Tough year for RBFC

Zululand Observer - Weekender - - ZO NEWS - Tam­lyn Jolly

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.

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