An appraisal of the 2007 Integrated Care and Protection Plan for Children in the Western Cape
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The Integrated Provincial Care and Protection Plan for Children (Department of Social Development, 2007) was implemented as a framework that guides delivery of services to children and families by all role players - government departments, child protection organisations and civil society in the Province. Specifically, the Plan marked "a shift from the premise that parents and families are central in the care and protection of children" (Department of Social Development, 2007:22). This view was informed by the reality that many families in the Western Cape Province are not strong, stable or self-reliant. In addition, the Plan emphasized the importance of intergovernmental and inter-sectoral collaboration as well as information sharing.
In preparation for the planning of the Children's Summit, the Department of Social Development considered to review progress made in the implementation of the Integrated Provincial Care and Protection Plan for Children. The rapid appraisal of the Plan was conducted in six weeks (September to mid-October 2009).
The concern about the nature and magnitude of child abuse in the Western Cape Province has been reiterated by the political leadership and they have expressed a clear political commitment and willingness to address the problem. For example, there is an intention to establish the Commission for Children - a Chapter 9 institution to safeguard the protection of children as granted in the Constitution (see the speech by Dr IH Meyer, MEC of Social Development - Western Cape, on Budget Vote 7 in the Western Cape Legislature, 23 June 2009). In addition, the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape will host a Children's Summit in October 2009. The Summit and the build-up processes that include community consultations are intended to develop and form consensus around interventions which can enhance child protection and care in the Province.
There is a concern among stakeholders that despite the existence of legislation and policy frameworks that address child maltreatment and violation of children at national and provincial levels, child abuse and neglect remain significant problems in the province. For example, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) research indicates that child abuse and neglect, as well as exposure of children to violence, continue to be significant problems in the Western Cape (Dawes, 2006).