Foster care

About
What you should do
How long does it take
How much does it cost
Forms to complete
Who to contact

 

 

About applying for foster care

If you want to look after a child who is in need of care and protection, apply to the Department of Social Development office or an accredited child protection organisation for permission to foster the child.

Foster care is the temporary placement of a child who is in need of care and protection. The child is placed in the care of a suitable person who is not the parent or guardian of the child.

Who qualifies to be a foster child?
The child must be under 18 years of age and/or:

  • have been abandoned or orphaned and be without any visible means of support
  • display behaviour which cannot be controlled by the parent or care-giver
  • be living on the streets or begging for a living
  • be addicted to a dependence-producing substance and without any support to obtain treatment for such dependency
  • have been exploited or exposed to exploitation
  • be at risk if returned to the custody of the parent, guardian or care-giver
  • be in a state of physical or mental neglect, maltreated, abused or degraded by a parent, a care-giver, a person who has parental responsibilities and rights or a family member or by a person under whose control the child is.

Who qualifies to be a foster parent?
To qualify as a foster parent, you must be:

  • 18 years or older
  • fit and proper
  • willing and able to maintain the child
  • able to provide a favourable environment for the child's growth and development.

You can only foster a child for the period indicated in the court order. Once the indicated period of the court order has lapsed, the presiding officer may, after reviewing the recommendation from the social worker, extend the period of the court order.

What you should do

  1. Apply to your nearest Department of Social Development office or an accredited child protection organisation to foster a child.
  2. You will be referred to a social worker who will conduct an investigation.
  3. The social worker will assess you and the child.
  4. Submit the following:
    • an affidavit stating that the child is abandoned (if applicable)
    • death certificates of the parents (if applicable)
    • birth certificate of the child. If the child does not have a birth certificate, the social worker will assist you in obtaining the birth certificate
    • your identity document.
  5. The biological parents must be involved in the process.
  6. If you do not know where the biological parents are, the social worker will assist you in placing an advertisement in newspapers for one month, calling on them to come forward.
  7. If the biological parents do not come forward, the process will proceed.
  8. The child must be involved in the entire process.
  9. The social worker will compile a report and present it to the Children’s Court with recommendations.
  10. Based on the social worker’s report, the presiding officer at court may find the child to be in need of care and protection.
  11. The presiding officer will issue a court order approving the placement of the child with the foster parent. The court order will show the names of the foster parent, the foster child and the duration of the foster placement.

Note: Once the court order has been issued, you can apply for a foster child grant at your nearest South African Security Agency office. The child may also be exempted from paying fees at a public school and public health care institutions. For the child to be exempted from paying school fees, you have to fill in the exemption form which is available from the school, and submit a letter of recommendation from the social worker to the school

How long does it take

It varies from case to case.

How much does it cost

The service is free.

All forms are available at your nearest Department of Social Development office.

 

  • Eastern Cape
Provincial office
Tel040 609 5303 or 082 789 9646
Fax040 636 3175/ 639 2774/ 635 0693
City/townBisho
ProvinceEastern Cape
Physical addressRoom 247, 2nd Floor, Dukumbana Building, Independence Boulevard, Bisho, 5606
Postal addressPrivate Bag X0038, Bisho, 5605
  • Free State
Provincial office
Tel051 409 0596 or 083 578 7181
Fax051 409 0671
City/townBloemfontein
ProvinceFree State
Physical address6th Floor, Liberty Life Building, C/o Church and Andrew Street, Room 604, Bloemfontein, 9301
Postal addressPrivate Bag X20657, Bloemfontein, 9300
  • Gauteng
Provincial office
Tel011 355 7840
Fax011 492 1094
City/townJohannesburg
ProvinceGauteng
Physical address6th Floor, Thusanong Bldg, 60 Commissioner Street (Cnr Simmonds), Johannesburg, 2000
Postal addressPrivate Bag X35, Johannesburg, 2000
  • KwaZulu-Natal
Provincial office
Tel011 355 7840
Fax011 492 1094
City/townJohannesburg
ProvinceGauteng
Physical address6th Floor, Thusanong Bldg, 60 Commissioner Street (Cnr Simmonds), Johannesburg, 2000
Postal addressPrivate Bag X35, Johannesburg, 2000
  • Limpopo
Provincial office
Tel015 293 6183 or 083 415 9030
Fax015 293 6211
City/townPolokwane
ProvinceLimpopo
Physical addressHealth and Social Development Building , 18 College Street Polokwane
Postal addressPrivate Bag X9302, Polokwane, 0700
  • Mpumalanga
Provincial office
Tel013 766 3009/3187 or 082 786 4961/083 533 2173
Fax013 766-3456
City/townNelspruit
ProvinceMpumalanga
Physical address1st Floor, Building 3, Government Complex, Government Boulevard, Parking X2, Riverside Complex, Nelspruit, 1200
Postal addressPrivate Bag X11285, Nelspruit, 1200
  • National
Provincial office
Tel012 312 7605
Fax012 323 3733
City/townPretoria
ProvinceNational
Physical addressHSRC Building, North Wing, 134 Pretorius Street
Postal addressPrivate Bag X901, Pretoria, 0001
Web addresswww.socdev.gov.za
  • North West
Provincial office
Tel018 384 8633 or 083 626 0912
Fax018 384 2517/4484
City/townMmabatho
ProvinceNorth West
Physical address1st Floor, Room 1.12, Tirello Building, Dr. Albert Luthuli Drive, Mmabatho, 2735
Postal addressPrivate Bag X6, Mmabatho, 2735
  • Northern Cape
Provincial office
Tel053 874 9247/9144 or 083 561 6155
Fax053 874 1361
City/townKimberley
ProvinceNorthern Cape
Physical addressMimosa Building, Homestead, Barclay Road, Kimberley, 8300
Postal addressPrivate Bag X5049, Kimberley, 8300
  • Western Cape
Provincial office
Tel021 483 5813 or 084 549 8185
Fax021 483 8719
City/townCape Town
ProvinceWestern Cape
Physical addressUnion Building, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Postal addressPrivate Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000