Child Protection Week runs annually from May 29 until June 5.
Social Development MEC Sharna Fernandez said this week should be a reminder that more needs to be done and strategically actioned to keep children safe and out of harm’s way.
“As we kick off Child Protection Week, we renew our commitment to protecting our children 365 days of the year. We must remain mindful of the critical role we all have to play in enriching our children’s lives.
“Together, we must speak up for and protect our children. I would like to remind the public about the various child protection services that are available at the department of social development, non-government organisation (NGO) sector, and other role players in the child protection system,” Fernandez said.
The available include a range of programmes and services for children who have been orphaned, abused or neglected as well as children who show signs of challenging behaviour which includes safety and risk assessment services, therapeutic and psychosocial services, temporary safe care programmes, adolescent development programmes, developmental programmes for children with behavioural, psychological and emotional challenges, transitional care and support programmes for children about to exit alternative care, and programmes for children living on the streets.
Fernandez said alternative care programmes include the foster care system and child and youth care centres. Adoptions include programmes aimed at reunifying children who have been placed in alternative care with their families or in their respective communities of origin.
“We need to have a whole of society approach to strengthen our nation’s efforts against child abuse. Together, we must speak up for and protect our children,” Fernandez said.
If you have any suspicion that a child is being abused, neglected or exposed to violence, please report it to any of the following numbers.
Western Cape Department of Social Development toll-free: 0800 220 250