Child Protection Week – Don’t have Babies Until You’re Ready to be Parents
Today marks the start of Child Protection Week.
This lies against a backdrop of several incidents of baby dumping over the past few weeks. In the most recent incident, the baby dumped in Paarl is currently recovering in a local hospital while a safety parent is anxiously waiting to take care of him and give him a loving home. He has a right to care and protection and his parents have a responsibility to provide this.
And while the state will never turn its back on abandoned babies, we will never break the cycle of poverty if government is expected to substitute the crucial role two loving, committed parents play in a child’s development.
Our government takes its responsibilities seriously and at a local level, we will continue working with communities and offering programmes with the following objectives:
- to strengthen positive interaction between family members
- to model positive discipline
- to demonstrate families working together to achieve a common goal
- to educate parents /caregivers about their responsibilities and rights in the protection of children
- to promote inclusion of children with all forms of disabilities
Particularly with disabled children, it is important that parents understand the various options involved in protecting and safeguarding their children.
The Western Cape Government recently partnered with Uhambo, an NGO in the child care and protection sector. They were tasked with identifying disabled persons in two communities, Mfuleni and Vredenburg, who are not accessing services, and linking them with social support services.
Since the pilot started just over two months ago, we have already identified more than 530 disabled persons, most of them children. These children are now being connected with service providers and state benefits to make life a little bit easier.
Not all disabled children have to be cared for at a facility. Where home care is possible, we are now training parents and care-givers to not only care for, but stimulate the development of their disabled children.
We also continue to promote the use of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services and are specifically focused on ensuring quality learning programmes at these ECDs. Gone are the days where it is simply a baby-sitting facility. Children have to be cared for, but their cognitive and language skills should also be developed in preparation for the school curriculum.
To this end we are constantly working with ECDs to improve their learning programmes. The increase of the subsidy to ECDs from R12 to R15 per child per day also goes a long way to providing better equipped classrooms and more nutritionally balanced meals.
Protecting our children should not be limited to themes and campaigns run by government. As a parent, the care and protection of your children remain your primary responsibility. As a government, we can create opportunities for increased safe spaces for our children. Parents need to grab hold of these opportunities and do their bit to ensure that their children benefit from these programmes.
At the end of the day, people should not have babies until they are ready to be responsible parents.
Spokesperson for Minister Fritz
Cell: 083 280 9199