N Cape improves child protection

Pretoria: The Northern Cape Social Development Department has trained 141 service providers on child protection services as part of the department’s early intervention programmes on child abuse.

Social Development MEC Alvin Botes said the training, which incorporates the Children’s Act, is based on how to complete the necessary documentation when reporting child abuse cases. It also includes programmes on the prevention of and early intervention in child abuse cases.

Botes on Tuesday launched the provincial leg of Child Protection Week in Galeshewe, Kimberley, where he urged the community not to turn a blind eye to child abuse, irrespective of who the perpetrator is.

Child abuse can be reported to Childline South Africa on the toll-free number, 0800 05 55 55. Alternatively, individuals wishing to report cases can contact their nearest social worker or police station.

Botes said communities must partner with government to tackle the issues that undermine the rights of children. “No longer must we allow abuse and injustice against children to happen in our homes and communities. As government, we will partner with communities by educating and mobilising them to be at the forefront of caring for and protecting children.

“To rid our communities of the scourge of child abuse and violence against children is really everybody’s business. “Let us work together to save our communities of these heinous crimes in order for us to live in a community where every woman and child can feel safe,” said Botes.

Caring for all children

Botes encouraged the community to ensure that children know about the Children’s Act and the protection it affords them.

“It is our responsibility as government to educate the public who are generally unaware that the rights of children are protected by the Children’s Act. It is our shared responsibility to protect the rights of children and we must cultivate a culture of community involvement and caring for our children.

“Families and caregivers must be encouraged to care for their children, in line with the rights outlined in the Constitution and the Children’s Act. We call on civil society and other social partners to join us in protecting children’s rights and delivering social services and interventions.”

In a bid to address poverty and to make positive in roads in improving the lives of children, the department has allocated an amount of R137 million for the care and protection of children.

Turning to Early Childhood Development (ECD), Botes, who saluted the staff and volunteers running ECD centres, said the province was working to increase the number of ECD professionals.

These efforts, he said, will be complemented by the increase of government-subsidised ECD facilities from the current 387 ECD registered in the Northern Cape, 46 of which are in Galeshewe.