How to become a temporary safe care parent

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In short: love and care for them as you would for your own children.
In short: love and care for them as you would for your own children.

It's no secret that too many South African children are faced with so many challenges, and some of our most vulnerable children are the babies and toddlers without homes.

If you'd like to hep but don't know where to start, Ashley Rose Innes has compiled a handy guide to becoming a temporary safe care parent which we are sharing here.

Rose Innes has been a temporary safe care parent for the past 6 years and she is passionate about caring for babies in need.

"There is a great need for more people to register as temporary safe care parents," she told Parent24, "so that all babies can have the opportunity to develop in a loving, family environment, where they can build healthy attachments." 

This is what drove her to create the guide, so that people could learn what being a temporary safe care parent is all about and if it is something that they would perhaps like to pursue too. 

You can download the complete document below, but here are the pertinent points:

Temporary care is not a route to adoption 

One thing that needs to be clear is that this is not for people who are interested in adopting, Rose Innes stresses to Parent24.

"You cannot adopt the child that is in your care. I've been referring people interested in adoption to the website www.adoption.org.za which has a lot of information for both birth and adoptive parents," she told us.

Nonetheless, adoption agencies will facilitate your becoming a temporary care parent, so you will engage with them. Visit www.adoption.org.za for a list of agencies near you.

Also read: A foster dad shares the immense satisfaction that he gets from fostering 

What is a temporary safe care parent?

A temporary safe care parent is someone who provides temporary safe care to a baby in need. 

A child could need to be placed in temporary safe care fora number of different reasons, but often a temporary safe care parent stands in the gap between when the child is placed for adoption and when they are adopted by a prospective adoptive family or reunified with biological family. 

Who can be a temporary safe care parent?

Anyone who is over 21 years old with sufficient support, a clean criminal record and is physically able to care for a baby.

They must be financially stable and able to provide for the baby, and be the one to care for the baby at all times (although you may have help such as volunteers or a nanny they will need to follow the same background checks).

What is the job of a temporary safe care parent?

Your job is firstly to offer a loving home, to form a bond and attachment with the baby. You are also expected to take them to all the necessary medical appointments, and to advocate for them.

In short: love and care for them as you would for your own children.

Also read: How to find your birth parents in South Africa 

How long will a baby be in your care?

Babies will typically be with you for 4 to 6 months in straight forward cases, but as little as three months and as long as 12 months can occur.

If this seems too long, you can also register as a temporary safe care family for short term emergency placements or to be able to help other parents for weekends and / or babysitting.   

Interested? Get started by:

Getting a police clearance certificate: Get this done at your local police station and then sent to Pretoria.

Contacting an adoption agency in your area: They will send you forms to fill in. You will need to have several contactable references and they will set up a time to meet at your house. Visit www.adoption.org.za for a list of agencies near you.

Sending off Form 30: The agency will give you Form 30, which must be completed and mailed to the Department of Social Development in Pretoria.

This process can take anywhere from 3 to 9 months, depending how long the police clearance and Form 30 take to arrive.

Download the comprehensive guide here 

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