How do I become a foster parent?

If you have stuck around for some time, you know that GCF has a Foster Care Programme, which started with the realisation that children remained far too long in Child and Youth Care Centres (children’s homes) when they had been removed from their parents or caregivers. They lost out on stable and loving family life, community experiences outside residential care, and all that comes with it.

Nozuko Mkhwalo (GCF’s Manager for Training) facilitated the Foster Care training last week at GCF’s Training Centre.

Last week, GCF had another five-day long Foster Care training for a group of potential foster parents, who are going through our processes. So, exactly what do those processes mean? Quite a lot … Firstly, it takes a rather long time for a reason, but it’s all worth it. Our foster care team is as thorough as they can be to secure families where children will feel safe and where they will be nurtured and loved, just as every girl and boy should. Everyone in the household will be interviewed. Home visits will be done. Required and crucial documents for children’s safety must be handed in and the above-mentioned foster care training to be attended. All this, before a final decision can be taken to add a family to GCF’s Foster Care Database for approved families. The only way to receive a child through our organisation is if you are on the mentioned database and a social worker has approached us for a foster family for a specific child, from one of the Child and Youth Care Centres in the area. First then, we compare the child’s profile with the different potential foster families’ profiles to find the one family we believe will meet the child’s unique needs the best.  If all goes as we wish, the child and foster family will get to know each other, bond well, and finally can live together via a decision in court.

To be honest, being a foster family is not easy. It is definitely not a walk in the park, but still, there are women and men willing to freely open their hearts to children from broken backgrounds, like the ones in last week’s training. They allow changes to happen and are aware that their family will never be the same again. Every family member is a part of a foster child’s journey to healing, connection, and attachment. Always remember that children in foster care had a life before. They have been through things a foster parent doesn’t know anything about. Things that the social worker has no idea about. Being a foster parent can be emotionally draining; hard decisions will be taken and goodbyes might be said to the ones they learned to love and care so deeply for.

GCF is always looking for new foster parents. If you are interested, perhaps the time is now. If you live in the UGU District, in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, then you can contact us (see details below), but if you reside elsewhere please make an appointment with your local social work office.

Phone us on 039 317 2761 or email info@gcf.org.za

Written by Anna-Karin Öhrnstedt

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