Solidarity union members protest outside Sasol. The union on Friday announced that it had established a network for social workers as to ensure that their profiles are raised. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/REUTERS.

PORT ELIZABETH - Trade union Solidarity announced on Friday that it has established a network for social workers as to ensure that their profiles are raised.

Solidarity's head of innovation, Marisa Engelbrecht, said Solidarity Occupational Guild for Social Workers would focus on acting as a watchdog for the profession.

This after a temporary interdict was granted earlier this week which ordered the Department of Social Development to return almost 200 children to children's homes. 

According to Engelbrecht, the Department of Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal’s “hasty displacement of children” the past week and the mere fact that the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled in favour of the Christian Social Services (CSS), is testimony to the Department’s dysfunctionality to follow protocol. 

Earlier this week, CSS won a legal bid to order the provincial department of social development to return 197 children taken from their care. 

Amid allegations of racism and abuse, last week social workers had removed 146 children from the Ladysmith site, 33 from Morester in Newcastle and 18 from Home Meah, also in Newcastle. At the time the children were placed in government-owned child and youth care centres.

“Once again it just confirmed that Social Workers are exposed to unethical and ill-considered decisions by ignorant people in high-ranking positions,” said Engelbrecht. 

Engelbrecht said that before the claim could even be investigated the children were removed. 

“Apart from the serious trauma the children had to endure, Social Workers and Caregivers had to try different tacks to solve the problem. The administrative and emotional pressure which the Department placed on the relevant people who had to deal with the traumatised children, is unacceptable,” Engelbrecht said.

Solidarity’s Occupational Guild for Social Workers welcomed the court’s ruling that the further investigation must be completed by 18 March without traumatising the children any further.

African News Agency (ANA)