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Child abandonment is illegal in South Africa, whether you leave your child in a safe or unsafe place, and can carry a prison sentence if you are found guilty. Abandonment places your child at great physical risk and could lead to their death if they are not found in time. An abandoned child has no sense of identity and no way of tracing their biological family or ancestors. They experience feelings of neglect and rejection and resentment towards their biological parents.

If you abandon your child, and have no contact with them for the period of at least three months, your parental rights can be removed by the courts and your child will be placed up for adoption.

If you are considering abandoning your child, please contact a social worker or child protection organisation as soon as possible, as they will be able to help you make an positive choice for both yourself and your child. To find an organisation close to you, please click here. Alternatively, please contact our call centre on 0800 864 658 for immediate assistance

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