DSD reprioritises R10.2 million for ECDs re-opening amidst COVID-19 pandemic
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) remains dedicated to providing child protection services for children and highlighting the importance of such services, in commemoration of Tata Madiba.
Nelson Mandela International Day (or Mandela Day) is celebrated each year on 18 July, Mandela's birthday.
In the words of our great former President of South Africa, “Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation. They will be the leaders of our country, the creators of our national wealth who care for and protect our people (3 June 1995)”.
Against the background of Mandela Day and Madiba’s love for children, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez said: “The department has re-prioritised R10.2 million toward the procurement of Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) for registered and conditionally registered Early Childhood Development (ECD) services and programmes, to prepare ECD sites for re-opening and the prevention and management of the spread of COVID 19. This is over and above the support that the department already provides to ECD related services and programmes. Our Province remains committed to providing quality services to ensure that our children are presented with opportunities to become proactive citizens one day, who are at the forefront of building a better South Africa.”
The amount of R10.2 million will be issued to the currently funded social service organisations (SSOs) contracted to assist with ECD registration and out of centre-based programmes. These SSOs will prioritise the need for support packages in their area of service delivery based on a defined set of eligibility criteria.
With the country being on alert level 3, many parents have had to return to work, with no alternative care options for their young children, which has placed many children at risk. Furthermore, the National Department of Social Development has already drafted directions setting out safety measures for the reopening of ECDs.
Minister Fernandez said: “ I further welcome that the National Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, has now gazetted the safety measures contained in these directives so as to ensure the safety of our children and our ECD practitioners, whilst we continue to witness the re-opening of ECD’s around the Province”.
Minister Fernandez continued: “I also urge all of those who intend to re-open, to abide by the ECD operating protocols and guidelines which can be found on our website. These measures include extensive safety training for staff, daily screening and handwashing on arrival for both staff and children, staggered arrival times per age group, and age-appropriate education of children about COVID-19. ECDs must prioritise the health and safety of the children in their care”.
For the detailed guideline about the safe return of staff and children to ECDs, a checklist for parents, and a list of social service organisations to support for ECDs, click here.
Please see the following link: www.westerncape.gov.za/ecd. ECDs will find all relevant registration information – including info on the Vangasali campaign – under the “services” tab and also contact information for the Social Service Organisation in their area which will assist with registration.
Minister Fernandez continued: “It has become increasingly understood that early childhood development is a vital aspect of human development as it serves as an important driver of economic welfare and poverty reduction in particular. Early Childhood Development is regarded as a prevention and early intervention programme, and serves as a crucial child protection service.”
“I would like to use this opportunity to thank every ECD practitioner across the province - each one plays such a crucial role in helping us ensure that our children are not only safe but also taught the vital skills needed for the school years ahead. In the name and the spirit of our former President, Tata Madiba, let’s all commit to ensuring the safety of our children 365 days a year,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
We urge the public to access credible information on https://www.westerncape.gov.za/department-of-health/coronavirus.
For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s Website below: