Saturday 27 May marks the start of Child Protection Week, a time during which there is a special focus on issues facing young South Africans under the age of 18. National Child Protection Week (CPW) is commemorated in South Africa annually to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.
Children in South Africa live in a society with a Constitution that has the highest regard for their rights and for the equality and dignity of everyone. Protecting children from violence, exploitation and abuse is not only a basic value, but also an obligation clearly set out in Article 28 of the South African Constitution. The aim of child protection is to ensure the safety, well-being, care and protection of children through an integrated multi-disciplinary approach. Despite the best efforts of the South African Government and civil society to protect children from child abuse, neglect and exploitation, many children still remain vulnerable.
Reducing the high levels of violence against children is among South Africa’s most overwhelming tasks. Despite the country’s progressive child protection laws, policies and programmes preventing and addressing violence against children, it remains a major challenge.
The Child Protection Policy of the Baby Therapy Centre reads as follows:
Baby Therapy Centre has a Child Protection Policy in order to ensure that all babies and children who are treated at and are in the care of the Baby Therapy Centre, are afforded security and safety at all times.
The legislative framework for The Baby Therapy Centre Child Protection Policy consists of the relevant acts:
A Child: A child means every human being under the age of eighteen (18) years.
Protection: Preventing injury or harm of any kind.
Abuse: Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that results in actual or potential harm to the child’s physical, psychological or emotional health, development, dignity or well-being in the context of a relationship of responsibility.
Main forms of abuse:
The core values of the Baby Therapy Centre state that the safety, well-being and security of the babies and children in our care shall at all times be the primary consideration.
BTC Child Protection Statement:
At BTC we commit ourselves to the optimal development of every baby and child in our care, putting the well-being and welfare of children first. We are committed to preventing intentional and unintentional abuse, harm or neglect to the babies and children who attend the BTC for treatment and day care. We also commit to recognise and identify any form of abuse or neglect which may have occurred in the children’s home or place of care.
Child Protection Policy:
To ensure that the Baby Therapy Centre and its staff take every possible measure to protect the babies and children in their care.
The aims of the child protection policy are to:
The above includes mothers of disabled children who are blamed, ostracised and ill-treated by society and family, as abuse of a mother can lead to neglect of the child.
This policy is applicable to all persons at the Baby Therapy Centre working with the babies and children or who are in contact with them in the course of their work.
The Child Protection Policy applies to daily activities at BTC as well as activities at Outreach stations.
It is the responsibility of adults at the BTC to ensure that:
While seeking a balance between the rights of the child and those of adults, the welfare and best interest of the child must be paramount at all times. Dealing with child abuse and/or neglect will involve other agencies as specified in the Children’s Act.
Strategies to ensure awareness and prevention of Abuse and Neglect:
Recruitment of employees or any person who has contact with babies/children at BTC:
Safe environment and Risk Management:
Should the BTC become aware of any staff member posing a risk to the children either through negligence of their duty to protect the children, or through unsafe or abusive behaviour, the person will be dealt with in accordance with the Child Protection Policy and in terms of their contract.
Implementation and Monitoring of the Policy:
The Head of Centre of the BTC has overall responsibility to ensure the safeguarding of children who attend BTC for therapeutic treatment and Day Care.
Management takes responsibility to ensure that the Child Protection Policy is implemented and will monitor and review the process ongoing.
Reporting and reacting to allegations of suspicions of child neglect or abuse:
Protection of confidentiality:
Procedures and other related statements:
BTC Children’s Rights Statement:
According to the Children’s Bill of Rights, every child has the right to any service which will enhance development and overcome hindrances (caused by disability) to formal education. The BTC addresses this at the highest level of Early Intervention Therapy.
Young disabled children are most at risk of abuse. This risk is reduced by:
o Enlightening, empowering and training mothers/caregivers to prevent abuse in the home/day care/society
o Reporting suspected child abuse.
Strict rules, procedures and monitoring govern interaction of staff, volunteers, visitors and parents, with our babies.
A Risk Management policy outlines procedures ensuring the safety of our babies whilst at the Centre or Outreach venues.
All parents (or authorised caregivers) sign a document giving permission for Medical Intervention Procedures, using the “Agreement with Parents” form and the “BTC Regulations for Therapy”.
After comprehensive evaluation, in consultation with the child’s physician(s), the intervention is planned and executed at the Centre, in hospital or at Outreach stations. At predetermined intervals, progress is monitored.
Consent for the use of stories, photographs, activities, promotions, medical education, publication etc. is given by the Parent using the “Authorisation to the Baby Therapy Centre” form.
At the initial interview of the parents with their child, cognisance is taken of the role of all family members / carers of the disabled child. Throughout the period of involvement with the Centre, this aspect is closely monitored as:
Reporting of Child Abuse:
If any staff member picks up any sign of abuse, this is immediately reported to the Head of Centre. Depending on the nature of the suspected abuse, the relevant Government departments are informed.
Referral letters are used for the following reasons:
Internal Referral Procedure:
External Referral Procedure:
If the child is referred to the BTC for evaluation (for suspected child abuse) the full evaluation process will be followed and findings reported to the relevant Child Protection Department.
The “Incident Report Form” is freely available to any parent and when submitted to the Head of centre will be speedily attended to and if necessary, discussed with the Board.
Supervision of Staff at the Centre
Each department has a supervisor who closely monitors the handling of each child by either the professionals or the trained assistants. There are severe penalties for any form of mishandling or abuse.
Organisational Self Evaluation
List of Procedure Forms
BTC Regulations for Therapy
In the event that you suspect child labour, abuse, neglect or exploitation of any kind, and want to report it, the following numbers may be helpful:
SMS Crime Line: 32211
Hand hygiene is regarded as the first level of protection against foreign pathogens/ bacteria.
Below is the abstract from an article written after research was done.
The Effect of Handwashing with Water or Soap on Bacterial Contamination of Hands
Handwashing is thought to be effective for the prevention of transmission of diarrhoea pathogens. However, it is not conclusive that handwashing with soap is more effective at reducing contamination with bacteria associated with diarrhoea than using water only. In this study 20 volunteers contaminated their hands deliberately by touching door handles and railings in public spaces. They were then allocated at random to (1) handwashing with water, (2) handwashing with non-antibacterial soap and (3) no handwashing. Each volunteer underwent this procedure 24 times, yielding 480 samples overall. Bacteria of potential faecal origin (mostly Enterococcus and Enterobacter spp.) were found after no handwashing in 44% of samples. Handwashing with water alone reduced the presence of bacteria to 23% (p < 0.001). Handwashing with plain soap and water reduced the presence of bacteria to 8% (comparison of both handwashing arms: p < 0.001). The effect did not appear to depend on the bacteria species. Handwashing with non-antibacterial soap and water is more effective for the removal of bacteria of potential faecal origin from hands than handwashing with water alone and should therefore be more useful for the prevention of transmission of diarrhoeal diseases.
As you can see, just rinsing is not merely enough to protect yourself and your loved ones.
So, when is it necessary to wash your hands?:
PROTECT THE ONES YOU LOVE – WASH YOUR HANDS
Dudu attends weekly group and individual music therapy sessions. Group sessions have afforded him the opportunity to develop greater awareness of his peers and to explore and express himself through playing instruments and singing/making sounds. In one-on-one sessions, Dudu is provided with a space in which he can experience close contact and basic social skills development.
Dudu is showing noticeable improvement in his awareness of the world around him and gradually exploring new ways of interacting with another person, as his tambourine beats and vocal sounds are echoed back to him. Dudu thoroughly enjoys these moments of contact and it is a joy to see how music is unlocking his developmental potential.
The Baby Therapy Centre consists of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech-language therapists who work within a transdisciplinary- or interdisciplinary treatment approach.find out more
The day care facility provides a means for regular therapy for children of working parents.find out more
Therapists regularly visit our outreach site in Mamelodi West.find out more
We aim to answer all the questions you might have about our services and what we offer.find out more