Monday, 20 June 2016

When there is a calling, the way will follow

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” – Oprah Winfrey

When we choose our careers we often consider the future, the remuneration and the opportunities.  But sometimes we just listen to the calling and we follow a path that leads us to a position where we serve with love and build other people’s lives rather than focus on building big careers.  A dynamic group of ladies manage operations at Child Welfare Tshwane and they embody the phrase, “Charity begins at home, but should not end at home”.  They do their work with compassion and love to ensure that the lives of children in Tshwane improve.

Child Welfare Tshwane (CWT) was established in 1918 to care for vulnerable and orphaned children after the war and is still doing amazing work in the City of Tshwane.  Apart from the 24-hour care facility, the Bramley Child & Youth Care Centre, in Groenkloof, the Organisation also runs service points in Mamelodi, Eersterust, Sunnyside, Elandspoort, Atteridgeville and Olievenhoutbosch.   CWT launched an ECD (early childhood development) program in Sunnyside in April 2015 and have already seen excellent results with the children and families who are part of this program.

At the helm of the Organisation is Linda Nell (60) as Director.  After a positive experience with social work at a young age, she decided that this was the career for her. “I also enjoy working with people, I find them very interesting,” says Linda.  She enjoys her work, especially to motivate and inspire people.  Her personal goals are to always be of value and to be resilient in mind, body and spirit.  To achieve this, she enjoys reading, exercising and cooking.  The one thing she would want to change about the welfare situation in South Africa is the funding as it remains a constant challenge to meet the financial needs related to caring for vulnerable children.   Linda finds motivation from her favourite quote by Sandra van der Merwe “Those who encouraged me to play and cheered me when I did well”.

Winnie Moshupye (49) is Manager: Social Work at Child Welfare.  Her role comprises of overseeing the risk assessment, family preservation and legal protection services are fulfilled to the best standard and quality. Winnie became a social worker because she has a passion for helping people, wants to relief poverty and to help people feel empowered. “The most rewarding part of my work is to see the improvement in the individual development plan of a previously abused child”, says Winnie.  She dreams of one day running a Centre for the aged in Lephalale as she would like to also see the elderly cared for.  Winnie stays healthy by going to gym, running and cycling and enjoys socializing with friends and family.  Her vision for welfare in South Africa is that the system will strive to encourage independency rather than fostering a culture of dependency on the social support systems.  It is not wonder that her favourite saying is “become independent rather than dependent”.

 Babies are often abandoned or made available for adoption and this special program is run by Nina de Caires (48).  Nina always liked all different people and was originally caught by the “social” term of social work and expected something totally different – today, however, she knows that this was her calling.  She is currently Supervisor: Adoption Services and enjoys the diversity of her work.  “Each case is different and you meet many amazing people,” says Nina.  It is her goal to make a difference in the lives of each individual and family she meets and she enjoys the experience of seeing how people’s lives change after an adoption.  She walks a path with the families and has many positive stories to share after many years in different positions with Child Welfare Tshwane.  Nina enjoys walking for fun and to stay healthy.  In her opinion the salaries of social workers should be looked at as many social workers work long hours and also do such important work.  Despite this, her favourite quote comes from Mother Theresa “Never worry about numbers.  Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest to you”.

Mary-Jane Motshwane (53) is Supervisor of the Foster Care supervision program, the program supervises children and their families who have been placed in alternative care via a court order by the children’s court. This is to prevent foster children who are at risk not to be abuse or neglected and make sure they are well-cared.  Mary-Jane became a social worker to make a difference in her community, and also assist the less privileged and vulnerable be able to help themselves and not be dependent. Mary-Jane support and guide supervisee in her Program to meet their goals.  She always strives to be a better person and her dream is to see people happy and free from suffering.  To meet the demands of her position she enjoys a bit of gardening to stay healthy.  “I do not go to the gym, but rather do house work – that way my house is in order and clean and I do not feel as if I have wasted time to go out for exercise”, says Mary-Jane.  If she could change the welfare situation in South Africa she would invest in skills development so that, instead of hand-outs, people will rather be trained and able to also give back to the community.  “We need to cultivate pride”, says Mary-Jane when she also explains how the current system encourages dependency.  Mary-Jane believes we should continue dreaming but also take each day as it comes.

Dineo Daly (28 for the past 12 years) is Supervisor: Risk Assessment.   “I relate well to people”, says Dineo when asked why she is a social worker.  “People find me easy to talk to and that helps in our environment”, she continues.  She enjoys knowing that her work has made a difference, even if only in one child’s life.  Dineo dream of the day when she can spend quality time with her family.  “I married for love, because if I had married for money I would have been a stay-at-home mom” says Dineo, whose family is very important to her.  Dineo hopes that someday people will realise their own potential and she believes that the welfare system should help them do that. She likes to be fit and healthy and walks 5km each Saturday.  Dineo finds her spiritual strength in John 1, chapter 4:4: “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world”.

Yolandi Singleton (30) decided to be a social worker because she has a lot to give and enjoys promoting the self-esteem of children. She is currently heading up the Assessment and Therapy unit at CWT.  The interaction with children is the best part of her day and she feels so strongly about domestic violence that she hopes to one day be part of the work group to re-write the Act.  She wants to help shape the Act to ensure that the victims are protected and get more help.  To stay fit and healthy she enjoys Hip-Hop and walking and she tries to always eat healthy.  Yolandi says one thing she would change about the welfare system will be to get social workers to take more responsibility for cases and not just step away when it seems impossible.  She also believes “do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

Front, from left to right: Winnie Moshupje; Nina de Caires
Back, left to right: Yolandi Singleton, Mary-Jane Motshweni, Helena Willers, Dineo Daly & Linda Nell.
Helena Willers (60) is Manager of Bramley Child & Youth Care Centre.  She chose to be a social worker because she wanted to improve people’s quality of life.   It is rewarding for her to see the progress and change in a child’s life during the time the child spends with Bramley.  Bramley currently provides 24-hour care to 45 children between the ages of 6 and 19.  Helena stays fit by climbing stairs at home and she dreams of travelling more in her life.  If she could change one thing about the welfare situation she would want to see a change in the image of the profession and also more people caring and showing empathy for others.    Her favourite saying is something the children can also benefit from “In this world you can be anything you want to be, but it is important to first be yourself”.

The group dynamics will change when a male colleague will join as Supervisor: ECD and Drop-In Centre program, but for now this group of ladies work diligently and rescue children from potentially harmful conditions and to ensure that they are safe and healthy and that they get the support needed to ensure that each child reaches his or her full potential.  No one can change a bad beginning but we can work towards creating a better future and these ladies are definitely working hard at creating better futures!

Friday, 27 May 2016

Warning signs for sexual abuse

Red flags for possible sexual abuse

Written by: Yolandi Singleton, Supervisor: Assessment & Therapy Unit



The court case currently in the news regarding alleged sexual abuse and neglect of children brings this matter to the fore again. Sexual abuse is probably the type of abuse that upsets the society the most. As adults we are extremely aware that it causes physical, psychological, social and emotional damage to a child when being sexually abused - not to mention the other challenges the same child might be facing at the same time.

Children mostly display problematic behaviour to show the world what they are experiencing, without verbally expressing it. When it comes to sexual abuse, children will often subtly make disclosures in order to test the reaction of the receiver. All too often children do not want to disclose abuse as they are afraid they will not be believed or that the receiver will be angry or think that the child was in some way responsible for the abuse.

Many times we find that parents who battle their own unresolved issues due to childhood sexual abuse often project their hurt and pain onto their children as a way to cope with their own trauma or to gain control over their personal experience. Due to their own trauma they tend to place their child in the victim seat when any possible threatening situation arises, resulting in the sexual abuse of the child.

The signs and symptoms of children who have been sexually, emotionally or physically abused are more or less the same. It is therefore challenging to determine what type of abuse the child was exposed to by merely looking at behaviour. The following warning signs can however be reasons for concern when considering the possibility of sexual abuse:

• Excessive masturbation, still continuing even after boundaries were set to the child;

• When a child wants to sexually engage with another child by attempting to enforce penetration of the genitals or any form of object;

• Encopresis (soiling in pants) or enuresis (bedwetting);

• When a child makes a disclosure and thereafter recant (withdraw their statement);

• Expressing strange and overly anxious comments about a specific person;

• Infection in the genitals (consider that some genital infections might be due to medical reasons);

• Age inappropriate sexual behaviour (the child displays sexual behaviour when not supposing to have such knowledge);

• If a child displays inappropriate sexual behaviour, explore it in a non-leading way such as: “I am wondering where you learned to do… or tell me more…”;

• When the sexual behaviour put the child or someone else in a position to get hurt:

• When the child’s main focus during play is to engage on a sexual level; or

• Sudden change in behaviour such as sleeping and eating patterns (consider that these symptoms are also present when children have been physically or emotionally abused).

What to do when a child made a sexual abuse disclosure

• Children do not verbally communicate like adults and find it difficult to express the experience. It is important to stay calm and find help. Do not overreact. It causes more harm.

• Do not interrogate the child.

• Do not say anything negative about the alleged abuser (this will scare the child and cause possible withdraw. Remember, perpetrators are threatening and manipulative).

• Do not make empty promises, such as “you will never see that person again”.

•If you are not trained to explore abuse by means of forensic interviewing, limit your questions regarding the abuse and the alleged perpetrator. Avoid questions that leads the child to a specific answer you want. Resist the temptation to gather all the information. Leave it to the professionals to explore properly.

• Let the child know that you believe him/her and that you are proud of them for telling you something you know must hurt a lot. Assure the child that you do not blame them and are not angry and that it is not their fault.

Remember that for a child to disclose sexual abuse is a very brave step, but a difficult step at the same time. Children must be free to experience life in a non-threatening way. At times they can engage in innocent sexual play without having the intention to receive sexual gratification, but merely to explore body parts, which is an interesting topic for youngsters at times. Treat them gently and assure them of your support and understanding.

If you suspect sexual or other abuse, please contact us on 012-4609236.

Child Welfare Tshwane – serving the community of Tshwane with pride since 1918.

Warning signs of sexual abuse


Monday, 16 May 2016

CPA - Consistent Positive Actions

The monthly BLOG published by Gavin Sharples, well-known speaker, is a call for action - consistent positive action - and at Child Welfare Tshwane we understand that CPA can become the wave that brings change!  We hope you will enjoy Gavin's story as much as we did.

Friday, 6 May 2016

~* Mothers love on your family*~

Mothers, have you hugged your family today?
On Mother's Day we shower mom with gifts of flowers, chocolates and bathroom products to spoil herself....and it is good to do this.  It shows mom that we appreciate her and what she brings to our lives.   However, as a mom you should not underestimate your role and should return the love with hugs.

Hugs can bring a great sense of connection and belonging into your life. They’re free and within reach. When you give a hug, you also receive one. How many hugs do we need each day? All you can give and receive. The more the better! You will hear different opinions on the specific number of hugs people need every day, but all will agree on the great benefits of sharing a hug. Go start the chain and make hugs part of your day. There are no limitations on age.  Children love hugs and they still need them when they are older too. We all do!

Quotes about Hugs~*

A hug is a handshake from the heart. ~Author Unknown
You can’t give a hug without getting a hug. ~Author Unknown

A hug delights and warms and charms,
that must be why God gave us arms.
~Author Unknown
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
but you’ve outclassed them all!” Proverbs 31:28-29

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Alarming increase in child pornography

Our children are vulnerable and accessible.  Read more about the increase in child pornography in South Africa in a recent article published by the SABC.

If you are concerned about our child's safety or suspect that your child may be caught up in pornography and you need an assessment, you can contact Child Welfare Tshwane on 012-4609236.  We work with all children and can help with risk assessment and therapy sessions.  Help us to protect our children and care for them to help build a better future for South Africa.

We will be celebrating Child Protection Week at the end of this month and it is important that we inform the children about the dangers out there as well as about the their rights.


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

A few minutes of your time can bring about change to last a lifetime

A few minutes of your time can bring about change to last a lifetime

The Unlimited Titans cricket team recently visited Bramley Child & Youth Care Centre in Groenkloof to hand over a cheque for money they have raised with their annual charity event.  This was awesome and the money is appreciated.  But, the time the players spent with the children, playing cricket and sharing ice creams, was an almost priceless contribution by the men in blue.

Every person, but especially children, needs a hero.  What is a hero?  According to Wikipedia it is “a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities”.

Role models in children’s lives greatly affect their futures, putting a large amount of pressure on those role models to set a good example. The Titans spending time with the children on a sunny Monday afternoon caused excitement and left a lingering impression on the children.  To laugh and play with national sporting heroes in the garden of the Bramley CYCC was a very positive experience. Without even noticing it, these players contributed to the well-being of the children by providing attention, fun and lots of laughter.

The children at Bramley CYCC live in combined family structures where about 15 children live in one house. Providing individual attention can become a challenge and also the relationship between the care givers and children can’t be the same as a parent child relationship in a biological family. In the standard household the parents have specific roles and the father would normally take the position as role model.  

However, when a child lacks a positive role model for his future, that child will seek a “fatherly” figure to mentor him, whether they have the ability to mentor or not. Children often compare their idea of a father or fatherly figures to heroes, most notably Superman. They think of them as being invincible and rock solid in life.

The children at the CYCC clearly understands that no-one is perfect. Still they be given high goals in life to shoot for, like trying to be Superman, so that they land high in the moral scale of Humanity. If children don’t get high moral standards right from the beginning, it is very hard for them to attain a high level of morality later in life.


Heroes direct children in the right direction, help the people around them, and leave lasting impressions on the past, present, and future. Heroes stood up for what is right when others sat down, did ten times more than what was asked of them, questioned authority when authority was wrong, and fought for the rights of all people. The world of today has been shaped by the heroes of the past, as the future will be shaped be the heroes of today.


Heroes will be forever needed and respected in society, and one of the best quotes summarizing heroes is by C.S. Lewis, who once said, “each hero is human, a rainbow of thoughts and emotions; subject to quirks, failures, triumphs and, yes, even flaws.” Each person should look up to these flawed heroic “rainbows,” and thank them for everything heroes have done in their lives, and how they’ve made the world a better place.

At Bramley CYCC a lot of work is done to rebuild the image children have of the world around them and we are constantly embarking on programmes to build their self-esteem and the way they perceive the world.  Interaction with positive people who are achievers and who are comfortable in their space however has far more value than any therapy session – the children basked in the attention from all the players.  

We value true heroes like the Unlimited Titans and we thank them for the work they do for charity.  They are all role models and showed patience, love and support to all the children. They all interacted and played with the children and made every child feel special!  Like Zeus said in Hercules: “A true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart”.


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Teen suicide is PREVENTABLE

Author: Yolandi Singleton, Therapy Unit

Being a teenager these days is tremendously challenging. There are many stressors they have to deal with and mostly feel that no one understands them. Hormonal changes as well as developing their identity are factors amongst many others that plays a role in teenagers experiencing confusion, moods and emotional distress.

Suicide is always a topic that should be dealt with in the most sensitive way possible. It is a mental health concern. Individuals who feel the need to commit suicide really believe that the world will be a much better place if they are not in it. They truly believe and have convinced themselves that the people nearest to them will be better off. They have completely lost hope and don’t see any way out. They are not selfish, but merely want to end their lives in order to feel relief from all the stressors they are facing and overwhelms them.

Teenagers who want to commit suicide can deal with many stressors such as being bullied, being a victim of sexual, physical and emotional abuse as well as abandonment from significant figures in their lives which most probably occurred from a very young age or even during pregnancy. Research have shown that trauma has a large negative impact on the functioning of the brain. Therefore, when a person deal with multiple trauma, it causes a chemical imbalance in the brain. This happens in the part of the brain where logic plays an important role. As a result, individuals that experience multiple trauma lose their logical thinking.

Here are some warning signs that a teenager wants to commit suicide:

·         Talking about wanting to commit suicide or wanting to harm themselves

·         Writing about wanting to commit suicide by means of poems, assignments or essays

·         Not taking anti-depressants that was prescribed

·         Being isolated – not have a need to engage with his/her peer group

·         Change in personality and habits such as eating and sleeping habits

·         Constantly and excessively verbalising that he/she is good enough

·         Change in behaviour – the teenager is completely different to how he/she use to be

·         Not having any hopes and dreams for the future

·         Having severe anger outbursts, being very aggressive and have unpredictable mood swings

Many times teenagers threaten to commit suicide and it is then viewed as that the child is seeking attention. No suicidal thoughts should ever be ignored or seen as a mere threat. Here are some tips on how to prevent your teen from committing or attempting to commit suicide:

·         Have an open relationship with your child where your child feels free to communicate with you. The best way to improve on the relationship is to be on par with your child’s needs and to listen attentively to what they say

·         Identify your child’s emotions whilst listening and do not dismiss how they feel about anything. Don’t make them feel that they are overacting, rather acknowledge the feeling and provide support

·         Share your feelings as well so that your child learn to meet you halfway

·         Encourage the child to mingle with his/her peer group

·         Do not expose your child to violence in the home for example partner-violence

·         Act immediately when your child disclose sexual, physical abuse or being bullied

·         Encourage your child to exercise in order to prevent stress

·         If your child verbalised suicide thoughts or has made attempts, hide any harmful weapons and objects such as firearms, knives, ropes, medication, gas and alcohol.

If you as a parent or caregiver followed the abovementioned steps and still see troublesome behaviour regarding suicide with your child, contact a professional such as a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist for further assistance. Do not feel alone. Seek help and guidance immediately.

If you need to talk to someone, please contact Child Welfare Tshwane on 012-3439392.