Minister Fernandez calls on residents to sign up to be ‘Safety Parents’
As Child Protection week comes to an end, Social Development Minister, Sharna Fernandez, is calling on citizens to become more involved in ensuring children’s safety, 365 days a year, by enquiring about how to become safety parents.
A safety parent acts as a temporary safe care placement for a child who is reported to be in need of emergency protection. After careful assessment, the child can be safely accommodated, pending a decision or court order concerning the placement of the child.
While the Department recognises the family – which includes extended family – as the best place for a child to flourish and develop, there are many instances where the child’s best interests is immediate removal from their homes. In these cases, children may be placed with non-related safety parents.
There are currently 446 registered safety parents in the province. We urgently need to grow our database in order to ensure that we expand the safety net for vulnerable children.
“The protection of children needs the whole of society to become involved in any way that they can. This is one way those who are eligible, can help vulnerable children,” says Fernandez.
Applicants are carefully screened to determine if they are suitable to care for children. Once approved, the safety parents will receive training about the Children’s Act, as well as how to care for vulnerable children who may have experienced trauma.
Due to the nature of the emergency placements, prospective safety parents should be available at short notice.
Those interested in signing up can contact their nearest DSD local office for more information about the process, requirements, and forms needed, or by contacting our DSD hotline 0800 220 250.
Applicants will need to undergo an evaluation process that will include:
· Clearance on the criminal offences data base for all the individuals residing on the premises of the applicant(s);
· Consultation with a social worker; and
· Attendance of a training course to qualify as a safety parent.
Under the leadership of Minister Fernandez, the Department of Social Development will continue to join forces with civil society, NPO’s and our communities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children. We also thank all those citizens, including registered safety parents and other volunteers, for their hard work and commitment to keeping our children safe.