Before I get there, I ask her for a run down on the services of the Department in our area, given they were restructuring a few years ago. I receive an education in 40 minutes.
They are based at the old Bonnytoun premises in Rosmead Ave and no longer behind Maynard Mall. The Wynberg district office has 4 x service points, I.e. Wynberg, Retreat, Fish Hoek and Hout Bay.
The Retreat service point has two social worker teams: one team consists of 5 x social workers - 2 are dedicated to foster care services and the remaining 3 deal with child protection. Statutory work and court work primarily drive their daily work. The other team comprises 4 x social workers - 2 deal with substance abuse issues and the other two are intake social workers. Referrals come from schools to their supervisor or via our school social worker. The teams service Vrygrond-Seawinds-Retreat-Muizenberg.
A similar team set up services the Fish Hoek area. In the absence of premises in Fish Hoek, this team is also based at the Rosmead premises.
Besides case work, they also run special projects, such as foster care support, biological parent support and career guidance.
I must admit I had no idea the realigned services were running already. Now back to the expo.
I'm informed that as part of the drive to reduce drop out rates and the subsequent social issues, the Retreat office will host a careers expo for Grade 9 and 11 learners. This will take place towards the end of this term. Some 17 service providers have been identified to participate in the expo. It is hoped the high schools in the area will support this event. Busses will be available to bring learners to and take them from the venue.
We agree an input at our upcoming principals' meeting is a must. She wholeheartedly endorses this course of action.
A few things stand out for me from the 60 minute engagement: (1) State Departments know very little about each others' work; (2) There is an urgent need to reach out to each other and support/augment our services to communities; (3) We can only enlarge our footprint through collaboration and (4) our communities deserve integrated government services that extend beyond rhetoric. What do you think? Do post a comment.