Some relatives qualify for foster grant

2012-09-03 09:08
File (AP)

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East London - Relatives who take care of orphaned or abandoned children can qualify for foster grants thanks to a recent court order, the Daily Dispatch reported on Monday.

The South Gauteng High Court ruled last week that family members could apply as foster parents and receive a foster grant, which is about R500 more than the child care grant, the paper reported.

The judgment is the first time a high court had the chance to interpret the Children's Act and define who may apply for foster grants and what child should be fostered.

The case was brought by the great aunt and uncle of an orphan who had been cared for by the couple since being brought to Krugersdorp from the Eastern Cape in 2002.

The couple applied to become foster parents in 2007 after the child's mother died, but were turned down by the Krugersdorp Children's Court.

The couple then appealed the ruling and were joined by the department of social development, which argued that uniformity was needed in interpreting the Children's Act.

Impact

While the ruling will make it easier for extended relatives to qualify for foster grants, the court also found that grandparents and siblings should be disqualified as they have a duty to support children.

The Dispatch reported that the ruling has turned into a potential nightmare for grandparents who receive foster grants, and could impact on the care of 350 000 orphans in the country.

Differing rulings have been made in previous court cases, with some magistrates saying the foster grants had become a way for families to substitute their income.

There are now about 550 000 foster grants given each year, and there are estimates that 5.5 million children are cared for by relatives, even if their mothers are alive. Of these, 1.5 million are orphans.

- SAPA
Read more on:    youth  |  poverty
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