The Springs and Kwa-Thema Child Welfare Society held its annual general meeting last Wednesday.
The year covered in the meeting was the period from April 2017 and March 2018.
In the chairman’s report, Dario Froli says the past year has been the most difficult one to date and it has made future planning impossible.
Froli says the society managed to bring down a very tight budget even further.
“The closure of the child protection services in Springs has increased the burden on welfare,” says Froli.
Also concerning Froli was the increased use of drugs amongst school going children and the society hopes to work towards minimising this increase as well as helping parents and children cope with the depression that is so prevalent.
Froli appealed to the community to get more involved in helping the society give children a chance to live in a safe environment.
In the programme manager’s report, Sanet van Moerkerken explained that the society has four levels of service, which are prevention, early intervention, statutory and development.
Van Moerkerken emphasised that the society will try to keep children within a family environment as far as possible.The society has also seen an increase in the number of undocumented children.
Social workers at the society face a heavy case load with each one working with 226 cases.
There is a also a foster case backlog that is a challenge for the society with 284 matches outstanding out of 394 children, with the society doing removals daily and weekly.
The society also trains social workers and has development projects in different parts of Springs.
Despite the challenges, van Moerkerken was full of praise for staff members.
“The staff have shown passion and dedication and they do their best to protect the vulnerable.
“Thank you for your selflessness and continued efforts,” says van Moerkerken.
The 2818/2019 board was also chosen at the meeting.
Chairman is Johan van Niekerk.
Vice-chairperson is Dario Froli.
Secretary is Vanessa van Niekerk.
Treasurer is Emile Steyn.
The co-opted members are Eunice Mabuza and Pastor Skumbuzo Nzutha.