- Although the number of South Africa’s orphaned children is in decline, the country still has significantly high statistics
- In 2010, Justin and Cathy Foxton sought to provide a home for abandoned children which provides care while seeking a forever home
- The couple also adopted a young girl, something they had planned on doing since before they were even married
By Lauren Anthony - Freelance writer
While the number of South Africa’s orphaned children is in decline, around 2.8 million orphans are still looking for their forever families, according to The South African Child Gauge Survey.
In 2010, Justin and Cathy Foxton sought to provide a home for abandoned children which provides care while seeking a forever home.
“A baby home was shutting down in uMhlanga and we were approached to take it on,” explained Justin. “It was a chance to do something significant in the area, and while it was tough, we learnt a great deal.”
After four years of running The Baby House, Skip and Sheila Collins took over with Justin and Cathy going on to assist other couples in establishing Baby Homes through their NPO, The Peach Agency.
Currently, there are five Baby Homes in uMhlanga, Hammarsdale, uMlazi, the Bluff and Durban North, all providing quality care and a loving space for South Africa’s most vulnerable citizens.
The couple have also adopted a young girl, something they had planned on doing from before they were even married.
“We really encourage adoption but it’s important to follow the process,” explained Justin. “People often volunteer at Baby Homes, fall in love with a child and then want to adopt. But sometimes these children are not even legally adoptable. If you register to adopt a child and follow the correct process, adoption can work very well.”
The Baby House has also garnered the attention of some A-list South African and international stars.
Gossip Girl star, Ed Westwick, recently visited the home.
"Thank you Ed for spending time with our babies, they loved playing soccer, singing and just spending time with you.
"Thank you for making us part of your South African visit, it was such a pleasure to meet you," the house wrote in a Facebook post.
Another friend of the baby home is former public protector, Thuli Madonsela.
KwaZulu-Natal currently has the highest number of orphans with the fewest adoptions – in 2016 only eight adoptions were granted. To address this, Justin began the KwaZulu-Natal Adoption Coalition – a branch of the National Adoption Coalition of South Africa (NACSA).
In partnership with the Centre for Child Law, the Coalition instituted High Court proceedings against the HOD of Social Development in KZN, and the department.
A recent landmark ruling on this case paved the way for a smoother adoption process, with the department ordered to clear the backlog of adoption applications within 30 days and to adhere to the 30-day turnaround time for all future applications. The administrative hindrances in the adoption process will be addressed, ensuring fewer backlogs and more children in loving homes.
For more information on the work done by Cathy and Justin, visit www.peaceagency.org.za or www.babyhome.org.za.
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