Children’s rights to access essential learning equipment and shelter continue to be undermined by the Gauteng Department of Social Development (DSD).
In the face of Child Protection Week, children continue to suffer due to the DSD’s constant underspending on its allocated budget for the programmes meant to deliver welfare services to children.
South Africa may be celebrating this week, yet there is nothing to celebrate, while children who are solely dependent on the government for survival are failed by the very same government on which they rely.
Year after year DSD celebrates children, while it has failed to meet its target of placing children in foster care.
According to the department’s fourth-quarter report for the 2020/21 financial year, only 16 811 children were placed in foster care compared to the targeted 17 654. The department also failed to meet its target of providing psychosocial support services as only 48 122 children accessed the service compared to the target of 71 092. 1342 children were provided with non-centre-based services compared to the target of 1902.
In addition, while 172 717 children were targeted to be registered for Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes only 156 940 were registered, 201 of 281 children with disabilities were registered in ECD programmes and only 105 919 children accessed registered partial care facilities compared to the target of 157 150.
This department is failing our children and one week of Child Protection Awareness is not enough. All children deserve to benefit from government programmes and not a selected few individuals.
Therefore, the DA demands that this department must ensure that the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the children, do not suffer by ensuring that targets are met for children’s programmes.
We also urge all stakeholders to work together to stop the cycle of neglect, abuse, violence, and exploitation of children. However, to protect our children this department must ensure that it meets its target for foster care placement and other psychosocial support services that our children need.
Our children are the future of this country hence they must be protected, and the DA will do everything to ensure this happens.