Children are the focus

2015-11-24 06:00
MEC Albert Fritz serves children in honour of Universal Children's Day.

MEC Albert Fritz serves children in honour of Universal Children's Day.

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The Western Cape minister of social development, Advocate Albert Fritz, visited the Stepping Stones Crèche in District 6 to commemorate Universal Children’s Day.

This day is set aside for 20 November every year to honour children globally and to make sure that their well-being is promoted and protected.

The Western Cape department of social development (DSD) has prioritised the development and protection of the province’s 1 739 425 children. The department of social development’s children and families programme receives R605,5 million, which is the second largest funding allocation.

Fritz was met by the centre’s manager, Thelma Chisholm and her staff, and assisted in serving lunch to the children.

The province is estimated to have approximately 570 000 children aged between birth to four years old, who would make up the ECD population. The Stepping Stones crèche is one of over 1 500 registered Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres which receive funding as registered ECD centres from the department’s overall ECD budget of R294 million.

This budget also allows DSD to identify and register the estimated 1 000 unregistered ECD centres across the province. Registration ensures their compliance with health and safety requirements, as per the Children’s Act.

In addition to early childhood development, the Children’s Programme has focused on the following interventions in responding to the needs of the community:

• Finalised the policy on temporary safe care (a service for children at risk);

• Finalised the provincial child protection strategy;

• Developed a training package and tools for quality assurance at Child and Youth Care centres (CYCCs) to ensure compliance to norms and standards, and this has been successfully piloted at four of the CYCCs;

• Through our designation of child protection organisations, the Western Cape was the first province to register CYCCs for a further 5-year period; and

• Developed and implemented a provincial strategy to manage the foster care backlog.

“If we truly want to ensure that every child is protected and raised in an enabling environment, then government, civil society and parents need to work in partnership. We can honour our children on Universal Children’s Day, and every day, if we work ‘better together,” says Fritz.

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