Katlehong Service Point Social Workers Nombongo Ndinga and Rosemary Mokoti during reunification programme

By Tendamudzimu Goza

  • In an effort to educate parents and caregivers on maintaining relationships with children in alternative care, the Gauteng Department of Social Development launched a child reunification initiative.
  • The programme underscores the government’s commitment to protecting children’s best interests by ensuring they return to safe and supportive family environments.
  • Social workers provide parents with essential knowledge and skills, fostering a stable and nurturing environment for children in care.

The Gauteng Department of Social Development is taking significant strides to address family crises and support child welfare through its child reunification initiative. Launched last Friday in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni, the programme aims to educate parents and caregivers about maintaining relationships with their children even when they are placed in alternative care.

Family is crucial for a child’s well-being, but not all families are free from challenges that strain the relationship between children and their parents. In such cases, social workers need to seek court permission to place children in alternative care while addressing the underlying family issues. The child reunification programme highlights the government’s commitment to protecting children’s best interests.

According to Nombongo Dinga, a social worker in the department, “Child reunification is the process where a child is returned to their parents after social workers have ensured all necessary conditions for the child’s well-being are met. These services strive to rebuild reciprocal relationships between children in statutory care and their biological families.”

“Children can be removed from their families due to various issues, including sexual offences, family problems, abandonment, or neglect. We intervene legally to protect them from harmful situations,” added Jabulile Makhubu, another social worker.

The programme was attended by parents of children placed in child youth care centres (CYCCs), temporary care, and foster care. Social workers provided valuable knowledge and skills to help these parents better support and care for their children. This reflects the government’s proactive approach to equipping parents with the necessary tools to maintain and improve their relationships with their children.

“As a single father, I found this event informative. I’ve learned things I couldn’t have asked anyone else about,” said Sibusiso Thela from Katlehong. 

The Gauteng Department of Social Development continues to highlight the importance of ongoing parental involvement and the role of the government in facilitating this connection. By ensuring parents are well-informed and supported, the department aims to create a more stable and nurturing environment for children in alternative care.

This initiative reinforces the government’s dedication to protecting and fostering family unity amidst crises.

Picture taken by: Tendamudzimu Goza

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