To mark the start of Child Protection Week, the Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Albert Fritz, will roll-out the innovative Eye-On-The-Child programme.
The Minister announced the adoption and roll-out of the programme during an oversight visit to the newly opened Oudtshoorn DSD Local Office, based at the Thusong Centre.
This space will bring specialist Child Protection social workers closer to the communities that need them, and will allow the Department to be easily accessible. The Minister also joined the South African Police Services in hosting a child rights awareness puppet show in nearby Bongolethu, for children in the community.
The Eye on the Child programme is the brain-child of our funded NGO partner, Child Welfare South Africa. Child Welfare and ACVV have been running the programme in areas across the province, and have shown great results at bolstering the prevention of child abuse and neglect.
A network of volunteers is recruited, vetted, trained and paid a stipend to act as an early warning system to spot children at risk. Their primary role will be to call the social worker and refer the matter if they identify a risk.
Through this programme, we will empower local communities to fight the scourge of child murders.
Data from the Western Cape Child Death Review Panels will be used to identify and map the highest risk neighbourhoods to target for this project. This is a panel made up of experts from DSD, the Department of Health’s Forensic Pathology Services, academics from the 3 Western Cape universities and the National Prosecuting Authority. This group meets quarterly to discuss cases and caseloads. Particular attention will be paid to at-risk children in informal settlements and from disadvantaged rural and semi-rural communities.
The Department is exploring the use of its Child and Youth Care workers to do the recruitment and maintenance of the ‘spotters’, and to do community-based interventions with kids at risk.
The theme for this year’s Child Protection Week is, “Child Protection is Everyone’s Responsibility”.
The Department has devoted the largest share of its budget to services to children and families (R694-million) this year; however government cannot do it alone. Parents continue to play the most important role in ensuring children are safe, and protected.
Spokesperson for Albert Fritz, Minister of Social Development
Western Cape Government
7th floor, 14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8000
Tel : (021) 483 9217
Cell : 076 083 6543
Email : Sihle.Ngobese@westerncape.gov.za