Care centre a safe haven

2015-06-10 06:01
PORTIA MALGAS-MAPHALALA                                                                                                             
Photo: 
Sidwell Guduka

PORTIA MALGAS-MAPHALALA Photo: Sidwell Guduka

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PORTIA MALGAS-MAPHALALA has said that the protection of children and creating a safe and secure environment for them was everyone’s responsibility.

Malgas-Maphalala, who is the regional director of Child Welfare South Africa in the Free State, spoke to Express at the official opening of the Child Welfare Temporary Safe Care Centre in Selosesha, Thaba Nchu, on Friday.

The opening of the centre coincided with the annual National Child Protection Week which was celebrated from 31 May to 7 June.

This year’s event was themed Working Together to Protect Children.

“We are really privileged to have a facility like this, because as an organisation that is responsible to protect children, we feel that sometimes we don’t have places where we can put children who are in need of care and protection.

“A place like this says to the community that, if they meet a child who is in need and there is no place to keep the child, this facility will offer the child a safe environment where they can stay,” Malgas-Mapha­lala said.

She further believes that children are not supposed to be taken to care centres, because they belong in happy families where they could grow up feeling safe and loved.

“Each and every member of the community has a responsibility toward children and that responsilility is to protect them. We must create a secure and safe environment for them.

“We must never abuse, neglect or abandon them,” she explained.

“If we can work together to protect our children, we can give them a better future for tomorrow. But if circumstances are beyond us as a community, we have the facility where those children will be welcome.”

Asked about the procedures followed to admit children, Malgas-Maphalala said the cenre only accepted children who were abused, neglected and abandoned.

“People who bring children here must first go to the police or a social worker, because we only admit children through the police or social workers.

“We cater for children according to the Children’s Act X children who are aged between 0 and 18 years,” she said.

At the moment, the newly launched care centre X which caters specifically for children from Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo X houses 23 children and 12 babies.

“We’ve got care-givers who take care of them.

“They are trained to do this job and are here 24 hours a day to make sure that the children are in a safe environment,” concluded Malgas-Maphalala

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