Wednesday, 25 November 2015

NACSA Launches Their 16 Days of Activism Campaign - Raising Awareness Around Abandonment

Child Abandonment and Illegal Abortions on the Increase

Government, child protection organisations and civil society need to find common ground to address humanitarian crisis facing SA’s vulnerable children and mothers.

CLICK HERE to read the Press release.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Swapped babies to remain with families raising them

Three judges of the Pretoria High Court decided on Monday that two toddlers swapped at birth must remain with the families who have raised them.

Click on the image to read the full article:

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Paternity Leave

Every father will love the day that he can say “I am going on paternity leave as my baby is on the way”. There is a recent judgment of MIA v State Information Technology Agency (PTY) LTD [1] which is a labour Court Decision, which enables some fathers to do just that. This is a progressive judgment as, until recently, such an avenue did not exist.

Click here to read further.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Gauteng's abandoned babies: A growing social crisis

Almost 400 babies have been abandoned in Gauteng hospitals over the past three years. Fear, resentment and poverty are just some of the reasons cited for parents walking away from their newborns.

Click the image below for the full article.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Children’s Amendment Bills: Ubuntu and the ongoing child protection debate

An interesting read:

The public hearings held by the government portfolio committee tasked with assessing the Children’s Amendment Bills were a stark reminder that many sectors of government still believe that ubuntu is the panacea for all of our orphans’ ills. In the context of child protection, ubuntu is epitomised by community-based care and the principle that no child is left behind. But ubuntu alone is not the solution.

Click the image below for the full story.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Can new fathers take maternity leave?

Q & A on News 24

QUESTION: My partner and I, a couple in a registered civil union, are planning to have a baby, either through a surrogate or adoption. While this is very exciting, it is also stressful as both my partner and I have full-time employment. Would either my partner or I qualify for maternity leave?

Click on image for the full article

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Lawyers fight for adoption maternity leave

Published: Sept. 29, 2015, 8:54 a.m. by Nushera Soodyal -

A group of lawyers is set to challenge South Africa's labour legislation relating to maternity leave for adoptive parents.

Click Image for the full story:

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Maternity Leave For All

Have a read here:

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Coalition unhappy with Social Development’s R100k adoption claim

The primary losers in this political fracas are the millions (not thousands!) of adoptable children who will be left without any hope of a loving home due to bureaucratic red tape and political posturing.” National Adoption Coalition.

Click on Image for Full article:
 Coalition Unhappy

Monday, 7 September 2015

The great power struggle over adoption

The government says its planned amendment to the Children's Act will simplify the complicated and lengthy adoption process in South Africa. But the part of the process it is trying to fix is not broken, and there is no evidence that this amendment will fix those parts of the process that are. No one disagrees that more social workers are needed for adoptions, but by flooding the market with its own adoption social workers, the government could wrest the management of adoptions away from current practitioners and end up holding all the cards. By ROBYN WOLFSON.

Click the image for the full article:
 Daily Maverick

Thursday, 3 September 2015


Opinion by: The National Adoption Coalition
The Department of Social Development’s recent media statement that it wants its social workers to provide adoption services in a bid to “curb the high cost of adoptions and make it easier for ordinary families to adopt children” is deeply concerning at its core.  Not because of its intention to train and skill government social workers in the specialised adoption practice – this is to be lauded as indeed there is a shortage - but because the spirit in which such an announcement was made is deeply harmful and dishonest in its treatment of child protection organisations and social workers in private practice. 
DSDS’s statement that 'Adoption Agencies charge no less than R100,000  to manage the adoption process of a single child", is both irresponsible and inaccurate.  Not only is it untrue, but it paints Child Protection Organisations who do exceptionally important work in an unfairly poor light.  More fundamentally, it can only discourage people from considering adoptions, possibly waiting for the DSD to provide “free and cheap” adoptions, while millions of orphans remain in orphanages and far from the ideal circumstances of a loving parental home and family.
The primary losers in this political fracas are the millions (not thousands!) of adoptable children who will be left without any hope of a loving home due to bureaucratic red tape and political posturing.   Evidence of this is already clear in the unintended consequences of the Children’s Act implemented in 2005, which has seen a 30% drop in adoptions in a country with about 5.4 million orphans since its implementation.  Currently less than 1600 adoptions are taking place annually. When you do the sums, it becomes frightening, if not insurmountable in the current status-quo.
Some incredibly important realities need to be put on the table, and the Department of Social Development would do well to acknowledge the important work done by all the role players and the importance of collaboration in working towards our single most important purpose – child protection and loving families for our orphans.   
Here are the facts:
·         The Children's Act 38/2005 actually makes provision for the payment of fees in respect of an adoption to a Child Protection Organization.  These fees are regulated in terms of Regulation 107 of the Children's Act.
·         The fees are not however legislated for in respect of accredited adoption social workers in private practice.  The National Adoption Coalition, a mandated body of adoption service providers, has been consistently lobbying the Department of Social Development to give attention to the regulation of the fees in respect of adoption social workers in private practice to bring it in line with those of Child Protection Organizations.
·         More importantly, given the fact that adoption fees are regulated by the Department of Social Development, it would be difficult for a Child Protection Organization to charge R100k for a single adoption. All adoption reports are canalized through the Department of Social Development before an adoption can be finalized in court.  The fees paid in respect of an adoption need to be declared in a formal report and if the Department have picked up that some agencies are charging R100k, why have they not investigated such outrageous fees being charged by organisations? If unusually high fees are charged by certain organisations, then such specific cases should be dealt with by DSD swiftly.
·         To indicate that organizations can charge this amount for an adoption really discredits all the good work being done by so many Child Protection Organizations who also specialize in processing adoptions. This should not be about an “us and them” situation, and working together as a collaborative is critical to resolve the many onerous challenges we face as a cohesive voice.
·         Most Child Protection Organizations work on a sliding scale and accept applicants from all walks of life, including people from rural areas, domestic workers and cleaners.  In fact the fee paid in these instances is minimal and does not preclude anyone who has a genuine desire to adopt a child, and who is found to wholly competent.
·         There are entirely valid and important reasons for some fees to be charged – and these are steeped in the reality of the situation.  Fees vary between adoption social workers and CPO’s, ranging between R5000 to R20 000 for a national adoption.  These fees are dependent on how much is subsidised by the DSD and the amount of work required to finalise an adoption in SA – an intensive process that requires skilled and experienced people.  The fees are derived from the costs of detailed assessments, pre-adoption workshops and preparation, counselling, administrative fees (often involving months of work), court preparation, legal documentation and court reports, ongoing consultation with DSD at both a provincial and national level, medical fees, and so on.  All the while, these children are taken care of, clothed, fed, kept healthy and homed by dedicated caregivers – none of which is without cost and none of which are included in the adoption fees.   

DSDs statement that adoptions will be ‘cheaper and easier’ when government social workers are also able to process adoptions is entirely misleading.  What Government should rather have been putting out there, is that once Government social workers are able to process adoptions, it will open up a new option for prospective adopters wishing to adopt, but that it works hand in hand with all the other role players in the adoption community, who also provide an excellent service to help people with the adoption process.

The National Adoption Coalition is constantly trying to recruit adoptive parents in what is a national crisis.  Putting out a false message that it costs R100,000 to adopt is wholly counter-productive and irresponsible, as it discourages anyone from coming forward to adopt. Adopting a child is a life changing and lifelong decision with enormous responsibilities – at all times child protection and putting the interests of children first are paramount before all other considerations. It seems inconceivable that the Department responsible for accrediting adoption service providers would want to discredit a community of organisations who do incredibly important work, who assist Government with training and skills transfer for their own social workers, and we can hopefully out these statement down to poorly conceived notions and statement by an individual who has possible not considered the long term unintended consequences of such statements.   
Adoption is a specialised service, which means that people who provide these services must be accredited to ensure that the best interests of the child are protected.  Many parents who have worked through a social worker who was not specialised have found that the adoption requirements were not properly met.  If government social workers are trained in this field, it would assist with the shortage of specialised adoption social workers, but it could not be done successfully without the support and skills transfer from specialists in private practice and dedicated child protection organisations.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Many Hands Make Light Work

First Seen on The Fatherheart 
This past weekend we had the privilege of attending a baby-shower for a place of Safety. Incidentally, this particular place of safety looked after our little one before he came home to us. Such a wonderful idea, getting a bunch of people together, most of whom would never be at a place to hear about the victories and losses experienced at a home like this.
Some stories gave you such hope and others reached deep within and had people questioning how others could be so cruel to those so small. Stories of sheer determination being found in the most unlikely places arose, from Corporate grinders turning their lives around to babies who in spite of the outside world’s desire to abort them, refused to give up, valiantly fought the odds, defeated cruel intentions and made their way into the hearts and lives of forever families.
But, and there always seems to be a “but”, what will result from an encounter like this? Even though many sat, listening intently, sharing a moment of vulnerability and agreeing with the mission, will anyone be moved from being a fan of the idea to becoming a champion of the cause?
I have two avenues I would like people to explore, the one is simple. It doesn’t hurt, it probably won’t even be felt by most and yet it will create something that may result in a ripple that will affect change that was never expected. The second idea, will require a little effort. I will need a few fearless  explorers to go on a journey that in spite of their feelings may lead them into a future where their hearts and lives are rocked to their core, where they become partners in prophetically altering the course of people’s lives. Whatever avenue is taken, I am certain, a difference will be made and lives changed for the better.
The first option is something I have been mulling over for far too long. The irony of money is that no-one has enough, yet there is more than enough to go around. We tend to look at mountains and see the size of our shovel and decide the project is impossible. We believe that without the heavy machinery, we toil in vain. Yet Jesus tells us, the harvest is great, but the workers are few (Mathew 9:37). He doesn’t say the harvest is great, pity about our little shovel! Theres a saying that begs the question “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is, one bite at a time. When the task is huge, we focus on the size of the whole and not the size of our whole. When things are broken up, the impossible becomes possible. Jesus shows us clearly that the issue we will face is not the harvest or the task but the manpower.
The idea of funding homes, adoptions, medical costs etc in the process of adopting is huge and we typically rely on big business, corporates, to come to the party and donate through events, golf days, fundraisers etc. Mostly for the incentive of tax breaks or corporate noddy badges that tell every one that you’re a “Good guy”. Don’t get me wrong, this needs to continue and if this is you, from the bottom of my heart thank you!

But what about you and me?

What about giving up 2 cappuccinos once a month? What if your decrease in caffeine resulted in you being a part of the greatest fund raising initiative since the lottery. What if you could be a part of effecting massive change from the comfort of your closed circle of friends. What if you could see on a monthly basis that you were a part of supplying thousands of nappies, formula, medicines, food, homes, caregivers or whatever else is needed.
I want to start a fund! It’s called the fatherheart fund. It starts with me picking 10 people plus me, so 11, and then having those 10 each find 10 more. Basically a pyramid scheme approach with the beneficiaries being places of safety and orphans. Before your discredit the idea, think about this, if I get 10, those 10 get 10 each and then those 10 find themselves 10 each, with only going to the third tier, the fund is generating over R50 000.00 per month. That’s over half a million every year aimed directly at the needs arising out of these homes and the adoption process. BOOM! All of a sudden, with the increase in shovels, moving the mountain may still be difficult, but it’s no longer impossible.
Let me have your thoughts, this is happening and I’d love input!
The second avenue, yup the harder route is this. Even though I don’t believe everyone should adopt, I do believe everyone should consider adoption. I have found that even though some say “I could never do what you’re doing” or “That’s not for us” my experience is that no-one actually puts any real effort into putting themselves in the position of meeting one of these little super stars, no-one does any reading or active inquiring into whether they actually could do what others do. The response to adoption is often knee jerk, based on opinion and a faulty belief in our own financial and emotional capacity.
I’m not saying you must, I believe you should, but at least put some thought into your response. take a look at the following:
Give them a call, find out what they’re about, can you help, how can you help. You’d be amazed at how your capacity grows. It’s like a muscle, work it a bit and it grows, you look and feel better and life takes on a whole new meaning.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

ConCourt to consider genetic link on surrogacy law

The Constitutional Court is set to consider whether the genetic-link requirement in surrogacy law should remain.

Click on image below to go to the article.

 The Constitutional Court is set to consider whether the genetic-link requirement in surrogacy law should remain

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Lies, damned lies and statistics: Unravelling South Africa’s child trafficking conundrum

A very thought provoking article 

In modern society there are few things as truly evil as human trafficking, especially when it involves children, and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba’s argument for those afflicted by the scourge is compelling. But his supposed solution has once again been called into question along with the statistical basis for the plan. It begs the question that if the minister’s strategy is really about solving South Africa’s child trafficking problem why, in a style reminiscent of ‘Saving Private Ryan’, is he willing to risk the lives and livelihoods of many for the sake of the ones and twos. While it is difficult to ignore the fervor with which he speaks, it is equally difficult to avoid the sense that his department is playing an elaborate game of Top Trumps with stakes that are appallingly high. Beyond the oratory, what does the research say about how to prevent trafficking?

(Click the link below for the full article)

Friday, 7 August 2015

Baby left on doorstep

First seen on News24 written by Chelsea Pieterse

JUST two hours old, a newborn baby wrapped in a orange throw, wide-eyed and looking around without making a sound, was left on the doorstep of a home in Cottonwood Lane, Panorama Gardens, yesterday morning.

The tiny baby girl, nicknamed Usiphile, which means “given to us”, was believed to be just two hours old when she was found on the doorstep of the Cottonwood Lane home. The umbilical cord was still attached and untied while dried amniotic fluid was still in her hair.

Homeowner Cebo Ntombelo found the baby girl when he walked out of his house to take his two children, aged seven and eight, to school.

His wife, Cindy, said her husband found the baby on the doorstep wrapped in the throw and covered in blood.

“It was very scary but we were happy to see she was alive.

“We took her into the house as it was cold outside and then we called the police right away.

“She was very cute, and had the chubbiest little cheeks. I don’t know how any mother can carry a child for nine months and then just abandon their own baby,” said Ntombela.

ER24 spokesperson Russel Meiring said when paramedics arrived they immediately assessed the child and found that she had suffered mild hypothermia but was in a stable condition.

“The young patient was treated by advanced life support paramedics and transported to Northdale Hospital for further assessment and treatment.”

Pietermaritzburg SAPS spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said the mother of the abandoned child had been found by police and was arrested yesterday afternoon.

“We can confirm the incident and the mother has been arrested and charged with child abandonment.”

The mother is expected to appear in court today.

Child Welfare director Julie Todd said that most babies who were abandoned were born at home and not at a hospital or clinic where the baby and mother would be monitored.

“Often these women think they do not have any alternatives and their families will not accept the baby and help look after it. They feel they need to abandon the baby.”

She said Child Welfare often found that the family of the woman were “happy to accept the child” and there was no reason to abandon the baby for fear of being rejected.

“If a woman has a baby and feels she cannot keep it because of her circumstances we encourage her to bring the baby to our organisation where we will take the baby into temporary care and assist the mother.”

She said it was important to consider the best interests of the infant.

She added that if the public were to come across an abandoned baby, that they should call paramedics immediately as well as child services and police.

A report by National Adoption Coalition South Africa (Nacsa) consultant Dee Blackie published in May last year said that an estimated 3 500 babies were abandoned in South Africa in 2010.

“There are no current statistics detailing the number of children who are abandoned in South Africa on an annual basis, but most child protection organisations believe that the numbers have increased significantly over the past decade,” said Blackie’s report.

Statistics gathered in the report also showed that of the 18,5 million children in South Africa, 4,5 million do not live with their parents.

“Orphans have increased 30% over the decade to approximately 5,2 million children.

“An estimated 150 000 children live in child-headed households, over 13 000 live in residential care facilities and an estimated 10 000 live on the streets of South Africa,” said Blackie.

The report also stated that ano-nymous child abandonment is a criminal offence with mothers facing charges such as concealment of birth and attempted murder.

“Baby safes are considered illegal in terms of the Children’s Act, however, these are being opened up more frequently given the increase in abandonment,” Blackie added

Monday, 20 July 2015

LETTER: Madonna’s act of love

Dee Blackie, A child protection activist, responds to an article in the Business Day.

Click the image below to see the full Article.

Friday, 10 July 2015


Originally appeared in Daily Maverick on the  09 JUL 2015 10:10 (SOUTH AFRICA)
Around 3,500 children are abandoned in South Africa annually. News of yet another child found dead or left in a precarious position elicits strong public condemnation and emotion. Public consensus on the issue of child abandonment generally provokes a knee-jerk response to blame and demonise mothers. But despite our deeply felt beliefs, research has indicated that while abandonment affects individuals, it is often as a result of wider socio-economic factors and ultimately, politics.
Click the image below for the full Article:
Daily Maverick-logo

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

MANDELA DAY, 18 JULY 2015 - Abba's Wishlist

If you want to get involved by making things a little bit easier for personnel at the Abba offices, herewith our current wishlist:
  • For outside/garden counselling area: outdoor garden table & chairs and a big garden umbrella (preferably NOT plastic)
  • For inside counselling area: dry walling to be installed, making 1 room into 2 smaller rooms
  • Wall-mounted heaters
  • Printer
  • Small projector to be used during training & presentations
  • 18 channel switchboard with 4 incoming lines
  • Carpentry services – building of book shelves & office cabinets
For more information please contact Lize on e-mail:


Monday, 22 June 2015

App guides parents through child visas

A local internet app that helps parents navigate South Africa’s maze of new child visa regulations has been accessed more than 8 000 times in its first three weeks.

The South Africa Child Visa Checklist app, which went live on May 30, is a free web-based service created by travel company the Discover Africa Group.
The app was set up after strict new regulations for children under 18 travelling to or from SA came into effect on June 1 despite opposition from within the tourism industry.
The regulations include the need for children to have an unabridged birth certificate, and other documents on a case-by-case basis, including court orders and adoption certificates.
The app was first developed as an in-house aid for travel consultants, before being published online for anyone to use.
Its creators said it was developed to “simply explain” the 15 different documents and 37 “unique scenarios” for children travelling in and out of SA.
“(It) removes the fear, uncertainty and complexity faced by parents trying to work out exactly which documents they need when travelling with their youngsters.”
Discover Africa Group spokeswoman Asanda Mcoyana said this week the app had been shared 1 500 times on Facebook since its launch.
She said the group had received “thank you” e-mails from travel agencies abroad.
Many agents said that they been using the tool to advise their clients travelling to SA.
The app, which can be accessed on mobile and desktop devices, gives users a step-by-step guide to which documents they need when travelling to or from SA with minors.
It does this by asking multiple-choice questions of travellers, such as who the child is travelling with; if the child’s parents are married, divorced or legally separated; and if the child has been adopted or is in foster care.
Visit for more information.

Friday, 19 June 2015

CHOOSE TO CARE - Unplanned Pregnancy Campaign

Yesterday marked the launch of the Unplanned Pregnancy Campaign, "Choose to Care".

The aim of the campaign is to change mindsets from "shaming and blaming" young girls who find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy, to "care and compassion", and the desire to help them make wise choices for themselves and their unborn child.

Visit the website as a wonderful tool, full of information! Also refer people to the website for help.

Please “like” and “share” with as many people as possible. 

Let’s keep on igniting a passion!

Congratulations Albie!!!

We at Abba Specialist Adoption and  Social Services would like to congratulate Albie Jackson on her graduation as a Social Worker.

Well done Albie, we're very proud of you.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

#ChildProtectionWeek - It also takes a village to rescue a baby


2015-06-09 09:06
Sergeant Nolan Wallace comforts the ice-cold but crying baby girl as he carries her from the pit latrine.
Sergeant Nolan Wallace comforts the ice-cold but crying baby girl as he carries her from the pit latrine. (Supplied)

The story in today’s Witness about the rescue of a newborn baby girl that was tossed down a pit toilet has both uplifting and depressing elements.
What would drive a mother to do this, is the first of many questions readers may have when reading the story. It is easy to look on in judgment of the mother that threw the baby into the toilet, and while this can never be condoned, it was probably the action of a desperate woman who may have felt she had few other options.
A study by the National Adoption Coalition published online may help answer the questions formulated in response to this story. The 2014 study quotes Child Welfare SA’s estimate that more than 3 500 babies were abandoned in South Africa in 2010.
They say the contributing factors to child abandonment are restrictive legislation, poverty, mass urbanisation, high levels of violence — ostensibly gender based violence and rape, extreme gender inequality, high levels of HIV/Aids, and diminishing family support.
The study also highlights African ancestral beliefs which indicate that the ‘Western’ practise of adoption is seen as problematic.
The National Adoption Coalition also touches on the sugar daddy phenomenon as a cause of teenage pregnancy and says abortion remains a contentious issue with women choosing this option often being labelled as immoral rather than as a woman making an informed and responsible choice.
The study also says that 65% of abandoned babies are newborn and primary site of abandonment is toilets, drains, sewers and gutters. Rubbish sites are the second most used location to leave an unwanted child.
The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child is perhaps particularly apt in the context of child abandonment.
While it is easy to blame government for not placing enough emphasis on birth control, sex education and social welfare support, society must look to itself and ask what more could be done to support and assist desperate mothers.
The beacons of hope here are that the baby survived, thanks to her rescuer.
It is not the first time that Search and Rescue policeman Lieutenant Jack Haskins has lowered himself into the putrid recesses of a pit latrine to rescue an infant. Haskins has once again shown that his courage and dedication to helping the community he works in is both selfless and heroic

Thursday, 4 June 2015

#ChildProtectionWeek 2015 & COURAGE

It is #ChildProtectionWeek 2015 in South Africa and Abba Adoptions will be involved in several outreach projects this week. Keep an eye on our Twitter-feed @abbaadoptions for updates.

And remember to wear your green ribbon in support of Child Protection Week!

Abba Adoptions is very proud to be an active partner of the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (NACSA).

NACSA recently announced the launch of Courage, an innovative child protection community engagement programme aimed at empowering communities to identify and solve their child protection challenges.

Herewith an extract of the official press release:

"Courage was developed through a partnership between NACSA, the Swedish Foundation for Children without Parental Care (Foraldraslosa barn) and project leader Dee Blackie, a child protection and change management specialist.

Courage is a picture based programme that uses posters, maps and a range of interactive training material to assist child protection officers, organisations, families and individuals to engage around the issues they face in their communities.  It helps participants to recognise the rights and needs of children, to identify and prioritise their child protection challenges and then gives them the strategies and tools they need to solve them.  The material can be used for a range of different purposes including: 
  • Prevention Programmes: Communication and awareness; advocacy; and capacity building.
  • Early Intervention: Sex, conception & pregnancy awareness; option counselling for crisis pregnancy; strategies for positive parenting; and individual or community empowerment.
  • Statutory Intervention: Child abandonment management, counselling of parents & children, court preparation; and stakeholder management.
  • Child Placement: Alternative care solutions; and adoption counselling.

“We decided to call the programme ‘Courage’ as we wanted to develop it as a positive and inspiring ‘ingredient’ in any community or child protection organisation.  When we asked social workers, psychologists, teachers, healthcare practitioners and police, all of them said they needed courage to deal with the child protection challenges that they face every day, and with that the brand was born”, explains Dee Blackie, global project leader.

Work on Courage started a year ago, when AdoptionCentrum Sweden secured funding to assist with the development of a holistic child protection programme that could be used throughout their global network.  Christina Gibson of Foraldraslosa barn explains their motivation for partnering with NACSA: “We wanted a toolkit that could be used anywhere in the world, that was user friendly and could help with capacity building of our stakeholders.  This tool would also need to strengthen the knowledge, attitude and skills of duty bearers to apply a legally secure caretaking system for children without parental care or at risk, and we believe Courage is just that toolkit”.

“Many child protection programmes are reactive and only serve to solve problems that already exist”, says Katinka Pieterse, Chair of NACSA, “the beauty of the Courage-programme is that it focuses on proactive and preventative solutions”. “Courage is aligned to Global, African and South African children’s rights declarations, and it also makes the implementation of the South African Children’s Act very practical and easy to apply,” adds Pieterse.

South Africa has 18.6 million children, which represents 36% of our total population.  Over a million children are born every year, however, they face a number of challenges.  Violence and violence-related injury is amongst the highest in the world in South Africa and is deeply embedded in our culture due to our troubled past.  The dominance of patriarchy in our communities tends to devalue the role of women and children, which has led to very high levels of domestic violence and abuse.  Social services lack the capacity to deal with many of the child protection challenges that they are faced with and poverty and inequality continues to hamper the majority of South African children’s development and growth.

Courage has been developed on the principle that all child protection challenges stem from some form of disempowerment.  It identifies 35 distinct child protection challenges, and all of these can be summarized into seven ‘disempowerment themes’. These themes include societal violence and inequality, exploitation, low self-esteem, abuse, addiction, ignorance and neglect.  However, for each of these disempowerment themes, there is an equally strong empowerment tool that Courage uses to drive a change in behaviour.  These empowerment tools include developing community values or a belief set, strengthening community partnerships, building self-esteem, encouraging love and empathy, harnessing leadership, growing knowledge and turning strategies into tangible action and delivery.

The Courage brand identity was developed by Circle Design and the interactive training material by Trainiac, a picture based training consultancy.  The engagement programme was piloted in South Africa, Zambia and Lesotho in March of this year with child protection experts in each country.  Knowledge and insight was collected from representatives of government, social development, NGO’s, safety and security, health and education.  The material was refined based on these pilot workshops and the final toolkit is now available for downloading at, a printed version can also be purchased at cost price.

Everyone has a role to play in the protection of our children, but often the challenges seem too great and the solutions too complex to enact real change” explains Blackie. “Courage is a practical toolkit that empowers individuals, families and organisations to develop and implement simple yet effective child protection programmes in any unique environment, we call it empowered care”.

Visit the website for all info and to download the toolkit:

Also read Dee Blackie's (Child Protection Activist) blog post ahead of Child Protection Week:

Article: The Star, 01 June 2015, page 2

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Interview on KykNet, Prontuit: Katinka Pieterse on adoption in SA

Recently our Program Director, Katinka Pieterse, spoke on KykNet's Prontuit about the challenges and processes of adoption in SA.

Follow the link to watch the interview on YouTube:

Monday, 1 June 2015

Visa laws fail to land at OR Tambo

First appeared in June 1 2015 at 12:15pm 

 Comment on this story
IOL ST Airport 652INDEPENDENT MEDIAPREPARED: Vivian and Lynne Alexander arrive at OR Tambo this morning with their baby. They were not asked for an unabridged birth certificate by customs, despite having the document. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya
Johannesburg - Although the minister of Home Affairs vowed the new immigration regulations would be in place on Monday, his officials appear not to have taken heed.
On Monday morning The Star visited OR Tambo to find travellers walking through customs without being asked for unabridged birth certificates for their children.
Vivian and Lynne Alexander came from Israel with their 19- month-old son, arriving on Monday morning on an overnight flight as SA citizens. They were not asked for an unabridged birth certificate despite having the document.
Mayihlome Tshwete, spokesperson for the Department of Home Affairs, could not comment on why officials were not asking for the unabridged certificates.
Home Affairs has assured prospective adoptive parents that the visa regulations won’t hinder intercountry adoptions.
Up until two weeks ago, the regulations were a concern for overseas parents wanting to adopt South African children.
“Adoptions have already been decreasing. When we first heard about this regulation in September last year, we were told by Home Affairs there’d be no exceptions,” said Katinka Pieterse, programme director at Abba Adoptions and Social Services.
Pieterse told The Star the visa regulations would delay the intercountry process of adoption causing parents coming from overseas to be stuck in South Africa for over a year because of all the red tape surrounding the new regulations.
“It takes months for international parents to adopt and this would prolong this because of amendment processes, court orders and getting hold of unabridged birth certificates,” said Pieterse.
The National Adoption Coalition South Africa (Nacsa) met with officials in an attempt to get an easier process put into place.
“We have 250 adoptions a year and we understood that if some sort of easier process was not put in place, it would deter intercountry adoptions from taking place.”
Pieterse said there was a concern about children born in illegal clinics, who were abandoned and didn’t have birth certificates.
“It’s something we are addressing so these children can be adopted locally or internationally.”
But two weeks ago, Home Affairs came up with a standard operating procedure that should keep the international adoption process to a few months.
This procedure includes a final order of adoption from the registrar, the unabridged birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents and a court order confirming the adoption.
Still, Nacsa believes the regulations may protect children if implemented correctly. “If this new law works properly, it will prevent child trafficking,” said Pieterse.
Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe told the World Economic Forum on Friday that the government was considering reviewing the regulations.
“They have had an unintended consequence, which needs to be addressed,” he said, according to Monday’s Business Report.
David Frost, chief executive of the Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa), said on Sunday the impact could already be seen in the 20 percent drop in bookings for this month. “We are going to take big hits,” he predicted.
Satsa, along with the Southern African Travel Agents (Asata) and the Board of Airline Representatives South Africa, said last week that from May to December last year, the country had lost 66 000 foreign tourists as a result of the pending regulations.
“The total direct, indirect and induced impact on the economy in 2014 was a negative R2.6-billion and a potential loss of more than 5 800 jobs,” they said.
The number of foreign tourists who decide not to travel to South Africa this year could increase to 100 000, with a direct tourism spend of R1.4bn, while the total net loss to the GDP could be about R4.1bn.
And 9 300 jobs could be axed.
The outbound industry is also set to lose at least R8-million, with further job losses likely.
Otto de Vries, the chief executive of Asata, said the industry was “expecting chaos”.
Air China has cancelled its planned direct flights here.
A survey carried out by The Telegraph in the UK found most people (61 percent) who took part in the poll would not visit South Africa because of the regulations.
James Vos, the DA’s spokesperson on tourism, described Malusi Gigaba, Home Affairs Minister, and Derek Hanekom, Tourism Minister, as “tourism terminators”.

Home Affairs says the regulations are in line with an international obligation to curb child trafficking, saying about 30 000 minors are trafficked through South Africa each year.
But the industry claims this figure is a myth. It came from Operation Mobilisation, an NGO, which has said it was misquoted.
The Star

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Good news for adoptive parents traveling with kids!!

The Department of  Home Affairs released it's document outlining the new requirements for minors traveling internationally.

Click Here to download the document.
Pay special attention to Point 9 :)

Here's the link again: (

Thursday, 14 May 2015

The new child visa laws explained...

Originally appeared on

Article By: Megan Ellis  Wed, 13 May 2015 9:45 AM

The Department of Home Affairs has released a brochure explaining the new immigration laws for children.
These new laws will come into effect of June 1, the brochure states.
The picture doesn't look good for many parents - with stringent requirements set out for a parent travelling with their child without their partner.
The new legislation states that parents travelling with a child will need to produce an unabridged birth certificate of the child, which includes information about the child's parents.
Meanwhile, parents of adopted children will need to provide an adoption certificate along with the unabridged birth certificate.
When one parent is travelling with a child, they must produce the unabridged birth certificate along with an affidavit from the other parent giving permission for the child to enter or leave the country with the present parent. The affidavit cannot be older than three months.
If one of the child's parents is deceased, a death certificate will be needed.
The new laws will apply to everyone travelling to and from South Africa - both citizens and foreigners.
The brochure also provides information for those travelling with children who are not the children's parents and the rules for unaccompanied minors.
See the full brochure below: