As part of its registration drive, the Western Cape Government’s Department of Social Development (DSD) is inviting all Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities to register with the department.
ECD is regarded as a crucial prevention and early intervention programme that is critical in the cognitive and emotional development of children. It also serves as a proactive child protection measure.
Minister Fernandez says: “This registration will benefit the children as they will be learning in an integrated and holistic way. They will be provided with the foundation for a lifetime of learning. This call to register, is a statutory requirement, and there are consequences for non-compliance. I also wish to urge all parents and guardians to enquire whether or not their children are attending a registered ECD facility.”
The South African Early Childhood Review (2019) reports that there are currently 702 000 children under the age of 6 years living in the Western Cape. During reporting period, 361 000 children were found to not be attending some form of registered ECD service (StatsSA, 2017).
As of August 2019, 1545 ECDs were registered, out of a total of 4 685 (estimated) ECD facilities across the province.
DSD registers ECDs - provided they meet the norms and standards as stated in the Children's Act. Some of the norms and standards include: clearance certificates from the municipality (zoning, fire & safety); structured learning programmes for the children; emergency plan for children who may become ill; and nutritious meals. Registration is only provided for 5 years at a time, after which period the ECD must renew their registration.
DSD has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the Reporting and Management of serious Injury, Abuse and Death of Children in Registered and Unregistered Facilities in the Western Cape. This has been distributed to all ECDs, social service organisations and designated child protection organisations. The SOP is aligned to the Uniform Referral Pathway protocol in the Western Cape. The SOP details a referral system for assistance and support.
To register, facilities can obtain Form 16 here or from any of the Department’s Regional Offices. Residents requiring additional information may contact the Department's toll-free number 0800 220 250.
DSD remains committed to creating a self-reliant society by ensuring the provision of a comprehensive network of social development services that enables and empowers our children, the vulnerable and those with special needs.