South Africa: MEC Albert Fritz Calls On Citizens to Lobby Against Anti-Adoption Bill

press release

The MEC of Social Development, Albert Fritz, is calling on all NGOs, child care professionals and citizens interested in the wellbeing of vulnerable children to lobby against the third amendment Bill to the Children's Act of 2005.

Sections 249 and 259 of the Bill will make it nearly impossible for adoptions to be facilitated. Section 249 outlines the stakeholders who are able to charge fees in relation to adoptions whereas section 259 outlines those who are able to perform international adoptions. To see the gazette, click here.

These amendments will make it impossible to facilitate adoptions because:

South African social workers have exceedingly high caseloads, well over 100 on average, despite norms and standards recommending a maximum of 60. In developed countries, social workers are allocated between 20 to 30 children. Social workers will have to make more time for adoptions.

Accredited child protection organisations, adoption social workers, lawyers, psychologists and other associated professionals will not be able to charge for their expertise - not even to reclaim costs.

By making government-employed social workers responsible for processing adoptions, we risk the closure of many social work practices and NGOs which provide adoption services. In the Western Cape, there are seven organisations providing adoptive services on behalf of the Western Cape Department of Social Development. In total, 86 social workers are employed by these organisations, who would otherwise be unemployed.

In the Western Cape there are currently less than 10 privately registered specialists in adoption. These specialists are registered by the South African Council for Social Service Professionals. Vast professional expertise will be lost and adoptable children will miss out on a stable and loving home.

Minister Fritz said, "In South Africa there are approximately 3.7 million vulnerable and orphaned children who will not have access to stable and loving home in the event that this Bill becomes an Act. The Bill is expected to be introduced into the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces after the General Election on 8 May 2019. In the meantime, I call on businesses, NGOs and caring adults to lobby the necessary stakeholders who will take part in the public hearings and the deliberation of the Bill itself. These stakeholders include members of parliament in the select and portfolio committees for social development, the child protection organisations who will attend the public hearings, the Minister of Social Development, Susan Shabangu, and even the Presidency. The public can lobby these stakeholders through written letters; social, print and online media; and even phone calls."

Minister Fritz further added, "Representatives in the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces work for you, the public. They were appointed to represent your point of view, not their own. It is imperative that you make them aware that this Bill is not in your interest or in the interest of South African children. I encourage you to reach out to any and all stakeholders involved in this process to ensure that adoption does not become a thing of the past, but rather continues to support and uplift the many vulnerable children of our province and country."

Under the leadership of Minister Fritz, the Western Cape Department of Social Development will continue to ensure that children receive the necessary child care and protection measures.

Issued by: Western Cape Social Development

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