Children's Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005)

Annexure B : National Norms and Standards (Sections 79;94;106;147;194 and 216 of the Act)

Part V : National Norms and Standards for Child and Youth Care Centres

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For the purposes of section 194(2) of the Act, the following are national norms and standards for child and youth care centres:


1)Residential care programmes
a)Children must be received in a manner and a climate which is caring and safe, and which minimises trauma and maximises developmental opportunity during engagement or admission processes.
b)Children must receive services in a safe environment in which they are protected from physical, social and emotional harm.
c)Children must be accommodated in a safe, healthy, well-maintained environment, which provides appropriate access to the community and which meet their needs in terms of privacy, safety and wellbeing.
d)All reasonable measures must be taken to ensure that children and staff are safe from the risk of fire, accidents and other hazards.


2)Therapeutic programmes
a)The privacy and confidentiality of children must be respected and protected.
b)A child must have access to legal or other assistance to prepare for any court process that he or she is involved with.
c)Children must receive emotional and social care which enables quality interaction with adults and peers, and which promotes positive, sustained relationships at school and with families, significant others and friends.
d)Every child and youth care centre must offer a residential care programme that provides a therapeutic environment for the care and development of children.
e)Every child must receive an effective and appropriate developmental assessment and referral service which should lead to appropriate placement.
f)Every child must be provided with the capacity and support which enables constructive and offensive social behaviour.
g)Therapeutic programmes must be conducted by service providers with appropriate training, support, supervision and mentoring.
h)Therapeutic programmes must be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner.
i)Therapeutic programmes must minimise secondary abuse and trauma.
j)Therapeutic programmes must ensure that recipients are free to express dissatisfaction with service providers and that concerns and complaints are addressed seriously.
k)Therapeutic programmes must be reviewed on a regular basis according to the needs of the recipients;
l)Therapeutic programmes must be sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural norms and values of children and their families.


3) Developmental programmes
a)A child's development plan and programme must be based on an appropriate and competent assessment of his or her developmental needs and strengths.
b)Every child in a child and youth care centre must have a plan and programme of care and development.
c)Every child in a child and youth care centre must participate in formulating their care and development plans and must be informed of those plans.


4)Permanency plans for children
a)Every child in a child and youth care centre must have a permanency plan based on a developmental assessment of the child.
b)The child must participate in the development of the permanency plan and be informed about the plan and any changes to it.


5)Individual development plans
a)Children must receive services in accordance with their individual development plan which facilitates their well-being within a temporary programme and which enables them, where necessary, to make a successful transition to new circumstances.
b)Every child in a child youth care centre has the right to a permanency plan, which include reunification, security and life-long relationships.
c)Every child has the right to participate in formulating his or her individual development plan and to be informed about their plan, and to be involved in decisions to make changes to their plan.
d)The individual development plan must be based on an appropriate and competent assessment of their developmental needs and strengths and, where reasonably possible, be in the context of their family and community environments.
e)The family of the child, or other persons with bonds to the child, must be involved in the child's individual development plan unless it is shown that this would not be in the best interests of the child.
f)There must be a review of each child's placement and individual development plan at least once every six months while the child remains in the centre.


6)Temporary safe care
a)Every child and youth care centre must provide temporary safe care to children if appropriate and if the centre allows for it.
b)Every child should be placed in temporary safe care for the shortest period possible and for the minimum number of days per week appropriate to their needs.
c)After reception of a child, a developmental assessment must take place to evaluate a more permanent placement of the child.
d)Children in conflict with the law must be offered the option of diversion in a manner which protects their rights and involves them and their families in decision making.
e)Children must be given information about their rights and responsibilities within the programme in a manner and form which takes into account their age.


7)Protection from abuse and neglect
a)Children in child and youth care centres should be received in a caring and safe climate which minimises trauma and maximises developmental opportunity.
b)The environment should protect children from physical, social and emotional harm, and threats of harm from themselves and others.
c)Children must be given information about their rights and responsibilities within the programme.
d)Children must be informed about policy and procedure regarding reportable incidents or actions and must be provided with information and knowledge which ensure that they can use these procedures effectively when needed.


8)Assessment of children
a)Assessment of a child in a child and youth care centre must be undertaken by a multi-disciplinary team.
b)The initial assessment must take place within 48 hours of the child's admission to the centre, and there must be regular reviews of the process.
c)Assessment must be strengths-based, holistic and appropriate to the child's culture, language and developmental stage.
d)Assessment must be done with the participation of the child and, as far as it is reasonably possible, with the child's family.
e)The assessment process must aim to increase insight and competency and must include shared decision-making.
f)Assessment processes and documentation must be of such a nature that they can be used at the point of reception, and do not need to be repeated.


9)Family reunification and reintegration

Every child should have a care plan which aims to provide life-long relationships with their family or appropriate alternative and re-integration in the family and community within the shortest possible time-frame.



Children should receive after care programmes focussing on support in terms of training and education, employment, independent living, family and community integration and psychosocial support.


11)Access to and provision of adequate health care

All children in child and youth care centres must have access to health care services, and where the centre is registered to provide-

i)care for children with disabilities and chronic illnesses in terms of section 191(3)(a) of the Act; or
ii)treatment for children addicted to dependence producing substances in terms of section 191(3)(c) of the Act, such care or treatment.
iii)where there are a large number of babies in a centre, such care or treatment.


12)Access to schooling, education and early childhood development
a)All children in child and youth care centres must have access to schooling, education, other appropriate training, skills programmes or early childhood development programmes where appropriate.
b)The education must as far as possible, be accessed at a school or other training facility in the community.
c)Where children cannot access education or other appropriate training in the community, such education or training must be provided at the child and youth care centre.


13)Security measures for child and youth care centres
a)Children must experience safety and feel cared for.
b)Premises must be safe.
c)There must be adult supervision at all times.
d)All reasonable precautions must be taken to protect children and staff from the risk of fire, accidents or other hazards.
e)A first aid kit must be available and maintained.
f)Where obvious signs of injury or trauma are detected, a child must be referred to a hospital or clinic for further assessment and treatment, and his or her parents or care-giver be informed thereof as soon as possible, if their whereabouts are known.
g)Where it is suspected that a child may have been abused and in need of child protection services, such child must be referred to a designated child protection organisation.


14)Measures for the separation of children in secure care programmes from children in other programmes.
a)Children in secure care programmes must as far as reasonably possible be kept separately from children in other programmes. Such children must be separated at night, and where they are not separated during the day this must be managed as part of a residential care programme that provides appropriate containment.
b)Children in secure care programmes who are awaiting trial and children in secure care programmes who have been sentenced may be housed in the same facility, provided that the child and youth care centre is registered to provide appropriate programmes for such children, and that the residential care programmes provide for appropriate containment.