Unpaid grants leave kids in shelters vulnerable
Several homes for vulnerable children in Alexandra and the surrounding areas are begging the Department of Social Development to pay them the temporary safety care grant money they are entitled to.
According to one of the concerned caregivers, Matshidiso Seruwe of Legae La Bana, this is the money that is given to them for temporarily safeguarding abused, molested and neglected children. They are the children who have been removed from their homes and kept in temporary care until the police and the social workers are satisfied with their investigations.
On occasion the investigations take a long time, meaning the temporary homes are required to shelter the children for long periods of time. Also, many of these shelters are pressured to take in more children than they should when abuse cases increase.
Seruwe said these are some of the grievances experienced by temporary care mothers. She says she is owed thousands for this year alone, and more if she includes previous years. She said she was entitled to claim R16,50 per child per day, and she takes in 13 children.
“The last time I tried to claim I was asked to motivate why I claimed such a big amount of money. I didn’t understand why as I used to claim without any problems. I gave them all documents they wanted but I’m still waiting. I don’t know why the department is giving us these troubles. But when they bring kids to us they expect us to take them without any delay,” she said.
She said running a home involves many costs, particularly when children need to be taken to a doctor or need extra care.
On occasion the investigations take a long time, meaning the temporary homes are required to shelter the children for long periods of time.
“If it weren’t for generous donations from good Samaritans, I doubt we would be still existing.”
Another homeowner, Elizabeth Monyela of Thuthuzela in Marlboro, said she has given up on receiving her money: “I’ve realised it is a fruitless exercise to run after this money. I’d rather look for other ways to survive because I love kids.”
Attempts to get a response from the Gauteng Department of Social Development were fruitless despite numerous requests to do so through phone calls, emails and smses.
However, one social worker with intimate knowledge on the subject, opted to speak on conditions of anonymity. She was shocked that temporary care mothers had to wait for their grants.
“I don’t know the merits of this case, but usually it shouldn’t take more than six weeks to get the money if all relevant documents were supplied,” she said, adding that individual care mothers shouldn’t take more than six children and are paid monthly while youth and children’s homes can take in bigger numbers and are paid quarterly.
An edited version of this story was first published by Health24