The Department of Social Development has launched a search for the parents of an abandoned toddler who was found wandering around the streets of Cape Town by herself over the weekend.
The little girl, who is believed to be only two years old, was found walking by herself on Sponnbill Crescent in Seawinds last Sunday, and authorities are now appealing to the public to come forward with any information they may have on her parents and their whereabouts. The incident was reported by a resident who noticed the little girl walking alone.
Speaking to IOL, Lucinda Evans, founder of Philisa Abafazi Bethu, an organisation that aids women and children in need, said the concerned resident contacted her to collect the toddler.
“I estimated that she is about two years old and she could tell us her name,” Evans said. “She was all alone and anything could have happened to her. I contacted the Social Development Department and the social workers came to collect her on Monday.”
A team of volunteers was deployed to a nearby informal settlement to search for the little girl’s parents and made appeals on social media, but no one has yet come forward to claim the two-year-old.
The Department of Social Development has confirmed that the toddler has been placed in the care of a registered safety parent.
“A criminal case of abandonment against the parents or caregivers is being opened with SAPS. The child is unharmed and in good health. The social worker has 90 days to investigate the circumstances of the child and family,” spokesperson Esther Lewis said.
“The Children’s Act stipulates that where the parents are missing, the department must place an advert in the newspaper urging the biological parents or family to contact the social worker,” she added. “The social worker will present the findings of their investigation to the court.”
While it hinders search efforts, no pictures of the toddler may yet be released to circulate on social media, as she is a minor.