Child Protection Week: Department calls for more Safety Parents
As 2017 Child Protection Week draws to a close today, the Western Cape Department of Social Development is calling for more volunteers to register as Safety Parents in the province.
A Safety Parent is a person over the age of 18 years, who has been recruited, screened and trained to provide emergency care and protection within the community and within a family context, to vulnerable children.
There are currently 646 active Safety Parents providing this crucial service in the Western Cape, however, the need is greater in some areas.
The Department wants to establish a big pool of trained safety parents to draw on. Currently, some Safety Parents take a break from providing the service, while others move to different areas or provinces, therefore the Department must continuously recruit new candidates.
Children are placed with Safety Parents for a number of reasons outlined in the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Reasons include neglect, being orphaned, lack of visible support, or maltreatment. A child can stay with a safety parent for a period of two weeks up to a maximum of three months.
Prospective Safety Parents must have an interest in the development of any child in need of care, be available for emergency placements which may be during or after working hours, and understand that there are no financial benefits other than compensation for basic costs of care.
Once screened, training on the Children’s Act is provided to prospective Safety Parents. This focuses on the roles and responsibilities of Safety Parents, and also the role of social workers and summary of court processes.
When a child is placed with a Safety Parent, the Department contributes R27 per day towards the basic needs of the child. They will also be issued with an emergency kit (nappies, formula, and bottles if the child is a baby).
Child protection is everyone’s business, and I am appealing to the public to come forward and volunteer their services as Safety Parents. It is through you that we can build a province for our children wherein they can enjoy freedom, fairness and opportunity.
Note: Safety parents differ from foster parents. A foster parent is recommended by the social worker to take in a child in need of foster care for a period determined by the Children’s Court. The foster parent can apply for a grant on behalf of the foster child.
According to the Children’s Act, both safety and foster parents can have a maximum of six children in their care.
The public can contact the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250. We can ensure the well-being of all children if we work, ‘Better Together’.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 076 083 6543
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za