Child Protection Week: Working Together to safeguard Children with Disabilities
As we commemorate Child Protection Week, we must be mindful that children with disabilities often require specialised support.
All children are vulnerable, however, some children require extra care and safeguarding, particularly children with disabilities who are more vulnerable to maltreatment, neglect and abuse.
While the reasons for child maltreatment varies, the best form of child protection is prevention and early intervention.
To this end, the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD), with the support of its Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) partners, offers a basket of childcare and protection services to respond to the well-being and protection of children with disabilities.
The following services are offered;
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).
These services include;
- 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 to safety 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 CYCCs that provide specialised programmes and are registered with DSD.
The Department offers specific CYCCs for children and youth with disabilities with varying programmes:
- Sivuyile CYCC facility in (Stikland) specialises in severe to profound disability programmes
- Susan Laporta (Samuel Street, Sarepta , Kuilsriver) - specialise in highly functional autism spectrum programmes
- Nazareth House (1 Derry Road, Vredehoek, Cape Town) – mild and moderate disability programmes
- Agape Child and Youth Care Centre (Eva Street, Grabouw) - profound and severe disability programmes
- Sean Kelly CYCC (119 Tulbagh Street, Worcester) – 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.
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 65 NPOs which render such services.
“The importance of providing childcare and protection services cannot be understated and is a responsibility that the DSD prioritises 365 days of the year,” concluded Minister Fernandez.
The protection of our children 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: 116; 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: