caring for children

The Department of Social Development has allocated R23 million for the 2008 and 2009 financial year for the construction of infrastructure for orphaned and vulnerable children.

The Department of Social Development has allocated R23 million for the 2008 and 2009 financial year for the construction of infrastructure for orphaned and vulnerable children.

One of the needs that will be addressed over the Medium Term Expense Framework (MTEF) is social infrastructure to provide after-school support and drop-in facilities for orphaned and vulnerable children, especially those from child-headed households.

This will be of immense support to the increasing numbers of orphaned and vulnerable children living in child-headed households.

In this regard, 22 home community-based care facilities, which will also provide for after-school and drop-in facilities, will be constructed over the MTEF.

Furthermore, the department has set aside about R30 million for the 2008-2009 financial year for the construction of secure care centres for children in conflict with the law.

The department is currently building a new, secure care facility in Soshanguve, Pretoria, which is due to be completed in 2008-09.

The diversion programme comprises a set of interventions targeting children under 18 who are in conflict with the law by providing community-based alternatives to the criminal justice system.

Most child offenders, if diverted from the criminal justice system, may have a chance to become law-abiding citizens. The programme includes home-based supervision, secure care facilities and placement of children in secure care facilities.

There were 6182 children who were diverted in 2007-2008. Home- based supervision is focused on children being put in the care of their parents or guardians instead of awaiting trial in adult prisons.

Where this is not possible, children awaiting trial are sent to secure care facilities.

In 2007-2008, 6679 children in conflict with the law were placed under supervision.

There are currently no children awaiting trial in police facilities, and the number of children awaiting trial in correctional facilities has decreased substantially to below 100.

There are currently four secure care facilities, and a new secure care facility in Soshanguve is to be completed soon.

It is hoped that the new facility will decrease the department's dependency on private service providers and enable it to render a more cost effective service.

X