Children refuse to return to home

2010-06-05 00:00

THE board of the Natal Children’s Home may be removed after 44 of the 68 children housed there refused to go back.

On Monday The Witness reported that the children were taken to a place of safety after the management rented their rooms to Comrades Marathon runners, and made the children sleep in tents and the garage.

They were supposed to have gone back on Wednesday, but a source close to the home said the children refused to go back.

An urgent meeting was held yesterday between department officials and the social workers, who work closely with the children, to establish why they don’t want to go back.

The source said on Thursday that only 24 children are at the home.

“The problem is the management, not the general employees,” said the source.

“Everyone is worried about this and want government to intervene,” said the source.

An employee said the children have little free time. After school they do homework, have supper, do the dishes and take a bath. From about 7 pm until 8.30 pm they watch television before going to bed. On Saturday they do chores such as cleaning the yard and house and washing the cars.

“What type of a child is conditioned to lead that kind of life? The management is so mean to these children,” said the employee.

Yesterday, the chairperson of the home, Gert van Vuuren, said the matter is still under discussion.

Last week department spokesperson Mandla Ngema said the board in charge of the home was not well informed about some of the provisions of the Children’s Act, but he said they would be offered training, for the benefit of the children.

However, yesterday Ngema changed his tune, saying the department is looking at getting rid of the board.

“These children are abused and we are interviewing them to get to the bottom of the matter.

“We are working towards finding a way of removing the board and placing the children under proper care. Yesterday we decided that a full report on the investigation be made available on Wednesday and any action taken will be based on the report,” said Ngema.

In the meantime, some of the children will be taken back to their families while arrangements will be made for others during the holidays.

They will then be placed in other homes until the matter is resolved.

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