Child Welfare back on track
SOUTH CAPE "The level of service delivery at certain child welfare branches in the Southern Cape that have been compromised since October last year is over," said Georeen van Rensburg (Provincial Manager: Child Welfare Western Cape).
"As from Saturday 1 July the Child Welfare Western Cape Board has taken back control of the province’s finances dealing directly with the Department of Social Development (DSD). The Western Cape however still remains affiliated to Child Welfare South Africa (CWSA)."
At a national level CWSA has dire financial problems, due to mismanagement, the improper use of funds received from DSD and infighting between the national board and management. From October 2016 staff salaries at the Western Cape regional office in Bellville were paid erratically and when salaries were paid the staff only received a portion of their salaries. The area mangers who service the smaller CWSA branches also received irregular salary payments.
Mercia Cole, CWSA Southern Cape Area Manager who services the Southern Cape branches from Heidelberg in the east to Plettenberg Bay in the west, as well as the Little Karoo said: "It has been a very taxing period for us as we never had money for petrol and with telephone lines cut due to non-payment area managers weren’t able to conduct the obligatory branch inspections. The branches themselves weren't as badly effected as their DSD subsidies were paid directly into the local Child Welfare bank accounts.”
Van Rensburg, who comes from Mossel Bay explained: “As from 1 July, Child Welfare Western Cape (CWWC) has been recognised by DSD as being a separate entity and will be managed independently of the national board. CWWC will now be payed directly by DSD and will be administrated and managed from Bellville. I’m looking forward to the new dispensation (in the past the Western Cape was independent but was coerced into joining the national board) and hope that the problems of the past are now behind us.”
George Child and Family Welfare (GCFW) was not affected by the shenanigans taking place at CWSA as it is run independently of CWSA, but is affiliated to CWSA. GCFW does not rely on the management input of the area manager that is applicable to the smaller branches.
According to Cole, the Albertinia and Heidelberg branches which were under the direct control of CWSA, are once autonomous organisations which will be operating under the management of the provincial board. “There is a vast improvement in positivity of the local child welfare branches as the news of the new arrangement starts filtering through,” said Cole.
(Myron Rabinowitz is a long standing member of the Board of George Child and Family Welfare - Editor)
Mercia Cole (left) and Georeen van Rensburg believe that Child Welfare will once again be in a position to service its clients professionally. Photo: Myron Rabinowitz