My Journey with GCF – Shamitha Ramsuran

I have been a social worker for over 33 years. My former 24 working years were spent predominately in the UGU District; the latter being area manager and provincial manager of Child Welfare SA, still with significant connectivity in the UGU District. Hence, my relationship with Place of Restoration/Give a Child a Family spans 30 years.  I observed GCF being born, stumbling and growing from cradle to adulthood.

As a social worker, I initially utilised Place of Restoration as a Place of Safety, for the placement of abused and vulnerable children in need of care on the Form 4 and thereafter court-ordered placements. GCF understood the plight of social workers and was ever so willing and endeavoured their utmost to accommodate the requests from social workers.

Shamitha Ramsuran

My further journey with GCF has included:

  • Utilising GCF as a temporary safe care facility for children in need of care and protection. GCF was always willing to accommodate my requests as a social worker, manager and Director. We were fortunate also for GCF to accommodate our children during the Covid-19 pandemic and having a separate isolation wing for children in need of care; whilst other CYCC were closed for new admissions.
  • Tapping into their database of screened parents/foster parents; hence assisting in fast-tracking placement of children in secure families
  • Continuous screening of foster parents and ongoing training and support
  • Referral of parents for parenting skills programme
  • Providing financial assistance to clients that cannot afford certain services
  • Sponsoring of services in order to expedite finalising care and custody of children
  • Sharing of resources and facilities
  • Key stakeholder/networking partners
  • Coordinating and facilitating training and development with all Child Welfare organizations in the Province.
  • GCF assisting with free training or training at a very reduced rate.
  • Together lobbying and advocating for children and other pertinent issues affecting families/communities and social service professionals
  • Joint education and awareness programmes/community dialogues/community action

I support then as;

  • GCF has taken the initiative of performing the Government’s role, in initiating and sustaining a Child and Youth Care Centre [temporary safe care].
  • As a social service professional, we struggled in placing children with special needs and “the difficult to place child”. GCF has been open to admitting and accommodating children with special needs and the difficult to place child.
  • GCF provides excellent and valuable workshops/training programmes and parenting skills programmes that has been endorsed by Department of Social Development and Department of Justice. 
  • With our South African economic climate, the Covid-19 pandemic, unrests and riots, most non-governmental organizations barely manage to survive. GCF should be commended on providing care and services of a high quality, during these difficult times.
  • Networking and a key stakeholder in various forums
  • Key stakeholder, represented in Local, Provincial and National structures  
  • Advocating on pertinent issues and protecting the rights of children/families and communities

In my opinion, GCF is making a tremendous impact. It is a valuable, professional resource in the country. They have been very instrumental in:

  • Capacity building of individuals/families/social service professionals and communities
  • Mentoring individuals and community-based organizations
  • Self-development through dialoguing and training workshops
  • Strengthening families by promoting the “best interest of child principle”, ensuring that children remain with families and endeavouring to avoid children being placed in the most restrictive environment.
  • Empowering communities
  • Support structure for emerging Community Based Organisations
  • Helping children to protect themselves
  • Having a Database of screened foster parents
  • Screening of foster parents/on-going training and support
  • Care and services of a high quality
  • Emergency Care Parents
  • Support structure for social workers
Shamitha Ramsuran

What does GCF mean to me personally? The management and staff of GCF have always afforded me with great respect and valued my expertise, knowledge and skills. I have for example been invited as a guest speaker for social work forums. I share a healthy, long-standing relationships with management and staff. And, GCF was instrumental in arranging/hosting a very expressive, poignant farewell function for me, via the social work forum.

GCF is the only forum in KZN that I know that acknowledges and appreciates social service professionals, by initiating and facilitating Social Work forums, providing a platform for them to destress, relax, socialise and re-energise/regroup.

A few keywords to describe GCF are:

  • Love All
  • Serve All
  • Sharing
  • Caring
  • Children in Secure Families
  • Temporary Safe Care

Thanking You.

Shamitha Ramsuran, social worker in private practice

1 Comment

  1. Neermala Sathanundh on September 30, 2022 at 3:27 am

    Keep up the good work,you are so blessed.

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