This firm’s involvement in a recent case demonstrates one of the sad realities of parental alienation.

A mother alienated a child of nine (the child is now 14 years of age) from the biological father.  In an attempt to reconnect the contact between our firm’s client and the minor child, it was proposed that his access to the minor child be supervised by a third party because of the long period where there was a lack of contact between them. As a result of the mother not trusting any of the father’s friends and the father being unable to afford the services of a social worker to supervise the visits, this proved to be impractical.

As seen in the example mentioned above, the sad situation exists where there is still a grave shortage of skilled people to supervise re-constructed access resulting in many fathers, through lack of means, abandoning access to their children.

The estimated 77% shortage of social workers in South Africa is a major social problem in our country. A recent government study identified that there is a shortage of around 66 000 trained social workers required to successfully implement the Children’s Act.   Social workers fulfill an enormous role in the government’s efforts to provide social services in South Africa. It is imperative for measures to be implemented to alleviate the shortage of skilled social workers much sooner than later.

It is very unfortunate that the department of social workers who should provide a social worker to supervise access has insufficient resources, so the absurd situation arises where a father has to pay to see his child. It must be emphasized here that for the normal psychological and physical development of the child as well as the child’s care and maintenance it is paramount for that child to have a good relationship with both parents. Nothing can ever replace the love and care of parents in a child’s life.

JA Attorneys are specialist child custody attorneys in Johannesburg. Contact us today to assist.