Services available for children with disabilities - Minister Dlamini

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pretoria – Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini has urged the parents of children with disabilities to make use of the government services available to assist them.

The minister’s call comes after reports emerged of a neglected eight-year-old girl with disabilities, who was locked up in an Alexandra shack.

The girl is said to have been locked up all day in the shack by her mother, with no ventilation and without water or food.

“The reported neglect of the disabled child in the manner that has been described is concerning to us. 

“This incident once again brings under scrutiny the ability of South African parents to take care of their disabled children,” said Minister Dlamini.

Services to help incapable parents

Minister Dlamini said government has services to assist parents who feel they are incapable of caring correctly for their children. These include placing the children in alternative care in places of safety or foster care. 

The minister said social education was imperative.

“However, over and above this, it is evident that we need to do more to educate and support parents with disabled children.  This is why the Department of Social Development has dedicated 2014 to issues of persons and children with disabilities,” she added.

Minister Dlamini commended the community of Alexandra for alerting the authorities to the child’s situation.

“This is the type of action required from all South Africans to protect our children.  This is our shared responsibility that cannot be delegated.  All of us must work together for the sake of our children,” she said.

Child Protection Week

The Department of Social Development will on 1 June launch Child Protection Week in Delft, Western Cape.

The week-long campaign will be held under the theme ‘Working Together to Protect Children’. It is a call to all South Africans to play a part in protecting and ensuring the well-being of children.

The department will use the week to raise awareness of issues around the protection of children, especially children with disabilities. 

The department said it chose Delft because of the number of incidents of violence against children that have taken place in the area. 

Community dialogues conducted by the department with residents of Delft revealed that the area is affected by incidents of violence, crime, dysfunctional families and gender based violence.

Interventions to advance child protection

Since 1994, the country has made strides in rolling out legislative and programmatic interventions to advance child protection. 

The Bill of Rights states that every child has the right to be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.  

To advance these rights, the Children’s Act (Act 38 of 2005) sets out the principles relating to the care and protection of children, and defines the related parental responsibilities and rights.

The Social Assistance Act, Child Justice Act and the Sexual Offences Act have given effect to government’s Constitutional responsibilities and reaffirms government’s commitment to ensuring the safety, care and support for every child. – SAnews.gov.za

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