Child Protection Month

Child Protection Week: 27 May – 2 June


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:

  • Children’s Act
  • Constitution of South Africa
  • All relevant Acts pertaining to the registration of the professionals involved in Therapy and Day Care i.e. Health Protection Council of South Africa (HPCSA); Rules and Regulations governing health and allied health professionals
  • World Health Organisation
  • Nursing Council of South Africa


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:

    1. Physical abuse – any physical hurt or injury, which is inflicted deliberately, or is a result of deliberate neglect.
    2. Emotional abuse – the negative effect on the emotional development of the child caused by emotional ill treatment. Emotional abuse is difficult to measure and often children who appear well cared for may be emotionally abused by being taunted, put down or belittled.
    3. Verbal abuse – excessive shouting or swearing at or in front of children, threats, teasing, insults or racial taunts.
    4. Sexual abuse – involving or exposing a child to any sexual activity or pornographic material.
    5. Neglect – the persistent lack of care of children including safety, warmth and medical attention.


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:

  • Protect those who are dependent on adults for their protection and well-being.
  • Provide guidelines to prevent harm and abuse.
  • Provide guidelines to follow in the event of alleged or suspected abuse.
  • Ensure that the policy is accessible and can be realistically implemented.
  • Create a secure and supportive atmosphere in which those who have suffered abuse can disclose this to a trusted person in the expectation of a sensitive, caring, compassionate response.

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:

  • Their behaviour is appropriate at all times.
  • They observe the rules established for the safety and security of the babies and children.
  • They follow procedures following suspicion, disclosure or allegation of child abuse or neglect.
  • They recognise the position of trust in which they have been placed.
  • The service they deliver and their relationship with the babies and children is appropriate at all times.

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:

  • All applicants must undergo appropriate screening to determine whether they have any criminal conviction or allegation of offences relating to the Children’s Act involving children in South Africa or another country.
  • Interview questions will include questions on suitability to work with children.
  • Recruitment and induction of new employees will include briefing on child protection issues.
  • Medical suitability of applicants to work with children is a condition of employment.

Safe environment and Risk Management:

  • Buildings and any facilities including the grounds managed by BTC are to be maintained in good repair and in a tidy, hygienic condition to minimize the risk of harm to the children.
  • Access control:  All incoming vehicles and persons are monitored by closed circuit camera and no unknown persons are given access to the premises.
  • At least one member of staff on duty must have First Aid knowledge in order to deal with emergencies (accidents, sudden illness).  Plans and an escape route are in place to deal with emergencies such as fire.  The organisation abides by the Health and Safety Regulations.
  • Contact details of parents or guardians as well as medical aid information where applicable are to be kept on record for each child and used in case of an emergency.
  • Parents of children in Day Care must specify and designate specific persons who have permission to bring and fetch the children.
  • Indemnity and informed consent must be completed by all parents of children receiving treatment at BTC and relates to co-operation, liability, consent to treatment, Day Care and taking of photos and videos.  (This is in compliance with the rules of the Health Professions Council of South Africa.)
  • All therapeutic procedures are governed by the strict rules and guidelines imposed on medical and allied health professionals by the HPCSA.

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:

  • Recording and reporting of complaints:  Any incident involving possible or accidental injury to a child, should be reported in writing on an Incident Report Form and kept in the records and/or patient file.
  • Complaints by parents or caregivers should be reported to the relevant supervisor who will record the incident and take photos of the alleged injury.
  • A meeting with the BTC Head of Centre will be arranged and steps will be taken as per the “Complaint Procedure Flow Chart”.

Protection of confidentiality:

  • Any information offered in confidence by any employee at BTC or parent/caregiver will be received and kept in confidence and will only be shared with the necessary people.  This might include statutory agencies.
  • Any photographs or video material will be kept confidential and used only for purposes of therapy with the express permission from the parents.
  • Any information, photographs or other material for social marketing or fundraising purposes will be used only with the express, signed permission of parents.
  • All recorded information must be kept confidential and should be passed on purely on a need to know basis.
  • All correspondence and report forms should be kept by the Therapy Supervisor or the BTC Head of Centre in a secure place.

 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.

Informed Consent:

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.

Family Carers:

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:

  • The success of the treatment is dependent on the involvement of the family
  • A disabled child must be integrated into the social aspect of family life
  • The staff of the BTC monitors the emotional health of the child in order to pick up signs of neglect or abuse

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 Procedures:

Referral letters are used for the following reasons:

  • Should the therapy team or the nursing sister determine the therapeutic need
  • If a child’s condition warrants a second opinion
  • If there is suspicion of neglect or abuse

Internal Referral Procedure:

  1. The need is determined and discussed at a Team Meeting.
  2. The Case Manager of the child draws up the letter and follows-up on the case

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.

Patient Complaints

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

  • Impact on client needs is gauged via feedback from staff and parents
  • Impact on community is gauged via feedback from staff and community leaders
  • Team spirit and attitudes which impact performance are monitored

List of Procedure Forms

  1. Authorisation to the Baby Therapy Centre (Indemnity and Consent Form)
  2. Agreement with Parents
  3. BTC Regulations for Therapy
  4. Incident Report Form
  5. Complaint Procedure Flowchart

 BTC Regulations for Therapy

  1. If your child has an infectious illness, do not bring him / her to therapy.
  2. However, should an appointment not be cancelled at least 2 hours before its scheduled time, you will be charged for the therapy as planned.
  3. Appointments MUST be cancelled telephonically and NOT via e-mail.
  4. If you wish to claim from your medical aid, a reference from your doctor is compulsory.
  5. Payments
  6. Payment will be expected directly after your child’s first visit (evaluation).
  7. For therapy after the evaluation, a printed statement will be issued at the end of each month.
  8. Payment must be made directly to the Centre, within 30 days after receiving the account
  9. ONLY by prior arrangement can your account be sent directly to your medical aid.  (Written details of your benefits / limits must be given)
  10. The Centre’s tariffs are within the Scale of Benefits as set by the Representative Association of Medical Schemes.  However, as we are also supporting families with financial difficulties, any donation will be appreciated.
  11. For the treatment to be successful, it is absolutely essential that the parents participate in the therapy program of their child.
  12. If we visit your child in hospital or at home, travelling costs will be charged according to AA rates.
  13. Enquiries in connection with possible financial support for therapy by our Trust Fund can be made to the Head of the Centre.
  14. Any suggestions will be welcome.
  15. The therapy services are for all children from birth to 3 years of age.  One month before your child’s 3rd birthday, he / she will be evaluated for placement in another centre / school.

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:

  • Department of Social Development’s 24-hour call centre: toll-free 0800 428 428, or dial the free number *120*7867# to request a social worker
  • Child Welfare South Africa: 0861 424453 or 011 452 4110
  • South African Police Service’s Crime Stop: 08600 10 111

SMS Crime Line: 32211




Hand hygiene

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

Maxine BurtonEmma CobbPeter DonachieGaby JudahVal Curtis, and  Wolf-Peter Schmidt*

hand-hygiene-posterHandwashing 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?:

  • After exposure to bodily fluids
  • When hands are visibly soiled
  • After touching your environment (especially in public spaces)




Brightest Bubble of the Month

This Month Dudu Tshabalala Is Our

Brightest Bubble

dudu may bubble

 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.

 Congratulations Dudu and family!


Our Therapy Services

The Baby Therapy Centre consists of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech-language therapists who work within a transdisciplinary- or interdisciplinary treatment approach.

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Day Care

The day care facility provides a means for regular therapy for children of working parents.

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Therapists regularly visit our outreach site in Mamelodi West.

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Frequently Asked Questions

We aim to answer all the questions you might have about our services and what we offer.

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