Gauteng social development department seeking biological dads

The Gauteng department of social development is trying to track down the biological fathers of more than 600 children.

In an advert placed by the department that listed 776 children‚ notifying their biological families that unless they come forward‚ the children would be placed in foster care‚ the majority listed were trying to trace biological fathers‚ with only a few trying to find the mother.

Xaba Mbangwa‚ spokesperson for the department‚ said that if the department fails to locate the biological families‚ the children will be placed in foster care or given up for adoption.

“As the department‚ we are the custodians of children. As soon as a child is without a parent‚ we take parentship. Some of the children on the list have mothers – but after identifying that the mother is an unsuitable parent‚ we continue the search for the father.

“The opposite is also true. And we look for the fathers‚ because we want to give each parent a fair chance to come forward. Currently the children are in the care of government‚ at child and youth care centres where they stay from day one till they are 18 years of age.” said Mbangwa.

A social worker who works closely with some of the children‚ Ntombenhle Ntesheni‚ said that they cannot finalise anything until a family member claims the child.

“If the paternal family comes forward‚ they must plead their case to us and after consideration‚ we may allow them to take care of the child. We want to avoid a situation where people take the children only because they want to receive the foster-care grant.

“We advertised the children’s names in the hope that a biological family member will come forward. I cannot go into details of the circumstances of the children. If no one comes forward‚ we then write a report to the court and start looking for foster parents and draft parental agreements‚” said Ntesheni.

In some cases listed in the advert‚ the department is looking for foster care placement for the children concerned.

Last week‚ South African mothers took to Facebook to name and shame deadbeat fathers‚ as they launched their fight against child-maintenance defaulters.