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Under regulation 14(1) and (3) of the State of Emergency - Covid-19 Regulations published under Proclamation No. 9 of 28 March 2020, with the authorisation of the President and the approval of the Attorney-General, I issue the directive set out in the Schedule.D. SiokaMinister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare
Directive Relating to Child Protection Response during COVID-19
Government Notice 120 of 2020
Published in Government Gazette no. 7214 on 15 May 2020
Assented to on 12 May 2020
Commenced on 15 May 2020
[Up to date as at 9 April 2021]
In this directive, a word or expression to which a meaning has been given in the Regulations or the Act has that meaning, and unless the context indicates otherwise -"cluster" means the cluster on Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare in the Office of the Vice President;"designated social worker" means a control social worker, a chief social worker, a senior social worker or a social worker listed in Annexure 1 to this directive;"national level supervisor" means a control social worker, or a person designated by the cluster as such;"the Act" means the Child Care and Protection Act, 2015 (Act No. 3 of 2015); and"the Regulations" means the State of Emergency - Covid-19 Regulations published under Proclamation No. 9 of 28 March 2020.
2. Purpose of this directive
The purpose ofthis directive is to:(a)provide a general framework on how to deal with children in an emergency situation, taking into account their physical and psychological vulnerabilities and associated risks;(b)address challenges and provide guidance on how to respond to child related cases of Covid-19; and(c)ensure effective and efficient coordination and management of child protection services during the Covid-19 state of emergency.
3. The response plan
(1)The cluster is the overall lead in child protection.(2)There will be two complementary parallel response streams for child protection, one at the national level and one at the regional level.(3)The national level must provide guidance, support and supervision to regional level teams of social workers and administrative officers.(4)Designated social workers in all the 14 regions must lead the response after they receive a direct referral for child protection from a stakeholder or a community member.(5)Designated social workers must manage direct referrals for child protection and ensure timely and effective linkages to services.(6)The cluster must undertake its role as the overall lead in all cases involving child protection in accordance with:(a)the Act;(b)relevant Case Management Processes; and(c)the applicable Standard Operating Procedures that are in place.(7)National level supervisors must provide supportive supervision and guidance on integrative services and management to assist with the effective rolling out of sustainable and harmonised systems of care services for children.(8)The payment of state grants referred to in Chapter 16 ofthe Act that are currently in existence must continue.(9)For the purposes of sub-directive (8), service providers at pay points must ensure that relevant prevention services in terms of section 130 ofthe Act are applied.
4. Procedures for referral of children
(1)The first point of response to children in need of protective services is the 116 or 106 helplines or reporting the matter to the nearest police station.(2)A helpline official or a police officer must connect the reported case to a designated social worker who must manage the case in accordance with the provision of the Act.(3)The cluster must assign a designated social worker for each region to oversee all cases of children in that region who are 18 years of age or less and in need of protective measures in accordance with Chapter 15 of the Act.(4)The national level supervisors must immediately inform the Director of Child Care and Protection about specific emergency cases that require special interventions such as:(a)households without any parental supervision or child headed households;(b)children living and working on the street;(c)children who are infected with the COVID-19; and(d)households with children in need of nutritional support or any emergency assistance during the State of Emergency period.
5. Acute cases
(1)A designated social worker must immediately refer an acute case to the Director of Child Care and Protection.(2)For the purposes of this directive, a case is an acute case if the parents of a child have been removed for isolation purposes or the parents of a child have passed away due to Covid-19 infection.