Tough year for RBFC
DESPITE a challenging year for Richards Bay Family Care (RBFC), the non-profit organisation managed to carry out its core function of protecting and helping our community’s most vulnerable children. A team of just five social workers, two social auxiliary workers and a social work supervisor conducted all projects, including statutory, therapeutic, prevention programmes and special projects. RBFC’s statutory work makes up 70% of the NPO’s services rendered and involves intense and sensitive processes of investigation, assessment and evaluation of cases prior to a report being presented at the children’s court.
‘In our community, children have to survive in vulnerable living conditions and are abused sexually, emotionally and physically,’ said RBFC Social Work Supervisor, Zakithi Mahlati.
During the year in review, RBFC social workers conducted 172 children’s court hearings. Services finalised with the children’s court included screening of alternative care placements, for which 146 families were screened to establish suitability as safe care parents; 336 foster care cases were supervised; 32 children were placed in temporary safe care while social workers investigated their home circumstances; four children with special needs were The driving force behind Richards Bay Family Care - Louise Brockmann (board member), Renier Botha (Chairperson), Ps Ivan Naidoo (Vice Chairperson), Elvin Venter (Treasurer), Motselisi Mosiana (board member) and Zakithi Mahlati (Social Work Supervisor) Richards Bay Family Care placed in children’s homes or youth care centres; 17 children were reunited with their families; eight out of 19 adoption applications received were finalised, and 58 mediation for parenting plans were provided.
More than 200 children and their families received trauma counselling services and, despite no funding for dry food parcels, 387 food parcels from RBFC sponsor Woolworths Richards Bay were handed to needy families.
RBFC prevention programmes focus on empowering children and their families to decrease the need for legal intervention.
More than 300 children attended life skills sessions, 482 attended RBFC’s holiday programme, 161 empowerment services were rendered to caregivers and 104 parents were empowered with parenting skills through RBFC’s Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP) programme.
‘Escalating challenges facing our communities demand us to have more human resources, but unfortunately the financial position of our organisation does not allow us that opportunity,’ said Mahlati.
‘We have good working relationships with stakeholders, including SAPS, fellow organisations and schools.’
Chairperson Renier Botha said in his report that, despite trying times at RBFC, closing the organisation’s doors is not an option as ‘a child without access to a social worker which RBFC provides, has no access to our legal system for justice or assistance.’
Recent difficulties were reversed by implementing quality controls and staff training, both of which have had a positive effect.