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Children's Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005)

Chapter 9 : Child in need of care and protection

Part 2 : Children’s court processes

157. Court orders to be aimed at securing stability in child's life

 

(1) Before a children's court makes an order in terms of section 156 for the removal of the child from the care of the child’s parent or care-giver, the court must—
(a) obtain and consider a report by a designated social worker on the conditions of the child’s life, which must include—
(i) an assessment of the developmental, therapeutic and other needs of the child;
(ii) details of family preservation services that have been considered or attempted; and
(iii) a documented permanency plan taking into account the child’s age and developmental needs aimed at achieving stability in the child’s life and containing the prescribed particulars; and
(b) consider the best way of securing stability in the child’s life, including whether such stability could be secured by—
(i) leaving the child in the care of the parent or care-giver under the supervision of a designated social worker, provided that the child’s safety and well-being must receive first priority;
(ii) placing the child in alternative care for a limited period to allow for the reunification of the child and the parent or care-giver with the assistance of a designated social worker;
(iii) placing the child in alternative care with or without terminating parental responsibilities and rights of the parent or care-giver;
(iv) making the child available for adoption; or
(v) issuing instructions as to the evaluation of progress made with the implementation of the permanency plan at specified intervals.

 

(2) A designated social worker facilitating the reunification of a child with the child’s family in terms of subsection (1)(b)(ii) must—
(a) investigate the causes why the child left the family home;
(b) address those causes and take precautionary action to prevent a recurrence; and
(c) provide counselling to both the child and the family before and after reunification.

 

(3) A very young child who has been orphaned or abandoned by its parents must be made available for adoption in the prescribed manner and within the prescribed period except when this is not in the best interests of the child.

 

(4) When issuing an order involving the removal of the child from the care of the child’s parent or care-giver, the court may include in the court order instructions as to the implementation of the permanency plan for the child.