Child care starts at home

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Government has called on key sectors around the country to work together to build a more protective environment for children, starting at family and community levels.

“There is a need for parents and caregivers to check and follow up on their children’s educational progress, discipline, as well as the nature of their children’s reaction to discipline and respect towards teachers and fellow learners,” said the Department of Social Development on Wednesday.

The department was reacting to the learner-on-learner violence in schools after a learner died at Forest Hill High School in Turffontein and the fatal stabbing of two other learners allegedly at the hands of another learner at the same school.

The department said safety and wellbeing is a challenge that affects all of society and coincides with the commemoration of the annual Child Protection Week Campaign, currently underway in South Africa.

“It highlights that the protection and care of children is not the sole responsibility of government but other stakeholders including parents, faith-based organisations, civil society and the media to play their part in the protection of children.”

As part of the provision of the child protection system, the Department of Social Development provides care and reintegration services for children in conflict with the law.

The department has developed a policy framework on the accreditation of diversion programmes and service providers which seek to give child offenders a second chance by preventing them from having a criminal record and to address the root causes for criminal behaviour.

Currently, the department has 31 secure care centres with a bed space of 2 296 across all nine provinces.

As of the end of March this year, 23 918 child offenders were assessed, 10 515 diverted and 3 039 placed under home-based supervision.

The department has also developed an anti-gangsterism strategy which is multi-sectoral in nature and contributes towards crime prevention. -