The need to address child protection on a systemic level has been highlighted as a key area of concern by the Western Cape Government. On Wednesday, the province’s MEC for Social Development, Sharna Fernandez, discussed the matter with key experts in the fields of prevention and early intervention services.

“In order to safeguard the future of this country, we must focus on integrated prevention and early intervention programmes for our children that include both the boy and the girl child. Our government remains committed to investing in prevention and early intervention programmes. By making people more socially mobile, we are able to increase productivity, with the knock-on effect of reducing reliance on social welfare,” Fernandez said in a statement. “In South Africa, child protection policy is inclusive and provides a legislative framework for promoting the well-being of families with children, especially the poor and vulnerable children in need of care and protection. However, we need to ensure that resource allocation, programme landscape and practice in child protection, shift from predominantly reactive approaches to preventive approaches.”

She added that both the sector and department were fully cognisant of the need to address child protection.

Approximately R753 835-million of the total social development budget for 2019/20 has been dedicated to child and family programs. Of this, majority has been earmarked for child and youth care centres, child protection services, as well as family and early child protection services.

“The main aim of the children and families programme is to help build families that function well and communities that care for, protect and develop children appropriately,” Fernandez added.

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