Help protect our children: Sign up to be a Safety Parent | Western Cape Government

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Help protect our children: Sign up to be a Safety Parent

6 September 2021

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's nutrition, health, learning, and safety are far-reaching. 

With staggered school times and subsequent isolation, children suffering from abuse, violence or neglect at home or online fall further from help, especially as they become further restricted  from accessing various forms of support. At the same time, children may begin to suffer from the stress and challenges of their immediate household struggling to make ends meet.

"Regardless of what circumstances might present themselves, every child should live their lives without harm, no matter their gender, race, ethnicity or religion. Every vulnerable child must be kept safe. 

I wish to encourage all citizens to consider making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children who acquire a temporary place of safety by signing up to become a Safety Parent," said the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.

Safety parents act as temporary safe care placements for children who have been orphaned or legally removed from their parents' or caregivers' care due to immediate and severe risk to their well-being and safety due to neglect or abuse. These vulnerable and at-risk children are placed in temporary care through the Children's Court while an investigation is conducted.

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) recognises the family – which includes extended family – as the best place for a child to flourish and develop. However, there are instances where the child's best interest is the immediate removal from their homes. In these cases, children may be placed with 'safety parents'. As a last resort, children may be placed in a Child and Youth Care Centre.

The DSD removed and placed 1146 children in temporary safe care from April 2021 to August 2021.

We are urgently seeking your help and support to increase our database of safety parents in the province. 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 and 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. Children may be placed with safety parents for at least three months. 

Those individuals interested in signing up to be a safety parent 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 or email

Applicants will need to undergo an evaluation process that will include:

· Clearance on the criminal offences database 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.

"I wish to appeal to all communities to help us safeguard the rights and promote the safety of children, 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.

Contact information:

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