Child Protection Month: Atlantis parents eager to provide places of safety
When a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited, they are in need of care and protection.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development’s (WCDSD) social workers must often step in to ensure the safeguarding of a vulnerable child.
Acting Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Anroux Marais, says: “Social service professionals in the Department and in Designated Child Protection Organisations are inundated by cases of child abuse and neglect. There are over 39 000 children in the foster system. Government’s resources are limited. We need communities to work with us to ensure the protection of all children”.
“We believe a child’s family is the best place for them to flourish and develop, but should we believe a child is unsafe in their own home, we will remove them and place them in temporary safe care,” adds Minister Marais.
Temporary safe care is an extraordinary measure that can be used by a designated social worker or police official where they believe, on reasonable grounds, that the child is in immediate danger.
If there’s evidence that a child is being abused, neglected, or exploited, the child will be placed in temporary safe care, where they’ll stay pending the outcome of a formal court process.
Temporary safe care can be provided either by an approved person (related or unrelated) or a place of safety that is approved to deliver such a programme to children.
A safety parent is a fit and proper person, over the age of 18 years, who takes temporary care of no more than six children, except where the children are siblings. This care can last for up to 90 days.
There are also emergency parents, who provide temporary safe care for between 24 to 48 hours.
On 30 May, the WCDSD held a Safety Parent Recruitment Drive in Atlantis, as part of the Department’s Child Protection Week awareness programme.
Atlantis residents braved the icy cold and wet weather to find out how to become a safety parent and the type of support services the Department provides.
Atlantis resident Andrinie Campbell is a foster parent to her two grandchildren. Campbell now wishes to become an emergency parent as well: “The children in our community are neglected due to things like alcohol and drug abuse in their homes. I grew up in an era where your child is my child, and I still believe that. I’m going to speak to my husband so that we may make a difference in my community.”
Jacqueline Windvogel, who runs a creche in the area, says she will use what she has learned from the event to encourage people in her network to become emergency or safety parents: “I came here to find out how to become an emergency parent. I can now go into my community and encourage more parents who have the resources to be part of this programme.”
By the end of the event, nearly half of the participants gave their details to WCDSD staff to become safety or emergency parents. Thank you to all those individuals who have volunteered to helping vulnerable children in need of a safe place!
If you’d like information on becoming a 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/general-publication/become-safety-parent