She responded on the removal of adoption fees.
Maaga emphasised that this amendment to the Children’s Act did not bar Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) and the private sector including lawyers and psychologists from initiating the adoption process.
What it does do is make it illegal to make people pay for adoption services. This includes professional fees for social workers, psychologists and lawyers. Maaga states that adoption should be a free service.
“The adoption fee is limiting, because those that don’t have the adoption fee, cannot adopt the child, that is the rationale” argues Magaa.
She says adoption needs to be free like any child protection service.
The Chief Director stresses that the focus should be on the child, to find a home that can provide that child with love and care.
In response to the assertion that the Department is overburdened and will not be able to provide adoption services adequately, Magaa stresses that they have trained the social workers to render the service. In addition to this every year there is an intake of social workers, that will focus primarily on general services, so they do not believe that the Department will be overburdened.
“We are trying our level best. I want to emphasise that we are not removing NGOs, they’ll continue to help us as the Act allows them to,” says Magaa.