Minister Albert Fritz today visited the Klippie Kids Early Childhood Development Centre (ECD) in Klipheuwel.
The visit is part of the Minister’s oversight work, and saw him meet the management, staff and learners at the facility. The centre is one of the best run ECDs in the region, providing additional services for the community such as counselling and linkages to training opportunities for parents and surrounding community members. ECDs provide a safe and enabling learning and development space for young children.
The Department of Social Development encourages parents to enroll their children into registered ECDs.
The department's regulation of ECDs is guided by the Children’s Act 38 of 2005, as amended. The Act prescribes for the registration of partial care facilities, including facilities where early childhood development programmes are provided, and as such every ECD in the province has the responsibility to get registered if is to operate legally.
There are 1733 registered ECD Partial Care Facilities in the Western Cape.
The main aim of the registration process is to ensure that children are being cared for in a safe environment. The registration requirements also require a whole-of-society approach, as they involve municipalities, the owners and operators of the ECD, the department, and parents working together to ensure compliance.
The process requires that the department, through our social workers, ensure that owners and staff are capable of running an ECD and looking after children. Training and support is also rendered to ECD operators where needed, in order to meet compliance standards and eligibility for funding.
Local municipalities are also tasked with inspecting the structural safety of ECD buildings in terms of the National Building regulations, environmental health aspects, and the fire safety readiness of the building, in addition to the norms and standards prescribed in the Children’s Act.
The department cannot issue certificates to facilities until the facility’s owners have complied with these health and safety standards. This is because the safety and wellbeing of children attending ECD centres must come first.
Every ECD practitioner and owner has the responsibility to comply with national legislation. The success of our ECD centres will be best achieved if government, parents and ECD's work better together.