Our History

Giving back to the Children

History of Child Welfare Durban and District

Now the largest Child Welfare Organisation in South Africa. It was constituted on 1 October 1999 as a result of a merger between the Child Family and Community Care Centre of Durban, founded in 1927; Durban Child and Family Welfare Organisation, founded in 1918 and Umlazi Child and District Child Welfare Organisation, founded in 1925. The Durban African Child Welfare Organisation, founded in 1936 had previously been merged with Durban Child and Family Welfare Organisation in 1990.

Previously Durban Indian Child Welfare Organisation, was founded by the Indian Women’s Association in 1927. In the Indian community, self-help was rooted in the extended family system which served as the safety net for the unemployed, orphaned and aged, also providing comfort and counsel in times of family dysfunction. The oppressive conditions of indenture endured by the first batch of Indians that arrived in South Africa in 1860 was evident in overcrowded housing conditions, poverty and low subsistence levels, high infant and maternal mortality rates, high birth rates and large family size, high incidence of disease and widespread illiteracy. It was these conditions that prompted the formation of the organisation which became synonymous with welfare in the Indian community.

The roots of the Durban Child and Family Welfare Organisation go back to 1918 when Dr and Mrs Sam Campbell founded the Children’s Aid Organisation. The first facility, a crèche, was built in 1923, followed by the employment of the first three social workers in 1941.

Opened on 31 July 1946. Nineteen fifty-two marked the beginning of the Organisation’s work with the so-called Coloured community. During the 1960s, thanks to the Rattray brothers whose grandfather, the late William Clark, had willed rights to four and a half acres of land in Sherwood for the benefit of children, Edith Benson Babies Home in Tudor Place was sold and the new home on William Clark Garden’s complex was opened in October 1967. A crisis developed in 1977 when the Organisation had to vacate its offices. Due to the untiring efforts of Mr Tom Bedford and a grant in aid from the City Council, together with substantial donations from the Robert Storm Trust, Patron Cecil Renaud and other benefactors, the organisation at last moved to its home in Windermere Road in 1978 – its Jubilee Year. Together with the City Council, this Organisation opened a shelter for street children in 1987.

Formed in 1936, was closely connected with the Durban Child Welfare Organisation, from which a form of management was inherited, enabling it to mobilize resources in a manner that would not otherwise have been possible. Persons of considerable stature, both Black and White, were attracted to its ranks; they were familiar with the areas of health and welfare and their connections facilitated funding. They were persons with the vision to see not only the needs of the Black children at that time, but also the problems that would inevitably beset them as they grew. For 37 years the Organisation operated happily as a multiracial organisation until a change was effected by government policy based on the principle that each population group should serve its own community in the sphere of welfare. In 1981, when the Government relaxed its restrictions, the Organisation once again operated as a racially mixed organisation until the amalgamation with Durban Child and Family Welfare Organisation in 1990.

Originally called Umlazi and District Bantu Community Organisation founded in 1969 as an independent Organisation after Durban Child Welfare services were segregated. The Organisation assumed its new name in 1980 and registered as a welfare organisation in 1981.

The Organisation employed a social worker whose role then was to motivate communities towards the establishment of crèches, co-ordinate and supervise all existing crèches in Umlazi. These crèches eventually resorted to their own independent fundraising. Thereafter, the social worker focussed more on the welfare needs of families and children and on child abuse. In 1985, the Argus Foundation had donated a new Toyota bakkie that was used to deliver milk donated by Daily News Milk fund to affiliated crèches. There was a breakthrough when an amount of R433 000 was donated by Bernard Van Leer Foundation for a period of three years, earmarked for a pre-school project in Umlazi. The Organisation was unable to sustain this development and after seeking the assistance of the former DCFWS, Umlazi and District Child and Family Welfare Organisation decided to become a part of the amalgamation process leading to the constitution of Durban Children’s Organisation which was later renamed and registered as CHILD WELFARE Durban & District on 19th October 1999.

The premises were previously a crèche known as Clarence Road Pre-Primary and Greyville Crèche. CHILD WELFARE Durban & District moved into these premises in the year 2001. Stormhaven is home to the office of the Directorate, Thokozani Crèche, Adoptions Team and Central team and other administrative arms of the organisation. Stormhaven has a capacity of 60 staff members currently occupying the premises.

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The primary aim
of the Organisation is

to provide Child Protection Services
to children between 0 and 18 years of age.