DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICE AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION
WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE
Child Protection Services during After Hours
The after hours services had been in operation since 1 April 1998. The first service commenced in Atlantis on 25 July 1998. Mitchell’s Plain followed soon and included Khayelitsha and Nyanga. Since then serious efforts from District and Local Child Protection Committees ensured the implementation of fourteen after hours services in the province.
One million rand was allocated to the implementation of the after hours services under the leadership of the then MEC for Health and Social Services, Mr. Rasool. Since then the administration of the funding of the after hours services was the responsibility of the ACVV as a conduit in the Cape Peninsula and Boland area, and later NICRO as a conduit in the Wynberg area , which is now done by the Saartjie Baartman Centre and George Child Welfare Society for the Southern Cape. In 14 of the 17 districts volunteers are available to intervene in child abuse cases between 16:00 and 24:00. In 7 districts volunteers are also available between 24:00 – 8:00 the next morning. The social worker on duty is on call during both shifts. During weekends the same service is available in the 14 districts.The Cape Town Child Protection Centre which is based at the Somerset Hospital operates as a 24 Hour centre for children that are abused and the following services are rendered :
24 hour helpline
one stop child protection service
24 hour social worker available
Liaison with SAPS , Medical services
Appropriate follow –up
Multi – disciplinary case conferences
The centre serves the Cape Town Magisterial District which includes City Bowl,Cape Town Central, Bo – Kaap, Atlantic Seaboard up to Llundudno, Woodstock,Salt River,Observatory,Maitland, Joe Slovo Park,Milnerton, Tableview and Bloubergstrand.
A number of 138 social workers in the Province are available to intervene in child abuse and neglect cases after hours. A number of 36 social workers do not receive any remuneration and render the service voluntary.
A number of 104 volunteers were trained and are involved in the after hours service in the province.
The co-operation and collaboration of social workers and police are very good during the after hours service delivery. Joint investigations however do not take place in all instances, although there is a serious effort present to ensure joint investigations between social workers and police. The reasons of not conducting joint investigations are mostly practical than unwillingness.
The service delivery at after hours service are monitored through the following mechanisms:
Process reports of case
Section 42 notification
Form 4’s issued
Feedback from fieldworker who takes over the case
Statistics from register at after hours service centres.
Progress Reports from District Coordinator
After Hours Service Board Meetings
The District Child Protection Coordinators also reports on progress with the service at the quarterly meetings of the Provincial Child Protection Committee.
The service is of great value and should be strengthen depending on the availability of more funding.