Thu Oct 27 13:00:57 SAST 2016

Over 2,000 kids thrown away yearly

By Olebogeng Molatlhwa | Jul 01, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Unwanted pregnancies by teenage mothers and HIV-positive mothers who feel they cannot take care of an HIV-positive child are main reasons behind the abandonments.

MORE than 2,000 children  are abandoned annually in  South Africa because of  Aids, poverty, drug abuse  and teenage pregnancies.

Most of the children are  under the age of 10, as it is  reportedly “easier” to abandon them in public areas  such as parks and hospitals,  while older children are left  with relatives before the biological parents disappear.

Child Welfare South  Africa has also revealed that  mothers, particularly economic migrants and asylum  seekers from neighbouring  countries, were abandoning  their children in big numbers at hospitals after birth.

It was also proving difficult to identify and find the  mothers because they give  false names .

The mothers soon return  to their native countries  without their babies, with  the knowledge that the children will be safe and cared  for.

Megan Briede, acting  Gauteng coordinator of  Child Welfare SA, told Sowetan that between 2,000 and  2,300 cases of child abandonment and neglect had been  recorded over the last three  years, an increase of  between 8percent and  10percent year on year.

“The problem (of abandoned children) is not levelling off but showing a  steady increase,” Briede  said.

“Child Welfare SA has  recorded approximately  2,392 new cases of abandonment (in the past year), with  the majority (60 percent to  75 percent) being African.”

Current statistics put the  figures of abandoned children at:

  • African: 1500
  • Coloured: 700
  •  Indian: 70 to 80
  • White: 30

 Carly Ritz of Johannesburg Child Welfare said  abandoned children were  pouring into her centre  daily.

She said: “These children  come into our centre on a  daily basis. They are  brought in by the police or  neighbours.

“We put them in places of  safety, but sometimes these  are full and some have to  stay (at Johannesburg Child  Welfare) for an extended  period because it takes a  while to find suitable adoption candidates.”

Mpumalanga’s Child Welfare SA coordinator Belinda  Sellers said the province had  registered 500 cases of  neglect and 120 cases of  abuse, with 65 of these  placed in temporary care.

Sellers said unwanted  pregnancies by teenage  mothers and HIV-positive  mothers who felt “they cannot take care of an HIV-positive child” were main reasons behind the abandonments.

The problem of teenage  mothers abandoning their  children also extended to the  Cape Flats, with chief executive of Child Welfare in  Cape Town Niresh Ramklass  saying cases of abandoned  babies at less affluent places  were frequent.

 “Babies as young as 12  months old are frequently  abandoned in plastic bags in  open fields and residential  places,” he said.

“Poverty seems to be one  of the factors driving this  scourge, but we realised that  teenage pregnancies were  also to blame.”

Ramklass said he and his  team realised this after a  flurry of new-born babies  were dumped in school  yards around the Flats.

The situation in Bloemfontein is equally precarious.

Social worker at Child  Welfare Bloemfontein Ingrid  Bell said they had received  15,776 calls related to child  abuse, neglect and abandonment over the last year, of  which 5,345 were referred  for investigations.




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