According to Children’s Act 38 of 2005, orphaned children are regarded as children in need of care and protection and therefore processes and steps as outlined in section 150 of the Act stating that such children must be placed in alternative care such as foster care and Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) are being implemented. The Children’s Amendment Act affords potential parents the opportunity to adopt children who may be orphaned.
Orphans who are in the care of the family members benefit from Child Support Grant (CSG) as per provisions of the Social Assistance Act of 2004; and a top up grant that was introduced during COVID 19 to reduce the impact of the pandemic on families who these children are part of. The orphans who have relatives are also supported through the community-based prevention and early programme delivered in drop-in centres.
The department further employed over 1600 social workers during COVID 19 who amongst other services provided psychosocial support services to people in distress including orphaned children. The Gender Based Violence Command Centre was also operational 24 hours and accessible to all people including orphaned children. Through these initiatives the department was able to provide psycho social support services to more than 67 000 people including orphans.
The Department further implements Community-Based Prevention and Early Intervention (CBPEI) programme, which provides Core Package of Services (CPS) for vulnerable children. The aim of the community-based prevention and early intervention services to vulnerable children is to provide continuous support through an ecosystem and resilience-based approach. The Core Package of Services (CPS) are provided to all vulnerable children irrespective of the cause of the vulnerability during the pandemic to address different needs that they are presenting. The CPS was developed to operationalise community-based services for children, families and communities to reduce risks and build resilience in children.
The seven intervention domains of the CPS are:
• Food and Nutrition: Provide a safety net for children within their communities and where they can access food when the food provision in their family is insecure or where the child is at risk of stunting and malnutrition (cooked meals, food parcels).
• Psychosocial support: Improving children’s mental health by the early identification of children in emotional and psychological distress.
• Educational support: to increase access to and attendance of schools through for example, supporting children to overcome obstacles to attendance – such as lack of school uniform, lack of parental support for schooling and to support children in their educational performance.
• Economic Strengthening: aims at supporting and increasing the economic base of households through facilitating access to social security grants, entrepreneurial and other economic strengthening activities.
• Child care and protection: prevention of child abuse, neglect and exploitation and creating an enabling environment within the home, community and accessible services that will support parents to look after their children.
• Health promotion: Improve children’s health through better access to health care, promote and support access to sexual reproductive health services for girls and boys, and the early identification and support to children with disabilities, promote and support good WASH habits.
• HIV and AIDS services: Reducing children’s risk of contracting HIV by improved HIV awareness and sexuality education.
In addition to the implementation of the Core Package of Services (CPS) and in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders, an Emergency Response Plan was developed. The purpose of this Emergency Response Plan is to address the needs of vulnerable children who have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. The purpose of this Emergency Response Plan is to address the needs of vulnerable children who have been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic. Furthermore, the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 makes provision that all orphaned children, despite their circumstances around orphan-hood, they are accommodated in terms of section 150 which identifies them as children in need of care and protection.