Our latest #TopCause is Impilo Child Protection and Adoption Services. We’re recognising them not only for the dedication that they put into their profile on forgood, but for the work that they do in the communities they are present in. We interviewed them to learn a little more about who they are to share with, and inspire you.
Who are you and what do you do?
Impilo, a designated child protection organisation with adoption accreditation for national and inter-country adoptions, places children in temporary safe care whilst carrying out intensive social work and child protection services so that children can be placed in a permanent family environment as early as possible after removal. Registered as a Non-Profit Organisation (055-213-NPO), Non-Profit Company (NPC- 2003/012123/08) and Public Benefit Organisation (PBO – 930005449), we provide services in the Gauteng region to approximately 150 children at any given time who are orphaned, vulnerable or abandoned.
Typically, 13% to 19% of children cared for in a year will be refugees or asylum seekers. We provide services to children up to 18 years old, however 90% of the children we serve are under 6 years of age.
Services are provided from our head office in Fairvale Johannesburg, which houses the administrative staff and our Mpepu project which facilitates our temporary safe care work that caters for 12 children. It has a beautiful garden and safe play area. The head office services the Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni areas. In addition, we have a branch in the Sedibeng municipal district which was opened in 2011 due to the overwhelming need in this area and a lack of services.
Additionally, 135 children at any given time are placed within our safe bed network (within 8 partnering facilities).
We believe that children should be raised in a family environment in which they can thrive and therefore we strive to keep children in families and avoid removal where appropriate, and return children to their family as quickly as possible after removal or find an alternative family i.e. adoption. The family of origin is always the first option for a child’s placement and alternative placement is considered and pursued only if this is not viable. 95% of our children are placed in a family environment within 2 years and because of careful screening and monitoring, 98% of these placements are successful.
Why did you get started?
The conception of Impilo was born when 2 adoption social workers, one of whom was Sue Krawitz, the current Director, with many years of experience in the field of adoption, began to see an increase in the number of abandoned children and children affected by HIV Aids in South Africa.
Children were placed into care for extended periods of time with many of them becoming lost in the system. They wanted to establish a home-based environment for a small number of children and to offer intensive social work services so that children could be placed in a permanent family environment as early as possible.
After about a year, in 2003, Impilo Place of Safety was set up as a Section 21 company as a project of Johannesburg Parent and Child Counselling Centre. The doors opened to the first child in November 2003. Initially Impilo accommodated 6 children but after 18 months this increased to 12 children.
Impilo has established itself as a major role player in the field of child protection services and is considered an advocate for orphaned and vulnerable children. The Director is the current chairperson of the newly formed National Adoption Coalition.