Foster care placement is completed when the Children’s Court places a child under foster care in terms of the Children’s Act (Chapter 5:06). Prospective foster parents are screened by the Probation Officer who conducts investigations and makes an assessment. The best interests of the child shall be of paramount consideration. The child’s views may be considered in accordance with the child’s evolving capacities.
How do I become a foster parent?
- Prospective foster parents may present themselves to the Department of Social Welfare to become foster parents or they can be referred by stakeholders, community leadership and the general public.
- Assessment of foster parents is done to determine their capacity and suitability to be foster parents. This assessment is conducted by the Department of Social Welfare and it normally takes three to six months depending on the complexity of the case.
During assessment of the foster parent, the Probation Officer looks into issues such as:
- Family stability
- Socio-Economic circumstances
- Police clearance as well as community screening
- Age – the minimum age of 25 years
- Once the assessment process is completed by the Department of Social Welfare and a prospective foster parent is found to be suitable, the Department will register the approved prospective foster parent(s) on the waiting list register. Once one is a registered foster parent(s), they can foster up to a maximum of 4 children.
- Children who are eligible for foster placement are those in need of care. The Social Welfare Officer responsible for child protection identifies among those children in need of care, a child needing foster placement. This child should be from a register of children in need, needing foster placement which is held by the Department of Social Welfare.
- A court inquiry in terms of the Children’s Act (Chapter 5:06) is held by the Children’s Court. A detailed report outlining the circumstances of both the prospective foster parent and the child is presented to court by the Probation Officer handling the case. A successful court inquiry will result in the placement of the child in the care of the prospective foster parent(s) through a court order.
- Once matching of the child and foster parents is approved by the court, the child is put on the foster care register, as well as the supervision register. These registers are maintained by the Department at the District Social Welfare Office. The supervision is done monthly to safeguard the child whilst in foster care and to monitor any changes of circumstances of the original family of the child using the supervision form.
- The Probation Officer has to, through the Court enquiry apply for foster fees to be paid to the foster parents for the general upkeep of the child and ensure that these fees are claimed from the Department on a monthly basis without fail. The other forms of support such as shelter, clothing, health service fees and educational assistance are applied for as per need. The foster parent(s) is also entitled to professional parenting skills support.
Responsibilities of a Foster Parent(s)
The primary role of the foster parent is to provide care, support and enable access to all the necessary social services necessary for the normal development and growth of the child.
- To protect, nurture and socialise the child in his/her care like his/her own biological child.
- To observe and maintain confidentiality on the circumstances of the children in his/her care
- To advise and consult the Department of Social Welfare on any issues pertaining to the protection and welfare of the child immediately.
Should you require more information on fostering or adoption contact:
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Development
Department of Social Development
9th Floor, Kaguvi Building Corner S. V. Muzenda St. & Central Ave. Harare, Zimbabwe
+263 (24) 2790871
+263 (24) 2251288
+263 (24) 2251022
+263 (24) 2796450