Parents invited to contact office

2015-10-14 06:00

“THE notion that the father of a child who is not married to the mother cannot have contact with the child, has been done away with. Now those fathers can approach the Office of the Family Advocate to know and understand their rights and responsibilities towards their children.”

These were the words of Adv. Michael Masutha, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, when he called on the public to work together with the Office of the Family Advocate to promote and protect the best interests of minor and dependent children.

Masutha spoke in Greenpoint, Kimberley, where he led the department’s celebrations for the 25th anniversary of the Office of the Family Advocate. The aim was to highlight the work done by the country’s family advocates in protecting and promoting the rights and best interests of children.

The Office of the Family Advocate was established in October 1990 to ensure that children were protected in instances where their parents were in dispute.

Initially, the mandate was limited to assisting only children who had been affected through the divorce of their parents.

The limited mandate was extended by the promulgation of the Children’s Act in 2005, which protects the interests of children whether their parents are married or not.

According to the department, the demand for the services of the Office of the Family Advocate has increased over the past 25 years as an average of 2 000 matters related to the mediation of family matters is dealt with by family advocates across the country every month.

Initially, between 1990 and 1992, six branches of the Office of the Family Advocate were established in line with the number of High Courts in the country. Currently there are 26 offices in all provinces with a distribution of between 2 to 4 offices per province.

) The Kimberley office is in the Court Building. Members of the community can call 053-833-1019 and ask to speak to ­Molokwane

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