Child Protection Services for Children with Disabilities remain a priority
As we continue to recognise Child Protection Week, the Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, is reminding the public that her Department offers a basket of specialised child protection services for children with disabilities.
Children with disabilities are more likely to be abused than their non-disabled peers. Despite this heightened risk, the abuse of disabled children often goes undetected and under-reported (Child Abuse Review, 2015).
“The protection of children with disabilities is of paramount importance to our work as a department. Every child in society is worthy of being loved, protected and cared for.
We remain cognizant that there are many difficulties faced by maltreated children with disabilities and their families. Consequently, we work with various Non-Profit Organisations (NPO) in providing much-needed child protection services,” said Minister Fernandez.
The total budget for persons with disabilities for the current financial year is R169m, compared to R45 million allocated to this vulnerable grouping in 2009.
In order to promote the protection and dignity of children with disabilities, the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) with the support of its NPO partners renders the following services:
ECD & Partial Care programmes
Early Childhood Development is regarded as a crucial prevention and early intervention programme that is critical for the social and emotional development of children.
The Department also provides funding to ECDs rendering specialised services to children with disabilities that focus on capacity training for practitioners, parents and children using an unbiased approach in the management of children with disabilities.
Child Care & Protection Programme: Childcare & protection
DSD’s Child Care and Protection Programme aims to safeguard and promote a child’s well-being and build the resilience of families and communities to care for and protect their children (including children with disabilities, affected families and communities).
The following services are offered;
- Public education and prevention programmes, targeting children; parents; families and communities, with more focus on parental responsibilities and rights.
- A range of programmes and services for children with risky behaviours e.g. safety and risk assessment services; therapeutic and psycho-social services, temporary safe care programmes; adolescent development; programmes for children with behavioural, psychological and emotional challenges, transitional care and support programmes for children about to exit alternative care; programmes for children that live and beg on the streets.
- Statutory services - e.g. foster care programme, adoption programme.
- Programmes aimed at reunifying children, that have been placed in alternative placements, with their families or communities of origin.
The DSD with the support of its NPO partners also offer training tosafety parents on the Department’s database, who accommodate children with disabilities.
Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs):
Children (with or without disabilities) under the age of 18 years old, who are living and working on the streets, are urged to seek accommodation at child and youth care centres that provide specialised programmes and are registered with DSD.
The Department offers specific Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCC)s for children and youth with disabilities with varying programs:
- Sivuyile CYCC facility specialises in severe to profound disability programmess
- Susan Lapoorta - specialise in highly functional autism spectrum programmess
- Nazareth House – mild and moderate disability programmess
- Agape Child and Youth Care Centre - profound and severe disability programmess
- Sean Kelly CYCC– severe to profound disability programmes
Disability Programme: Daycare and residential care services:
DSD also funds NPOs that render the following services for persons with disabilities.
1. Residential care services for children with severe and profound intellectual disability. The Department currently provides funding for five facilities in the province, accommodating ninety-two children with disabilities.
2. Day Care services provide day-time supervised care, stimulation, structured programmes and activities for children with severe and profound intellectual disability. The Department currently funds 67 NPOs which renders such services.
“I wish to appeal to all communities to help us safeguard the rights and promote the safety of children with disabilities, 365 Days of the year.
Any form of abuse against our children has no place in society and must not be tolerated,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
The fight against child abuse requires the help and support of everyone in the province. If you suspect a child is being abused, neglected or exposed to violence, we urge you to report it to the following channels:
· Calling the Western Cape Department of Social Development toll free: 0800 220 250
· Calling the SAPs crime stop hotline: 10111
· Calling Childline: 0861 322 322; or
· Calling Child Welfare SA: 0861 424 453
For more information about our other services, please refer to the Western Cape Department’s website on the link below:
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949