Cape Town - Miracle Kidz safe house for abused, abandoned and neglected babies and toddlers said they are hoping to see support from parents for unstable children.
This was after they continued to see an increase in the number of enquiries about the placement of unstable babies at their facilities.
According to the founder of Miracle Kidz Safe House, Elsie du Plessis, the number of abandoned babies kept increasing and this showed the lack of support and love from their parents.
She also said that in many cases, babies sent to Miracle Kidz safe house suffered from foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or were drug babies.
‘’A child is a gift that we need to cherish irrespective of their chronic disability or disorders. Unfortunately some children are born naturally with a disability or disorder and others suffer the consequences of their mother’s actions during pregnancy. A child needs to be loved, protected and nurtured for their future,’’ she said.
Charmaine Lillie, a 61-year-old foster parent who adopted a baby through Miracle Kidz, said the child was only 10 days old when he was removed from his mother who was a drug addict.
‘’My son was born a drug baby as his mother was a drug addict. She had five other children that she could not take care of and most of the children were taken away from her and placed in safe homes. Miracle Kidz gave him the love and care that a newborn baby needs at that stage in his life.
‘’I feel the Department of Social Development (DSD) and the Education Department does not do enough to educate children in schools as to the bad effects drugs and alcohol have on the babies when the mom is pregnant. Most of these young people never learn the harm they have caused to the child as the majority of them are cared for by someone other than the parents,’’ she said.
Lillie said the government needed to focus on this area as soon as possible as things were getting out of hand. Many newborn babies were being abandoned or died at birth because of the lack of support and understanding from their parents, she added.
The Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities (WCAPD) said there were still families who neglected their disabled children. For this reason many communities used volunteers as carers at centres for children with disabilities and these volunteers played a vital role in the sustainability of the centres.
WCAPD director Elmien Grobbelaar, said: ‘’The lack of support can mainly be attributed to the lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding which leads to exclusion and limitation of the potential of children with disabilities. Legislation protecting children is available but implementation remains a concern. It remains the government’s responsibility to serve vulnerable groups, including children with disabilities.”
The provincial Department of Social Development said the abuse of disabled children often went undetected and under-reported.
DSD spokesperson Covenant Chigome, said: ‘’Consequently, we work with various non-profit organisations (NPOs) in providing much-needed child protection services. It is also important to note that any child that is sexually abused (children with disabilities, too) will be referred to a Thuthuzela Centre for a health assessment.
‘’The challenge we often experience with NPOs when we assist them is that they complain about the lack of funding, and they do not always follow proper procedures and standards for supporting these children. For this reason, we offer capacity building and undertake a developmental approach to NPOs to help strengthen their service delivery.
‘’Another major challenge is the department has limited residential facilities for children with disabilities requiring specialised care. To mitigate this risk, the department provides additional support to community outreach programmes,’’ he said.
Chigome condemned abuse against children with disabilities and urged women not to abuse drugs and other substance while pregnant.
Du Plessis concluded: ‘’No one ever deserves to be abused, especially a child. There is nothing a child could ever do to deserve abuse and will unfortunately carry the effects of abuse for life, whether it is physical, sexual or emotional.’’