Child Protection Month: All Children Should Be Protected
May is Child Protection Month, a month in which we raise awareness about the rights of children as enshrined in the Constitution. The Western Cape Department of Social Development (WCDSD) also uses this month to raise awareness about child abuse and the preventive measures we offer as the Department.
“We believe that all children have the right to be protected in their environments by their care givers but when children are vulnerable, abused, neglected, and exploited they are considered to be in need of care and protection,” says provincial Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
“Although the Department offers a range of services to assist families and ensure the protection of children, it is important to note the primary responsibility for child protection lies with the parents and caregivers. And where there are those who have the resources and temperament to care for children in need of a temporary home, I encourage you to consider becoming a foster or safety parent,” adds Minister Fernandez.
To prevent child abuse, we must focus on early prevention and intervention programmes. It is therefore important that children and families are supported early with intervention programmes and resources.
The WCDSD’s services aim to transition vulnerable children from risk to resilience by using evidence-based interventions that mobilize and develop protective resources within their families, communities, and schools. This will allow children to grow into productive, aspirational, healthy, and independent individuals.
These services include:
- Family preservation services that consist of family counselling, parenting and fatherhood programmes, couple and marriage counselling and family therapy. The prevention programmes can help parents identify and address other needs they may have, such as managing anger and learning problem-solving techniques, ways to manage money and reduce stress, etc.
- Prevention and early intervention services: We offer child abuse prevention programmes, therapeutic counselling and developmental services.
- HIV care services, and Drop-in Centres where social workers and Child & Youth Care Workers provide basic services to vulnerable children to enhance their emotional, physical, and social development
- Risiha programme: a community-based child protection programme aimed at protecting orphans and vulnerable children some of whom are living in child and youth headed households, with chronic health conditions as well as those living and working on the streets.
Children with disabilities should not be forgotten during this time, as they have the same rights as other children. The Department subsidizes Special Care Centres for Children with Disabilities and spends R30 million on funding four Child and Youth Care Centres for children with profound disabilities in alternative care.
The Department also manages the Sivuyile Residential Facility, which accommodates children and adults with severe and profound, physical, and intellectual disabilities.
If you are a child or a parent who needs our help, or you’d like information on becoming a foster or safety parent, please call our toll-free number 0800 220 250 or visit your nearest Department of Social Development local office. You can also visit https://www.westerncape.gov.za/service/fostering-child