed immediately after they are removed from their biological parents' care. Whilst a child is in a place of safety, the social worker conducts his/her investigation and a decision is reached regarding long-term plans for the child. A child may remain in a place of safety for a maximum of six months. Place of safety parents should be prepared to accept a child at short notice.

  • What is the role of a foster parent?

    A foster care parent is expected to provide food, shelter and personal care to the child; guide, discipline and teach the child values and norms; provide for the child's educational needs; work in partnership with the social worker; ensure the child's physical and social needs are met; allow the child's biological parents access to their child and provide the child with a safe, stable and loving family environment.

  • What are the criteria to become foster parent?

    To qualify as a foster parent, one needs to have a stable income; be able to provide suitable accommodation; be physically healthy and mentally stable; have no criminal record; be able to provide character and medical references; and attend compulsory training and be resident in Johannesburg or Randburg Magisterial Districts. Applicants may be married, divorced, widowed or single and hetero- or homosexual. If one's initial application is successful, they will be subject to a period of thorough screening by a social worker, during which home and office visits are undertaken. Prospective foster parents also need to attend training on Saturdays. This training is aimed at better equipping foster parents by covering topics such as: what foster care entails; incorporating a foster child into your family, child care practices and how to care for children with a traumatic past or special needs; and the foster child grant. Please note that the screening process is the same for those persons wishing to provide an emergency home/temporary safe care as it is for fully-fledged foster care parents.

  • How long will the screening process take?

    An average of 6 weeks.

  • Do foster parents receive financial compensation?

    Yes, a monthly state grant is paid to foster parents. This grant can only be used for the benefit of the child in foster care and, as such, any abuse of the grant is treated very seriously and could result in the child/ren being removed from the foster parent's care.

  • What are the ages of children who go into foster care?

    JCW arranges placements for newborn babies up to children of 12 years of age.

  • Can I choose the child that comes into my care?

    No. Social workers will match children with foster parents. Social workers are, however, mindful of your preferences – sex and age, etc. – and will consider your existing family dynamics.

  • Does JCW offer ongoing support for foster parents and children?

    JCW is legally obliged to monitor and supervise all of its foster care placements. This also entails providing re-integration services to the child's biological parents and renewing court orders. In addition, JCW facilitates group meetings during holiday periods and over weekends. During these group sessions, children are taught life skills and therapy is provided where behaviour modification is required. These group sessions provide a level of support for foster parents, who are able to share their experiences with one another.

  • What is the most difficult aspect of foster care?

    We have found that, for the most part, the hardest aspect for foster parents is saying goodbye to their foster child. Foster parents form meaningful relationships with the children in their care, yet have to at all times accept that those children may one day leave to return to their biological parents.

  • How is foster care different from adoption?

    Foster care is considered temporary care, where foster parents care for children, but cannot sign legal documents. Involvement of biological parents is encouraged and foster parents cannot change a child’s name and surname. All foster parents are eligible for financial assistance from the state.