Reaching out to child-headed households

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Pretoria – Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has called on South Africans to help her department reach out to every child and youth-headed household.

Bringing to the department’s attention the location of these households would help to ensure the children receive the necessary support from government.

The minister made the call during Child Protection Week (1 – 8 June), an annual campaign aimed at promoting the safety, well-being, care and protection of children. 

This year’s Child Protection Week is being hosted under the theme, “Working Together to Protect Children”, which calls on all citizens to play a part in ensuring the well-being of South African children.

The Department of Social Development says it is critical to know the location of every child- and youth-headed household in the country, so that interventions to assist them can be made. 

The department is in the process of compiling a register of child- and youth-headed households and, by May this year, had recorded 885 households.

“Once identified, an assessment of the needs of the child- and youth-headed households is done and thereafter linked to the necessary therapeutic interventions and resources.

“Citizens with the knowledge of child- and youth-headed households in their areas are requested to inform social workers in the local and district Social Development offices as well as local authorities and community leaders such as chiefs, traditional leaders and faith-based leaders,” the department said in a statement.

Communities are advised to contact the Children’s unit of the Department of Social Development on 082 786 4961 or at

Cases may also be referred to child protection organisations such Child Welfare, Child Line, Suid Afrikaanse Vrouense Federasie (SAVF) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). NGOs are entrusted with the responsibility of discharging statutory services to communities.

The department has already formed partnerships with faith-based organisations and traditional leaders in a bid, among others, to identify child- and youth-headed households in order to offer them support.

The department mainly assists child- and youth-headed households through the Isibindi Model, an initiative that deploys trained community-based child and youth care workers in communities in an innovative team outreach programme providing care, protection and developmental support to vulnerable children and families.

During the 2013/14 financial year, the Isibindi Model reached nearly 90 000 orphaned and vulnerable children with its services. –