Some of the children awaiting to be adopted play with toys at Alice Adoption Home in Westcliff. File Picture: Bonile Bam.
Changes in adoption policies are set to take place, clarifying the regulation of an unmarried father’s status and the promotion and protection of a child’s right to physical and psychological integrity.

The government is going ahead with a bill that will change the face of adoptions in the country.

Last Monday, the Department of Social Development announced in the Government Gazette its intention to introduce the Children’s Amendment Bill of 2019 into the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces.

The adoption clause is one of the many issues the bill sets out to change. One of the provisions will mean that professionals will no longer be paid for facilitating adoptions.

The amendments will effectively put an end to adoptions in South Africa because accredited child protection organisations, adoptive social workers, lawyers, psychologists and other associated professionals will not be able to charge for their expertise.

This means that adoptions will be have to be done by the already-overworked state social workers.

One of the fiercest critics of the bill is Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz. He said social workers had high case-loads, with some having well over 100 cases, despite norms and standards recommending a maximum of 60.

Fritz said: “While a partial truth has been reported that the state will absorb the work of doing adoptions, the reality is that its social workers will not have the time to facilitate adoptions since they are unable to keep pace with the basic demand for emergency-safe care and foster-care services.”

Social Development Department spokesperson Lumka Oliphant said: “The issue of fees for adoption created challenges where the best interests of children were compromised. This was because not enough effort was made to consider alternative care options.”

The country has at least 3.7 million orphaned and vulnerable children.