Woodstock non-profit offers safe haven for abandoned babies

The founder of Little Hands Baby Home, Genevieve Bootcov, in the nursery room.

Former night nurse Genevieve Bootcov is providing a safe haven for abandoned babies at her Little Hands Baby Home, in Woodstock.

Ms Bootcov, 27 says she set up the approved temporary care facility after volunteering in a baby home.

“I noticed at the baby home the caregivers were feeding the babies and changing them though I felt they were not meeting their extra emotional and developmental needs,” she said.

“So I then decided to start a process to become a temporary foster parent.”

This included getting police clearance and undergoing screening by the provincial Department of Social Development. “An official will visit your home, do an inspection, ask you questions, see if you have the means to look after babies and we have to fill in a psychological questionnaire.”

By October 2020 she had the necessary permission to open up her home as a temporary care facility for babies.

Ms Bootcov can accommodate four babies at a time, but currently only has two. She said she could receive the babies from birth, though when they turned 2, the social workers consulted with the court as to whether they could enter foster care.

The babies have come to her home for various reasons, including both parents being unemployed or homeless and the mother not wanting the baby.

Before she started her refuge for abandoned babies, Ms Bootcov was a night nurse who worked for families with newborns.

Provincial Social Development Department spokesman Joshua Chigome confirmed that Ms Bootcov had been given temporary safe-care approval by the department.

“The department welcomes all individuals and organisations that are doing work to promote the well-being and rights of children living in the province,” he said.

Applicants were carefully screened to determine if they were suitable to care for children, he said.

“Once approved, the safety parent will receive training on the Children’s Act, roles and responsibilities of safety parents and how to care for vulnerable children who may have experienced trauma.”

Ms Bootcov said she started the process to register as a non-profit last February but only received her registration number last August. Her sister, who stays with her, and her mother, from Milnerton, provide her with some support in caring for the babies, and she also uses donations from friends and the babies’ social grants to buy baby food, nappies and wet wipes.

Little Hands Baby Home will host a family picnic at Greenpoint Park on Sunday March 27, from 10am until 1pm. Ms Bootcov is hoping to build up a network from the picnic that can support her organisation. Call 079 490 7109 or email genbootcov@gmail.com to RSVP or find out more about the organisation.