Monday, 31 August 2020

Parents are Important! #ValuableParents


This September-month, Child Welfare Tshwane is boldly stepping out with a clear message that PARENTS are important in the lives of children. The parent-child relationship is the channel through which everything flows – love, care, protection, safety, support, and encouragement. Children are dependent on their parents for survival on all levels of their being. In the chaos of our daily lives, parents may start to feel that they are only there to make sure that their children are clothed, fed, and get to school. We want to remind you of the VALUE you have as a parent – it is a value that cannot be quantified. It is a value that speaks not only to the physical needs of children but also to the very heart of children.

At Child Welfare Tshwane we understand the VALUE of a parent. As a Child Protection Organisation, it is our responsibility to help children where parents are not able to look after and care for them – in cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. We also step in where children are without parents – orphaned or abandoned. We stand in the gap for these parents because we believe that every child deserves to have parents who protect and loves them. At Child Welfare Tshwane we offer a variety of “parenting” services to our local communities:

  • Mediation – where parents are separating, mediation services can step in to reduce conflict and trauma. We assist with drawing up Parenting Plans that ensure that the needs of the children are met.
  • Adoption – we build “forever families” and try to create happiness for childless parents. We are the leader in Adoption services.  
  • Foster Care – where parents or a relative cannot take care of a child, a temporary living arrangement is made with loving foster care parents.
  • Bramley Children’s Home – we provide 24-hour residential care to 46 children in our Bramley Children’s Home. We have three houses with housemothers and father. 

Parenting stands central to what we do for abused, neglected, exploited, orphaned and abandoned children – at a time when they need it most.

As a non-profit Child Protection Organisation we are dependant on donations from the community. Donations received help to fund essential “parenting” services like Mediation, Adoption, Foster Care and our Bramley Children’s Home. We deeply appreciate every single donation that enables us to step in and change the life of a child. All proceeds for the month of September will go to help fund essential “parenting” services.

Donations can be made securely on our website select Support “Valuable Parents” campaign or via EFT into our bank account:

Account Name: Child Welfare Tshwane
Bank: FNB Brooklyn
Account Number: 62457249392
Ref: Parents Matter; Your Name & Surname

More about Child Welfare Tshwane:

Child Welfare Tshwane works within the boundaries of the greater Tshwane area to protect vulnerable and orphaned children and their families. We have easily accessible service points located in Atteridgeville, Centurion, Elandspoort, Mamelodi-West, Sunnyside, and Arcadia.  We also have a 24-hour residential care facility, Bramley Child and Youth Care Centre in Groenkloof. Our vision is to see safe children, families, and communities in Tshwane. In the past 3 years Child Welfare Tshwane reached a total of 114,611 beneficiaries (children and their families).

Connect with us:

Child Welfare Tshwane

Telephone: 012 460 9236

Fax: 086 695 5451

Address: 72 Oates Street, Groenkloof

“We care for the families and children of Tshwane”


Facebook: @ChildWelfareTshwane

Instagram: child_welfaretshwane

Twitter: @ChildWelfareTs

Thursday, 27 August 2020

6 Skills Mothers Need to Raise our Future Leaders – Elmarie Pretorius



JUNE 2020

It may be a very scary thought to think that your sweet little girl may be the chief executive officer of a big corporate in the next few years.  How can she hire and fire people – look at that sweet face!  And she looks so pretty in the lovely pink sweater you bought her this week. But, here’s the thing:  you are in fact busy shaping the future of business and the country!

Being a great mother does not only revolve around you mastering the various types of looks to enforce good behaviour. It is not only about you doing better research than the FBI because you worry constantly about your child. Mothers are so very important in our society, because without them who will build leaders, boost self-esteem, show you how to care, and inspire you to be great…to name but a few.

When your baby lies in your arms, you realise that you have been promoted to the most vital position in the world. But, as is quoted in Spiderman, “with great power comes great responsibility.” How he/she will be shaped as a person will depend solely on you. A terrifying thought, isn’t it?

It is not only about being the best mother you can be, but also about raising a future generation of leaders. However, don’t freak out and be too hard on yourselves. Always remember that you are only human and that you are doing the best you possibly can.

I have found 6 skills that you as a mother need to help raise future leaders:

Critical thinking skills – this skill is probably the most important. If you have critical thinking skills, you will teach your kids, not only how to identify the core of the problem, but also how to solve problems creatively and efficiently. Make your kids think about a scenario. Don’t give the solution straight away; ask them how they would solve the issue. Put the ball in their court, and then wait for the magic. You will be surprised at their creative problem-solving skills if you only give them a chance to try.

Leadership skills – you need to lead by example. That old saying “monkey see, monkey do” has a ground level of truth to it. Our little ones see how we act, talk, and handle situations and they mimic us. By developing your own leadership skills, gain your children’s trust and respect, and live by it, you will raise your children to be leaders. You will lead by example and they will follow in your footsteps.

Communication skills – being able to listen before you talk creates a feeling amongst your child that he/she is important and that you care about their emotions. Active listening skills take practice, but once mastered, can perform miracles. Teach your kids this from an early age. It is an extremely good habit and vital skill they need to become great future leaders.

Emotional Intelligence – Teach your children about self-awareness and being in touch with their emotions. By having empathy with your kids, you teach them that emotions of others matter. You teach them to have compassion and walk in other people’s shoes so that you understand others and their emotional well-being.

Mentoring and constant coaching - show your kids that it’s ok to ask for help. That you as a mother also have a support structure. Teach them to learn from others and that making mistakes is a good learning curve. They must know that we all learn from each other. Motivate positive influences from mentors like athletes or someone they can relate to. Help them to aspire into the great leaders you know they can be.

Goal orientated and motivated - ever notice that if the mother is depressed or feeling down that day, the family feels down. Mothers dictate the mood of the house. Mothers should have self-motivation skills to achieve their mission and goals each day. They should point out every silver lining and stay positive no matter what. You think kids don’t see this, but they do. Teach your children to complete tasks. Motivate them to be self-motivators.

If you lie awake at night wondering if you are a good mother, the answer is YES. The fact that you worry shows that you are and that you care what type of person your child will turn out to be.

Every child, family, situation, and mother are different. Your children should trust and respect you. They should also see that their dad trusts and respects you. These are core leadership characteristics you as a mother need to instill in the relationship between you and your child so that you can teach them teamwork, accountability, and grow their own skillset. You are the top-ranking official in your home and a great leader in the eyes of your family.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

Women’s Month at Child Welfare Tshwane: Distributing 100 Dignity Packs for Girl and Women Victims

August month is women’s month in South Africa. And we have seen in the past how proudly we have heard the voice of women who have previously been silenced by society. It gives the spotlight on female issues in this country, and we all have a responsibility to change things for the better. This month we want to put the spotlight on what exactly it means to be a woman in South Africa.

A woman born in the Gauteng Province of South Africa will fall victim to the 25.3% of women in Gauteng who reported being raped - shockingly this includes infants and children. She will have a 25%-40% chance of being a victim of abuse and violence from her male partner. Should she fall pregnant most male partners will up and leave her to raise her child by herself, without him ever acknowledging the existence of the child. She will have a 30% chance of being unemployed and in many cases be left to survive on a minimal social grant. A woman born in South Africa might fall victim to one of the scenarios above, and in some cases fall victim to all of them.

At Child Welfare Tshwane (CWT) we want to empower and encourage women who have been victims to any of the above circumstances - to see new hope for their future. We want to educate and remind them that they can become what they have dreamt.

CWT collaborated with Women’s Leadership South Africa to introduce their Girl-Child Project in June this year. This programme entails meetings once a month for girl and woman victims to come together, share stories, support, and uplift each other. Every girl gets assigned a mentor who help them with the healing process, and educate them in making enlightened choices for their future. They give hope, where it might have seemed all hope has been lost.

We want the girls to be able to retain their DIGNITY by providing them with dignity packages to assist them with basic woman needs. To most of us these items are easily taken for granted.  This month we are calling for your help in sponsoring some of these items for the girls. If you have the means in any way, please help us to pack a shoebox filled with items such as:

  • Soap
  • Roll-on
  • Sanitary pads
  • Face Cloth
  • Vaseline
  • Lotion
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste 

You can decorate your box and include a personal note of hope and encouragement. We will be placing these boxes in the hands of girl and women victims in our Girl-Child Programme. Dignity boxes can be dropped at Child Welfare Tshwane’s Head Office at 72 Oates street, Groenkloof.

“Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.

A strong woman is the one who can dare to raise her voice for the cause she believes in, and this strength lives in a corner in every women's heart, it just needs to be searched.”

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Carried From Unimaginable Trauma To Understanding And Healing - The Story of *Abigail

*Abigail was born into a single-parent family. Her father disappeared from the scene before her birth. She never knew him. For the first 5 years of her life, it was just her and her mommy. But in a few seconds, her whole life changed. Her mother committed suicide. The pressures of life and being a single mother overwhelmed her. She hanged herself in front of 5-year old Abigail. 

Soon after Abigail was placed in foster care with family. Nobody talked about her mother and everybody sighed a sigh of relief - according to them she was too small to understand or to be impacted by her mother’s death. Abigail became more and more withdrawn in all aspects of her life. At school, she was a loner and not interested in making friends. Her school grades reflected that she had no interest in schoolwork. She did not answer when spoken to and refused to be part of the family activities. Her foster parents experienced her behaviour as disrespectful and saw her as a problem child. She was sent to other family members...and then other family members... The negative circumstances increased and followed her as she withdrew more and more into her own secluded world.

When she was 10 years old she was sent to live with an aunt that resides in an area where Child Welfare Tshwane is the designated child protection agency. The aunt was concerned about Abigail and felt that she needed help. She contacted Child Welfare Tshwane and while helping the aunt to legalize foster care for Abigail, Abigail was referred to the Child Welfare Tshwane therapy unit. Part of the therapy process is a socio-emotional evaluation which is a standard evaluation of how a child experiences their life in the world. The evaluation strongly indicated that nobody helped Abigail at any stage to process the death of her mother. 

Trauma debriefing and bereavement counselling followed. Therapy to improve her emotional awareness equipped her and suddenly Abigail could name the feeling that she carried inside of her body since that day. Grief. Intense grief. The therapist walked with her through the grieving process. The foster family was also part of the therapy process. It helped them to understand Abigail and equipped them better to care for her.  

There is nothing unusual about the group of girls that sit in a circle on the grass. They are chatting, smiling, and laughing like young girls do.  But for one of them, every word and every smile and every interaction is regaining what she lost when she was 5 years old. Now Abigail is making friends, an active partaker in school, and an integrative part of her foster family. Abigail is alive again.

How does a 5-year-old survive when she sees her mother committing suicide?  Barely, just barely...until somebody listens; until shoulders pick her up and carry her to understanding and healing of unspeakable trauma.

* Alias used to protect identity

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

A Young Life prepared for her Future – The Story of *Jessy’s Medical Journey at Bramley’s Children Home

*Jessy was born into a family that struggled financially as both her parents were unemployed. The family lived in suspect places and alcohol was a constant. It was a struggle to survive and Jessy was not enrolled in Grade 1 when she was old enough. It simply was not a priority. She and her brother were placed in foster care with a family, but it was unsuccessful as the foster parents also lost their jobs. When *Jessy was 11 years old she and her brother found a home at Bramley Children’s Home.

She adapted quickly and found comfort in the stability that Bramley Children’s Home offered.  But Jessy was battling more than just the setbacks that she already lived through. She has a medical condition namely Maffucci Syndrome. It is a disorder that primarily affects the skin and bones by multiple benign growths of cartilage that develop within the bones. Because of this condition, Jessy had knock knees and an operation was needed. A doctor volunteered her services and the operation was successfully done. The help of the doctor reduced the financial impact on Bramley Children’s Home. The condition also caused a growth on Jessy’s arm and although she already had an operation on her arm, more operations are needed in the future. Her teeth also needed attention and Bramley took her to get orthodontic help. 

The circumstances of her parents improved and they are now renting a single room, which means that Jessy and her brother can visit their parents every second weekend. Although she enjoys visiting her parents she returns to Bramley with a gratefulness and a new zeal to make the best of every opportunity.

Jessy is a young girl that dares to dream about a better future. She darts to and fro on the soccer field. Her focus fixed on the soccer ball. She takes part in cultural activities but never neglects her academic school work. She is an achiever. She is a go-getter. She just simply refuses that anything robs her of her dreams.

Jessy is dreaming of one day becoming a doctor. The doctor that helped *Jessy with her knee and arm operations invited her to come and shadow for a day or two to find out what the medical profession is all about. Perhaps one day *Jessy will also be part of that team of doctors that helps to lift and carry children on their shoulders to enable them to reach a better future. 

* Alias used to protect identity

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Carried from Darkness to Light – The story of loving and caring for *Joshua, the pianist.

The young pianist bows his head and his fingers start to caress the piano keys. First, it is a tender caress and slowly it builds up to a more vehement stride. It is when his fingers touch the low keys that his whole heart is laid bare.

*Joshua was sexually molested for many years by the one person that was supposed to protect him at all times. His father. It was during his Grade 9 year that his mother went to the police and made it public. A court case followed that ended with his father in prison. His mother, not having employment at the time, disappeared from the scene. His younger sister was placed in foster care. And between the pieces of brokenness, a stricken teenager needed all his strength just to breathe.

*Joshua was put in foster care which did not work out. His Grandmother provided for him to be able to stay in the hostel of his high school. He was a loner whose only comfort was his music and the piano. When the other children went home over weekends *Joshua stayed behind. He was isolated, depressed and he made a plan to end his life. He stashed his medication from his psychiatrist and when he had enough he bought a bottle of brandy. During a weekend, when he was alone in the hostel, he consumed the medication and brandy together hoping to die. He was found in a bathtub full of water just in time by a Hostel Father. He was admitted for a month in the psychiatric ward of a hospital. It was then, during his Grade 11 year, that *Joshua found a home at Bramley Children’s Home. 

The loving care of Bramley Children’s Home slowly began to make a difference. His House Mother took him personally back to the school hostel every Sunday. The school took *Joshua to his therapist twice a week. The social worker offered continued love and support. A volunteer with a music background started to visit him and a forever friendship was cemented. With a network of support *Joshua started to heal.

During his Grade 11 year he won two trophies at the Eisteddfod for his piano talents. His shoulders got straighter. One Saturday per month *Joshua started to play piano in a Shopping Centre under the banner of Bramley Children’s Home. The money that was raised was banked for *Joshua.  Hope started to flicker in his eyes. His school marks improved tremendously. From barely passing Grade 11 he passed his matric year with flying colours.

After matric *Joshua successfully enrolled at a professional music school with the help of a bursary and volunteers to learn more about his beloved piano. With his shoulders straight and a sparkle in his eyes he left Bramley Children’s Home. Forever in our hearts. Forever family. 

The young man caresses the piano key and the sound of hope lingers on. He gets up and a smile flickers over his face. He bows and walks out on the shoulders of those that carried him till here. His music still fills the air … and in his shadow waits another frightened boy, another stricken girl for shoulders to carry them from darkness to light.

Friday, 26 June 2020

Impact of Covid-19 and lockdown on places of safety and adoption

Photo: Left to right: Ms. Nakedi Ribane – Patron of Child Welfare Tshwane; Ms. Nina de Caires – Adoption Supervisor; Ms. Isilda Felix - Owner of Dove's Nest

During one of the coldest weeks this year so far, representatives from Child Welfare Tshwane visited Dove's Nest, one of the registered Temporary Safe Care facilities for abandoned babies that assist Child Welfare Tshwane's Adoption Unit in taking care of the babies who need care and protection during the adoptability investigations.

Dove's Nest is a Community Based Organisation (CBO) and registered Non Profit Organisation (NPO) that provides a residential facility caring for abandoned or unwanted babies and children from birth to two years of age. They support them ensuring that they have milk, food, shelter, and the delicate care necessary for these precious lives.

Upon entering the house, Isilda Felix was cuddling and feeding little *Desmond, a mere 14 days old. He was legally placed there by the social worker when he was 2 days old after the biological mother requested that he be made available for adoption due to poor socio-economic circumstances. She already has two other children, is unemployed and without any family support. His father denied paternity and disappeared. His biological mother made an informed decision after intensive counselling that she would want a better future for him within a family where he will be loved and cared for. The adoption investigation is in the process by our Adoption Unit supervisor, Nina de Caires.

In the living room, we were welcomed by *Jessie, *Thandi and *Liya, three young ladies between the ages of 16, 18, and 19 years who grew up in Dove's Nest and are in the process of completing their schooling.

We were taken to a sunny bedroom, with baby cots lined up, and four friendly babies admiring the visitors. All between two weeks and four months old, each one with their own unique story and awaiting their future families and homes. One of them, *Thato will be meeting his adoptive parents in a couple of days and an exciting, beautiful moment and future within a forever family awaits them all. He will be part of a family that cannot wait to give him a home, a future, and the love and care he deserves.

However, Covid-19 and lockdown have had an unforeseen impact on the future and adoption process of these children and babies. In *Thato's case, even though the legal and adoption processes have been followed, the very last step of the final court order is outstanding. Due to a positive Covid-19 test result of one of the court's employees, and necessary precautions and sanitizing that had to take place, a great uncertainty raised as to when the final order will be obtained.  So, he will be able to meet his prospective adoptive parents, but not go home with them until a final court date is obtained to get the necessary order. This is both heart-breaking for the prospective adoptive parents, and the crucial parent-and-baby bonding is delayed.

Since the number of abandoned babies that enter the system are, unfortunately, an on-going occurrence, it can also potentially mean that Places of Safety like Dove's Nest will reach capacity because adoptable and matched babies are not able to move out to their new homes, which creates space for new babies that need temporary safety and care.

Another impact that lockdown and Covid-19 had, is due to the vulnerability of the babies, caretakers, and assistants that were not able to travel back and forth from home to work. They want to avoid unnecessary exposure of the virus to the babies. No one can just imagine the cleaning, cooking, bath time, nappy changes, feeding and sleeping routines in a house with four babies and three toddlers.
"A strict routine", is Isilda's answer to this well-organised caretaking and management of her house. Many years of experience have made her well equipped to care for all of them.

Thankfully, *Jessie, *Thandi, and *Liya are all also able to lend a hand when they are not busy with schoolwork and can help with daytime play and stimulation, but the sleeping time and night-time feeding remains the responsibility of Isilda for now.

The fact that babies cannot move further along the adoption process, and move out of the temporary safe care facilities make it very difficult for social workers to find space for the placement of new babies, who remains waiting in hospitals to be removed.  Social workers anticipate that babies will continue coming into the system, possibly even more so in the weeks and months to follow, as mothers find themselves in dire financial straits after losing their jobs or getting sick and are unable to care for themselves and their child/ren.

The process is dependent on many different departments such as the Department of Health, Department of Justice, Department of Social Development, Department of Home Affairs, and the South African Police Service to do adoption investigation and finalise adoptions. So, should one or more of these departments face temporary closure due to Covid-19, it will hinder the entire process.
As a result of Covid-19, the economic downfall will also inevitably have many other repercussions for child protection organisations and adoption in South Africa. Couples who were considering adoption may now have second thoughts, particularly when they have been financially affected.

The pandemic will affect the future financial security of child protection organisations and Non Profit Organisations (NPO’S) in general. Regular donors will reduce due to experiencing financial losses themselves and the income of already underfunded NPO's is likely to be severely affected, ultimately making their beneficiaries the innocent victims.

If you are pregnant and considering giving up your baby for adoption, or if you know someone who might be, please contact Ms. Nina de Caires, the Adoption Supervisor at Child Welfare Tshwane on 0124609236 during working hours. If you are prospective parents considering adoption, please also make contact with Nina.

Should you be able to donate baby products (milk, nappies, baby clothes, etc.) or support us financially, please contact Child Welfare Tshwane at 0124609236.

* Names withheld to protect their identity