All children need love, structure, and consistency in their lives in order to thrive and grow. But in Gauteng, South Africa, too many children are waiting for these fundamental needs.

Children deserve and desire to be part of a family that loves them and gives them the opportunity to thrive. Approximately 1,000 children in Gauteng are waiting to be placed in foster care. Unfortunately, the reason for such many delays seems to be because of slow paperwork by professionals such as psychiatrists and the processing of prospective adoptive parent files.

Not only do these professionals cause delays, the limited number of social workers is to blame in part as well. Gauteng only has 11 social workers focusing on foster care, according to a news article.

The Gauteng social development department is supposed to be ensuring the safety of these children. But with the many paperwork delays and limited amount of social workers, that is almost impossible. A spokesman, Refiloe Nt’sekhe, of the department stated in a news article that “this is unacceptable, as the core mandate of the department is to ensure the well-being of all vulnerable groups, particularly children. Social development is responsible for the heart of government and for looking after the well-being of the most vulnerable.”

Because of this, too many children continue to wait and stay in institutions where they are receiving their daily needs, but not what all children deserve: a loving home.

To help alleviate these concerns, the social development department is asking for assistance to turn this into a priority matter. This includes speeding up the process of placing children and fast-tracking the training for social workers, so the caseload can continue to be spread out among more workers.

We, in America, seem to take for granted the needs of children, here and all over the world. We are privileged and don’t always remember the many children and the needs of these children that are not in caring homes due solely to paperwork and finances. Let us remember these children and advocate as much as we can for them.