The Best Interests Of Children Placed In Foster Care; Where Is It?
It is a very sad state of affairs in our country that so many children are considered to be “children in need of care” in terms of the Children’s Act and are placed in children’s homes or foster homes. These children are often abandoned, neglected, abused and/or orphans.
There is a whole procedure that needs to be followed before a child is placed with foster parents. Not only does the child need to fit the criteria to be deemed to be in need of care, but the foster parents have to be screened to ensure the children will be taken care of properly. A social worker has to do an investigation and report to court. These proceedings are handled through the Children’s Court.
We have recently had some horrific incidents where children have been inexplicably removed from one set of foster parents and moved into children’s homes that are poorly run and overcrowded. These children have been removed from safe loving homes where they have been for a number of years, grown accustomed and close to their foster parents and bonded as siblings with other children who have been placed there. These children have been removed without a social worker’s investigation and report and with absolute no consideration for the best interests of the children, something which is so enshrined in our Constitution and in the Children’s Act.
We have had on-going nightmares with the Department of Social Development and the social worker’s employed by them, all who seem to do exactly as they please, very often in very hostile and belligerent manners. The sad result of this is, it is putting people off offering to be foster parents as they are not prepared to deal with the Department of Social Development and the unpleasantness associated with them. The worst part of all of this, is it is another form of abuse on these children, who invariably have already suffered so much.
The Children’s Act is designed to assist and protect children, it however often fails in this obligation and the very Organs of State created for this are the ones failing the children, by not following due process and considering the best interests of the children.
Every child should be afforded the opportunity of a loving home, regardless of race, creed or colour.