As schools concluded the academic year, the Department of Social Development (DSD) has urged parents and caregivers to be aware of the risks which come with the joyful period and encouraged for children to be kept safe.
MEC for Social Development Sharna Fernandez said: “We call on all parents and caregivers to always keep an eye on your children when out in public spaces. Be especially vigilant when you are at the beach or in a shopping mall. Unfortunately, every year, we see children being forgotten at a beach after a day out, resulting in distress and trauma for them. This is unacceptable as it is the responsibility of parents and caregivers to ensure minors in their groups are always under a watchful eye while at the beach or around a body of water, so you can leave together safely.”
Fernandez said DSD social workers, in partnership with municipalities like the City of Cape Town, provide support and ensure that these children are safely placed until they can be reunited with their families.
The DSD said between December 31, 2022, and January 2, 2023, at least 240 children were separated from their families in high-volume areas such as Monwabisi, Mnandi, Camps Bay, Strandfontein, Muizenberg and Strand beaches.
“DSD staff and partner NGOs will still be hard at work while many people are enjoying the festivities. Violence, abuse, and neglect unfortunately do not take a break over the holidays. That is why I am so thankful to the dedicated social service professionals who will be on duty to ensure the dignity, well-being, and protection of the vulnerable. As ordinary citizens, we can also do our part and report any wrongdoing we may see. If you wish to help a child in need and have the resources to do so, you could become an emergency or safety parent,” said Fernandez.
If you have a passion to help children and are interested in partnering with the DSD by opening your home to care and safeguard vulnerable children, you can volunteer to become a safety parent.
For more information, visit: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/general-publication/become-safety-parent