Child Protection Week 2018
27 May – 2 June
•On Monday the 28th May, the second day of Child Protection Week 2018, Impilo will acknowledge and remember the countless babies that have been abandoned and forgotten by holding a #BabiesMatter Remembrance Gathering.
Impilo will be planting a remembrance tree and standing in silence to grieve the abandoned and forgotten babies .
The Remembrance Gathering will take place at 8:30 am in the Impilo Garden:
20 Leigh Avenue Faivale Ext
•As we head towards another Child Protection Week at the end of May 2018, child protection organisations and advocates are asking the question, do babies actually matter in South Africa?
•The continued increase in incidents of child abandonment, child abuse, child neglect and child murder seems to be telling us that sadly they do not, as noted in a recent media article:
“Over the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children (November 2017), an intensive campaign run by veteran child protection activist Luke Lamprecht called #BabiesMatter provoked the rather depressing conclusion that not all babies do matter. Perhaps the most significant questions are “why”, and what do countless births not celebrated, and deaths not mourned say about us as a society?
(Robyn Wolfson Vorster – Daily Maverick 21/12/17 See Article )
Its time to take a stand, its time to declare that #BabiesMatter
What we know
Child Abandonment continues to be a major challenge in South Africa:
–Its is estimated that around 3500 children are abandoned annually in SA, approximately 300 per month.
–However, this figure only includes survivors, the total number of abandonments is far higher.
–Figures compiled in Gauteng show that for every abandoned child found alive, two are found dead.
–A recent Medical Research Council study on child homicide reveals that children in South Africa are at the highest risk of unnatural death in the first six days of life.
–Research shows that 65% of abandoned children are new-borns, and 90% are under the age of one.
–Many abandoned babies have already survived a late-term abortion. 52-58% of SA abortions are illegal (up to 150 000 per annum).
–70% of abandonment’s are unsafe and many babies are never found.Legislative and political challenges
•A number of legislative challenges serve to increase rather than decrease child abandonment in SA:
–Safe abandonment is illegal in South Africa so all of the country’s baby safes operate unlawfully.
–Girls under the age of 18 can consent to an abortion, but cannot place a child for adoption without the consent of a parent or guardian.
–Foreigners fear deportation if they try to place a child for adoption. Others lack the formal documentation required to place their children into the child protection system.
–Abandonment is no longer listed as a violent crime in South Africa, or included in crime statistics. Nor is it listed as a cause of death in South African mortuaries. There is therefore no accurate tally of how many children die as a result of abandonment.
–To date, no formal research has been completed by the government to track abandonment, and no measures put in place to counter it.
Who or what is to blame?
•Studies show that abandonment most frequently results from:
–Desperation due to poverty and unemployment.
–A breakdown of the family often due to mass urbanisation.
–Cultural beliefs and concerns around the formal practice of adoption.
–Gender abuse in the form of rape, incest and “blessers or sugar daddies”.
–Women themselves being abandoned by the child’s father or their family due to falling pregnant.
•Government policy is also a huge contributing factor, as is anti-adoption sentiment on the part of many state officials.
•Endemic problems like poverty and abuse are hard to address, so child abandonment is likely to continue long-term. What can be done?
•Changes to government policy:
–Lowering the age of consent for adoption placement.
–Facilitating safe abandonment through implementing safe haven laws.
–Revising xenophobic policies regarding foreigners and barriers to adoption.
–Policing of illegal abortion practitioners.
•Recognition and research:
–Conducting quantitative research to understand the scope of the problem.
–Listing abandonment in crime and mortuary statistics to quantify the prolem.
•Pregnancy initiatives are essential to support vulnerable women and lessen the risk of them making the tragic decision to abandon.
Supporting organisations who are already supporting vulnerable women and children in South Africa and demanding action from government because you agree that #BabiesMatter
•For more information on the #BabiesMatter initiative please like and follow the Babies Matter Facebook page.
•Post information and pictures of your #BabiesMatter Remembrance Gathering plans and events to our Facebook page.
•Share pictures of your Remembrance Gathering events on Instagram with the #BabiesMatter.
•Support any of our #BabiesMatter partner organisations or individuals, who are already trying to make a difference in the lives of our children.