A couple of years ago I had some problems with my adult daughter who at the time had two minor children aged about 3 and 5 respectively. My daughter got involved with drugs and as we all know, things only get worse and never better. I reported the matter to the Social Services, at the time in the area where I lived, the ACVV rendered Social Services. It took a fight of approximately 2 years before I could have the children removed from their mothers custody and placed in my foster care. At the time of reporting the matter I was told that children cannot be removed from parents custody unless there are physical signs of abuse. I was horrified to hear this and ended up sending letters to the director of ACVV in the Western Cape. I informed this person that I will sue her and her whole department should any harm came to my grandchildren because of their refusal to act.
About a month later I was notified to appear in the Children's Court for a hearing. At the time, the father of the children, who has been and still is an alcoholic, also attended Court but the childrens mother refused to attend any hearings. So after this 2 year battle the children were placed in my care.
I took them for evaluations with a psychologist and doctors and everything else that was necessary. At the time I also received a grant from the Government for the two children, I think it was approximately R600.00 per child. Anyway this was not even enough to pay for their daycare.
The father who was suppose to pay R1,000.00 maintenance towards the childrens needs always had problems and we always ended up with major dramas before he would pay the money, if I was lucky enough to get it. The mother refused to pay any money and never appeared in any Court proceedings, yet nothing was ever done by the Courts to rectify this.
The children were placed in my care (after the 2 year fight with Social Services) for a period of 2 years and then it was extended for a further 6 months. During this time, the mother was still involved with drugs and also ended up as a dancer at Teasers in Cape Town. Towards the last 6 months of the children being in my care, she met someone who helped her get off the drugs and she started rehabilitating.
Now there is a fairly complicated story regarding the mothers background (one which people think is fiction if I tell them about the things she had done since she was about 9 years old). Anyway, as soon as she stopped using the drugs, she started manipulating the children to go live with her again. Now in my mind no logical person will do things to children like she did. She bribed them with day trips every month, promised to buy them pets, told them that if they did not come to live with her, she will disappear and they will never see her again. This was extremely upsetting for the children.
I had many discussions with the Social Worker on the case. I requested that a psychiatric evaluation be done on the mother before the children are placed back in her care as she has a history of being very unpredictable and emotionally underdeveloped. For me to write all this down, you must understand is not all that easy, this is my child. However, she is an adult and she has made choices in her life and like all of us, you have to live with the consequences of actions and choices. At this point in time, my only concern is for my grandchildren who have been seriously traumatised by both there parents in less than 3 years that they were placed back in the mothers care.
Since August 2010 no Social Worker has ever done any follow up visits. There were never any enquiries made as to the welfare of the children.
I attended at the offices of the Social Workers during the middle of March 2013. I spoke to one of the Social Workers and explained the situation. I raised my concerns about the welfare of the two children and I was informed that the file (which were now placed in archives) will immediately be drawn and the matter re-opened. Needless to say, 4 weeks later and nothing.
I have been to the Clerk of the Childrens Court, requesting them to assist me, all that was done, was another file opened and one call to the Social Services requesting the file, the Clerk was informed that the file is in archives and they have not been able to look for it....this was one week after my visit to the offices of Social Services.
I kept on making enquiries and were told all sorts of stories everytime I made enquiries. I eventually requested to speak to the most senior person at Social Services. I was put through to this lady who then told me that the "registry" is "two steps away from her office" and she would immediately have the file drawn and call me back.
Still waiting on that call.
I phoned again and again, eventually I was told that I need to contact the Social Workers in the areas where the children live. One lives with the mother, the other with the father, but attends boarding school.
I eventually obtained the services of a private Social Worker who agreed to help me with the necessary investigations. I had a meeting with her and she also consulted with the minor children. I was advised that she has no statutory rights and cannot removed children but that she would do the necessary report and will then instruct the Social Workers in the relevant areas.
She also told me that if there is no physical abuse, children cannot be removed from their parents. However, if you attend the offices of the Childrens Court in Plein Street, Cape Town, you will find posters all over indicating what is constituted as child abuse, ie not providing in a childs needs, screaming and shouting, not feeding children, hitting children, emotionally abusing childre etc etc....notwithstanding this, the Courts needs proof of physical abuse (or like the Social Worker told me during my 2 year fight with them, if there is no blood, we have no case)????
My daughter at this stage is using drugs again, she has walked out of her job, has a sexual relationship with her half brother, the father is drinking basically everyday, lost his job about 3 weeks ago. He now gets physically abusive towards the children when he is drunk.
The situation at my daughters house is so bad that the younger one of the two children asked to move in with her father (she does not even like her father).....Between the father and mother they arranged that he will take the child to school every morning and she will go to the mother in the afternoon to help her with schoolwork and that he will then fetch her again at night. This arrangement only lasted for about 3 or 4 days and the child ended up staying at the mothers house again.
I visited South Africa during March-April and was horrified to find out in what state these children were. They seem to have changed personalities. The one who were the "sunshine" child, always happy, making friends, chatting and laughing, was completely withdrawn and quiet. She is in boarding school because she decided that it is better to be there than to live with either mother or father. The younger one told me that she no longer wants to live with her mother because she does not like what happens at home.
I told all these things to the Social Services yet they are not doing a thing. The father has attempted to slap the oldest child while he was drunk one evening while she had a friend visiting her, but she was fortunate enough to protect herself by kicking him and winding him completely...."you go girl". The younger one's hair was pulled by the father during one of his drunken stupors. Now this might not seem to be abuse but where will it end?
I have addressed an email to the Democratic Alliance during the period that I was in South Africa requesting assistance from them. They referred my request to one of the judges who is on their pannel or whatever he does for them. He was requested to urgently provide me with some form of assistance, needless to say, nothing!!!!
The youngest one of the children has developed an eating disorder due to the fact that she was never fed properly. She knows that there is no food ready for her,( if there is food in the house) when she comes home from school, so she just says that she is not hungry, however, if you give her something to eat, she finishes it. I was told on several occasions by my daughter, that the child eats biscuits for supper or cereal or sometimes she just does not eat. How does a growing child of 12 years, not eat, or not be hungry. This child is very small for her age and still wears clothing for 9-10 years old.
During my visit in South Africa, the children visited with me, we are very close, because I have been the only constant stability in their lives ever since they came to live with me in 2006. So it is understandable that we have formed a bond closer than any bond they have ever had with their mother or father.
The mother, I am convinced has mental issues, no person can act and treat other people the way she does and be normal.
This weekend, she caused havoc by phoning me and telling me that it is my fault that her child does not want to speak to her and that I am an interfering bitch. So be it, but this child has not spoken to her mother since about November/December last year and I was not even in the country. She is so disgusted with her mothers behaviour that she does not even want to talk to her on the phone. I forced her on 3 occasions to visit at her mothers house with me and on all three occasions the mother has instigated an argument with her. She took her mobile phone away from her because she says.."I paid for the phone so I can take it if I want". Great her child is in boarding school without a telephone so if she needs any help or anything from her parents, she cannot get hold of them.
This child is so scared of her mother because she is volatile and absolutely not always capable of thinking straight. She is too scared to go to her mothers house because she never knows what to expect. If a mother loves her child like she says she does, do you through her clothes out the window and lock her outside in the courtyard for 2 hours in the pouring rain....I don't think so.
These are the kind of things that has been done to these children. Multiple sexual partners by both parents of which the children have to live with. On occasion while visiting the father, he told them that they had to go to bed and can't watch television as he wants to have sex with his girlfriend on the coach.....really people? Nobody wants to do anything. Where do I turn to for assistance. Is anybody prepared to provide me with assistance?