Children come into the care of the centres for a number of reasons.
Babies born to poor or single mothers, or in socially precarious situations, may be abandoned at the hospital or later at the centre. In cases of surrender their birth may have been registered with the government and the registration papers are transferred to the state.
From time to time older children may also be surrendered to state care. However, some babies and children do not have registration papers, and this can present a significant problem for their prospects for adoption.
Illness and Disability
Some of the babies received at the centre suffer from a range of congenital or post-natal disabilities including hydrocephaly, cranio-facial deformities, blindness, deafness, or physical disabilities that will prevent or hinder their ability to stand and walk unaided. A number of babies and children received at the centre are HIV+.
Many families are unable to support their children. It is common for children to be put to work instead of attending school. They may be living in a house or on the street, with or without their family or a guardian. Children may run away from this situation or be put into care by the police or the welfare system, or even by their families.
Some children at the centres are taken into care when their family life is disrupted by death or imprisonment of parent(s). For some, there is a chance of re-uniting with family sometime in the future, but for others the centres will become their permanent childhood home.