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Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare has 4 qualified, well trained and experienced Social Workers in its employ. Over and above the Social Workers, there are 2 qualified Social Auxiliary Workers assisting the Social Workers.
Comprehensive social services include counseling, support groups, play therapy, education, court appearances, child and family protection, to name but a few. It could be considered a high stressed job as these men and women are dealing with the most difficult situations in society. They are exposed to young children being neglected, physically and sexually abused; to women and children suffering from domestic violence; crumbling marriages; horrific crimes on the innocent including rape; dire poverty in many homes; the terminally ill; children and adults suffering from addictions ranging from alcohol and substance abuse to pornography; foster care placements; and the list goes on.
Currently, the social workers are managing close to 400 files and between 1200 – 1500 clients of which 80% is statutory which means it is preventative and intervention cases for children up to the age of 21 years. In one month alone, the Social Workers can receive up to 60 intakes, or more, over and above their current cases. Currently many of the intakes involve family violence which stem from unemployment, work stress, abuse of substances, uncontrollable children, etc.GET INVOLVED
1. Financial assistance towards Social Worker Salaries
The Social Workers and Auxiliary Social Workers are not being paid market related salaries with benefits and this is a concern for the organisation. These personnel have the relevant degrees and training but, most importantly, they have the passion for the work they are doing and the change that is happening through the services being given. Over and above trying to ensure market related salaries, we have a great need to employ at least another Social Worker and another 2 Auxiliary Social Workers to assist the current staff with the rapidly increasing case loads and intakes. This will ensure that the current staff is not being overworked and the clients are receiving the efficient and effective care and support they require.
2. Financial assistance towards the expansion of the current office block
The current office at 28 Grey Street was built in 1971 to house 3 to 4 staff members only. However, today there are over 16 staff members needing to be in offices and the organisation has made as many changes to the building as possible to house the staff however, it became necessary to rent another premises for the Social Work Department but this has become too small and now the organisation is confronted with a very difficult challenge. Unfortunately it is extremely trying to manage two separate offices proving that being in different premises is not conducive to effective and efficient management. The best solution to this problem is to extend the current offices further and to build up. This will cost the organisation an immense amount of money which is currently not available. Assistance in ensuring the organisation is able to build this much needed extension will ultimately be to the advantage of the client as they will have easy access to all staff in one building.
3. Financial assistance towards vehicles and fuel costs
Home visits are an important part of the services the organisation delivers to its clients. Many times, these clients are residing in ‘hard to reach’ places or reside in places very far from the offices but, it is vital that the Social Workers, Auxiliary Social Workers, Home Base Carers are doing their home visits for the benefit of the client. The fuel costs and the upkeep of maintenance for the vehicles are astronomical. Over and above this, the organisation requires another smaller vehicle that is light on fuel to ensure staff is able to go out immediately, when necessary.
4. Financial assistance towards training and development of the personnel
The Social Work staff is required to have obtained no less than 20 CPD points annually. This requires them to go to ongoing training throughout the year to ensure they are kept updated with therapy techniques, welfare laws, etc. This costs the organisation money in payment of the relevant training, the accommodation, the fuel costs and the required tools. Over and above this, to support training and development within the organisation, further studies are encouraged and Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare are paying the costs for those studying through UNISA and any other learning institutes.
6. Financial assistance towards direct costs of the organisation
One of the most difficult and challenging costs the organisation has to cover on a monthly basis is the direct running costs. Funders will assist with project costs but not necessarily the running costs of an organisation and without these costs, the organisation will not be able to deliver efficient services.
7. Assistance with material needs for clients
Many of the organisation’s clients are suffering from dire poverty due to unemployment. This brings about many other issues such as family conflict, violence, neglect and abuse. One of the possible ways of supporting such clients is to offer material and food support initially and thereafter teach them to become independent and self-sustainable individuals. It is extremely difficult to help clients and their families when they find themselves in desperate situations and require material assistance immediately. Their thoughts will remain on the dire situation at home rather than the possibility of receiving counseling support. It is with this in mind that the organisation offer food parcels and material support in the form of clothing, shoes, etc. It is carefully monitored as the organisation also believes in the concept, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare are in need of computers for various reasons. Firstly, to ensure each staff member has access to a computer and / or a laptop to be able to do their work afterhours, if necessary, in the comfort of their own homes. It is a fact that the work is increasing on a daily basis and 90% of this work is linked to very stringent deadlines. It is becoming increasingly difficult to complete all one’s work within the office hours especially if staff is spending much of their time with clients in confidential counseling sessions or, trying to find solutions to difficult client cases. The amount of work in the form of report writing, meetings, investigations, etc. that goes into the placement of even one foster care placement then it is understandable that there are times the staff need to work longer hours. However, Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare put staff safety first and therefore are hesitant to allow staff to work alone after all other staff have left. This is not conducive to staff safety therefore it has become important that the organisation is able to give staff the necessary tools to enable them to complete work in the safety and comfort of their own homes. Secondly, Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare would like to be in a position of strengthening skills development in the form of computer training. The computers will be placed at a safe venue and those clients requiring skills development can be taught basic computer literacy therefore bettering their chances for employment.
Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare have been in existence since 1926. Not only has the organisation become extremely desperate for space but, should the new office block be built, there will be a very big need for furniture.Unfortunately, many of the chairs and the desks look as old as the organisation and this is not the professional image that the organisation would like to portray. Bethlehem Child and Family Welfare view their services as professional and therefore would like the image to show this professionalism. Furniture required is; office desks, visitor chairs, reception desk, reception chairs, board room tables and chairs, etc.