The concept of Impilo was born in 2000 when two adoption social workers, one of whom was Sue Krawitz, the current Director, with many years of experience in the field of adoption, began to see an increase in the number of abandoned children and children affected by HIV/Aids in South Africa.
Children were placed in care for extended periods, with many becoming lost in the system. The social workers wanted to establish a home-based environment for a small number of children, and to offer intensive social work services so that children could be placed in a permanent family environment as early as possible.
In 2003, Impilo Place of Safety opened its doors to the first child.
Child protection services were set up to work with the families of the children in Impilo’s care, and were then extended to children in other temporary safe care facilities.
Social workers undertake statutory investigations into the child’s background. Reunification within the biological family, either with birth parents or extended family, is the first option for each child. Only when this is not possible, or parents cannot be traced or sign consent to an adoption, is alternative permanent placement considered.
Impilo is a registered NPC, NPO, Designated Child Protection Organisation and Accredited Adoption Organisation National and Intercountry. In order to correctly reflect the extent of the services it offers, it changed its name to Impilo Child Protection & Adoption Services in 2012. Impilo’s temporary safe care programme is called Mpepu, which means “to carry on the back”.
Today Impilo places children in adoption both nationally and overseas. At present Impilo has intercountry adoption agreements with Denmark, Austria and Luxembourg.
Currently Impilo employs 19 dedicated staff members.
Impilo has established itself as a major role-player in the field. It is considered an advocate for orphaned and vulnerable children, and is an active member of the National Adoption Coalition.