ENSURING the safety of children and protecting them from harm and social ills took centre stage at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre yesterday, as the 21st Biennial Conference of the National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW) got under way.
This conference is a gathering of child and youth care professionals, as well as social service workers from around the world with an aim to determine how best to serve vulnerable young people. It includes representatives from local, provincial and national government, Unicef, NGOs and various other role-players in childcare.
According to the Deputy Director-General of the Department of Social Development, Connie Nxumalo, the event is largely about building relationships and looking at what initiatives have worked and what projects have not, in order to improve child and youth care.
Among the successful programmes that the department is looking at expanding is Isibindi.
This initiative was conceived to support children through the trauma of bereavement, preferably in a manner that would keep siblings together in the family home, rooted in their communities.
The project has since been expanded to embrace the needs of all vulnerable and at-risk children.
Fifteen Isibindi projects operate in the Northern Cape serving over 13 000 needy children.