Child Protection Month: Children with disabilities deserve protection too
“We need to remember that every child is my child. Every child deserves to be acknowledged and seen as such and not for their disability.” – Pumeza Ngumla, Disabled Children’s Action Group.
The Western Cape Department of Social Development (WCDSD) is committed to providing services that assist all vulnerable children, including those with disabilities.
“During Child Protection Month, it is imperative that no child is forgotten. Children with disabilities, like any other child, deserve the same care and protection. The Department has allocated R61 million in 2023/2024 to 62 Social Service Organisations that provide support to people with disabilities, and their families. These organisations help more than 45 000 clients annually,” says Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez.
Parents of children with disabilities say more people need to be educated on how to include individuals with disabilities in society, whether in schools, workplaces, or public spaces.
“Children and adults with disabilities are the most vulnerable when it comes to being violated, and when it comes to being misunderstood by society. The exclusion we feel is largely due to a lack of understanding and inaccessibility in public spaces. More awareness is needed in communities to educate people about how to include individuals with disabilities into society,” says Codlyn Joubert from Mitchells Plain.
“People assume all children with disabilities cannot think for themselves, and then they are ignored. Stigma like this may lead parents to hide children in their homes where they live in denial,” says Nolwandle Witbooi from Khayelitsha.
The WCDSD subsidises Special Care Centres (SCCs) for Children with Disabilities posts (programme implementers and carers) in 65 SCCs across the province. Together with the Western Cape Education Department and the provincial Department of Health and Wellness, it provides educational and therapeutic support to children in these facilities.
The WCDSD has allocated R30 million to four Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) 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.
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/dept/social-development
Spokesperson to MEC Sharna Fernandez
Department of Social Development
Tel: 084 775 2975