One Child One Family HHCSA

"Families, not institutions.", registered Not-for-Profit company (K2017489514) / PBO(930073885), working in South Africa to support Gauteng Department of Social Development deinstitutionalise the child protection system.

One Child One Family HHCSA

Embracing Transitions: Celebrating Women Making a Positive Contribution to Foster Care

National Women’s Month is a time to honor the inspiring women who drive meaningful change and create a positive future. As we celebrate their numerous contributions to society, it is crucial to shine a light on the impact these remarkable women make in the world of fostering children. Despite the challenges they face, these women foster a nurturing environment for abandoned or vulnerable children, offering them love, safety, and a chance at a better life. 

Among these extraordinary women is a foster mother and her family who opened their hearts and home to a little girl abandoned by her biological mother. The child’s journey began at an institution, where an initial assessment and risk evaluation took place. It was stated that the biological mother left the child with the nanny and said that she is going to work. The mother left for a month without returning and the nanny went and reported the case at child welfare. The mother is a sex worker, due to no other financial support the mother had to face desperate circumstances and turned to sex work as a means to provide for herself and her child. Research shows that poverty is the primary driving force behind women becoming prostitutes. Meanwhile, governmental inaction on this matter leaves sex workers vulnerable to various risks such as crime, rape and even being killed. They often find themselves at the mercy of criminals, and reporting these offenses to the police becomes a formidable challenge. 

A missing person’s case was opened at a police station after the child was admitted and it was determined that the child’s mother is an undocumented resident, as the police and child welfare social workers requested her identifying documents. An advertisement was posted by the case manager from child welfare, but no one came forward to claim the child. A foster mother was then identified, through a home circumstances assessment and family assessment and once deemed suitable, she started visiting the child at the care center. Slowly, the child grew comfortable with her new foster mother, and they began the process of transitioning her from the care center to their home through Leave of Absence (LOA) strict monitoring. 

The Transformation of a Child: Thanks to the love and care provided by her foster mother and family, the once shy and reserved child began to flourish. Reaching her developmental milestones, she demonstrated impressive progress in her fine and gross motor skills. This transformation shows the power of fostering, offering children a chance to thrive in a nurturing environment. 

Support from OCOF HHCSA: OCOF HHCSA has supported the foster mother and the child emotionally and physically by conducting reassessments to identify their needs and to ensure that the family moves from strength to strength. The foster mother received training on the AFS-Khusela prevention model, equipping her with the necessary skills as a temporary safety parent and a potential foster care parent. OCOF HHCSA also assisted the family in enrolling the child in a creche. To further aid the family’s financial stability, they were guided through the process of applying for a foster care grant. Moreover, psychosocial support was provided to help the child smoothly transition from the care center to her new family, and continuous post-placement support ensured their ongoing well-being. 

Continuing the Positive Impact: The foster mother and her family are now preparing for adoption, and the child is thriving in their care. Such foster mothers are genuine heroes who positively impact foster care. Through their selflessness and dedication, they strive to make a difference in the lives of children in need, offering them love, stability, and a brighter future.  

By supporting a family and community-based system, we can ensure that every child experiences the love and safety they deserve. As we celebrate the impact of women in fostering, let us recognise the power of compassion and the transformative change it brings to the lives of vulnerable children. Their selfless dedication and commitment to fostering a loving environment pave the way for a brighter future, one filled with hope, stability, and the promise of a family. Together, we can continue to support and uplift these incredible women and contribute to a world where every child can flourish and achieve their fullest potential.