Child protection is everyone’s business
As National Child Protection Week begins, the City of Cape Town would like to remind parents that good early childhood education is not only crucial for development, but a shared responsibility. Read more below:
National Child Protection Week is commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness about the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act, No. 38 of 2005. Child protection requires all of us to play a role in ensuring the safety, well-being, and care of children.
From a local government perspective, and specifically within the City’s Social Development and Early Childhood Development Directorate, the primary responsibility in terms of child protection relates to early learning facilities and opportunities. The Directorate has a mandate to ensure that day-care centres and crèches are fulfilling the legal requirements set out in the Children’s Act and providing environments that are conducive to the health and well-being of the children in their care. The City works closely with the Western Cape Government Department of Social Development in this regard, to register as many facilities as possible.
A joint registration drive between the City and the Western Cape Government resulted in the registration of 184 unregistered ECDs in the first three months of the campaign at the end of April. The campaign draws to a close at the end of June and the original target of registering 100 facilities has already been exceeded. ECD registration drives offer a direct interface between State agencies and applicants to provide a step-by-step guide in the process of registering ECDs in line with statutory requirements.
‘We are doing as much as possible to ensure that ECDs are registered, in conjunction with the Western Cape Government. Parents can then be assured that facilities are compliant in terms of the fire, health and safety regulations spelled out in the Child Care Act. We also provide training to the ECD staff to better equip them to care for children, including teaching methods and first-aid,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Social Development and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little.
During the current 2014/15 financial year, the Directorate has made available R1,9 million for skills development projects and programmes for ECD practitioners. This has included accredited first-aid training for 164 beneficiaries, the provision of toys and educational toolkits to 93 ECD centres to upgrade their curriculum programmes, and the provision of educational stimulation kits to 11 ECD centres for children with disabilities.
‘The capacitation of ECD centres is progressing well, but ultimately parents have a responsibility too. Child safety and protection is about more than rands and cents and money cannot be the primary motivator for choosing an ECD centre. Parents should also play their part by teaching their children about things like “good touch, bad touch”, being on the lookout for any signs of abuse or neglect, and insisting on knowing the background of each and every staff member working at the ECD. It is a parent’s right to ask these questions for the sake of their children,’ added Councillor Little.