Child Protection Month: Parental Responsibilities
In the build-up to Child Protection Week, observed from 29 May to 05 June, the Western Cape Department of Social Development (WCDSD) has been raising awareness about its child protection services.
WCDSD staff and Designated Child Protection Organizations (DCPOs) from the different regions across the province have been hosting various activities for parents, families, and children during Child Protection Month.
Awareness programmes about children’s rights and parents’ responsibilities (including foster parents) have been taking place in areas like the Eden and Central Karoo, Overberg, City of Cape Town, and the West Coast, to name just a few. Activities will continue after Child Protection Week has concluded.
“One of the most important messages we want to get out there is that the primary responsibility for child protection lies with parents and caregivers. It is a great responsibility, and sometimes support is required.”
“The Department offers family preservation services that consist of family counselling, fatherhood programmes, couple and marriage counselling and family therapy. These programmes help parents develop their parenting skills, to better understand the benefits of building positive relationships with their children and families,” says Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
The WCDSD’s prevention and early intervention services include child abuse prevention programmes, therapeutic counselling, and developmental services.
When families receive the necessary support early on, it’s possible that statutory intervention – like the removal of children - can be prevented, and the family-unit preserved.
The prevention programmes can also help parents identify and address other needs they may have, such as managing anger and learning techniques on how to problem solve, ways to manage money, and reduce overall stress.
The Department also has 26 funded and registered drop-in centres and Risiha sites in the province. Drop-in centres provide basic services to vulnerable children to enhance their emotional, physical, and social development, through social workers and child and youth care workers. Risiha is a community-based child protection programme aimed at protecting orphans and vulnerable children.
The selection of areas where these services are offered is where there is a high prevalence of children who are abused, neglected, and exploited. This includes street children, child sex workers, children living with disabilities, and children subjected to violence in their communities, at home or at school.
These are just some of the programmes available to help parents become better caregivers.
For information about the WCDSD’s services, 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