Counselling and psycho-social support for vulnerable children | Western Cape Government

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Counselling and psycho-social support for vulnerable children

4 June 2021

Counselling and psycho-social support are hugely beneficial for both young children and adolescents. Both practices provide help and support to young children, who have experienced trauma, and those children who are experiencing a dysfunctional or stressful home environment.

“I would like to encourage the public to make use of our counselling and psycho-social services that are available to help children better understand and navigate the issues they are experiencing or the trauma that has occurred in their lives.

When a child’s behavioural and emotional issues and trauma are left untreated, it can negatively influence their educational ambitions and developmental milestones,” said the Western Cape Minister for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.

Many of the challenges of children are similar to those that adults manage in their day-to-day lives. Common challenges include; anxiety, stress, depression and bereavement. The aim of both counselling and psycho-social support is to break down issues and problems into manageable parts, so that children can better understand and cope with them.

In the context of the COVID-19 National Disaster, the Provincial COVID-19 Coordinating Council determined that the provincial Department of Social Development (DSD) should take on the role of providing psycho-social support to individuals and families affected in various ways by COVID-19.

The provincial DSD with the support of its NPO partners and its volunteers utilises various awareness programmes that are integrated with counselling and psycho-social interventions, to help all those children being impacted by COVID-19

Social workers from DSD render trauma counselling and psycho-social support to children, women, boys and men alike across the entire province. In this regard, DSD offers a range of programmes and services to assist in alleviating the amount of trauma being experienced across the Province.

These services and programs among others include:

•          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.

During the 2020/2021 financial year, DSD with the support of its NPO partners rendered trauma counselling and psycho-social support 8765 children and 5753 children respectively.

“We need families, communities, and civil society to help alleviate the high levels of trauma and violence taking place in our communities. Afterall, your child is my child and it takes a community to raise a child. Let’s be responsible and protect our children 365 days of the year,” Minister Fernandez.

Contact information:

Anybody needing more information or assistance regarding our counselling and psycho-social support services can contact us on the DSD hotline on 0800 220 250.

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:

Media Enquiries: 

Joshua Covenant Chigome

Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez

Tel: 021 483 9217

Cell: 083 661 4949