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

Regulations

General Regulations Regarding Children, 2010

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

Part III : National Norms and Standards for Child Protection

 

For the purposes of section 106(2) of the Act, the following are national norms and standards for child protection:

 

(1) Prevention and early intervention programmes

 

Prevention and early intervention programmes must—

(a) strengthen and support family structures and build capacity;
(b) be aimed at the improvement of the well-being of families and children;
(c) if applicable, reunify and reintegrate family members;
(d) be aimed at the identification of high risk families and children;
(e) be family centred with family members seen as the main focus;
(f) focus on the strengths and capabilities of family members;
(g) if applicable, provide for the development of family plans in participation with family members;
(h) enable family members to take responsibility and accountability for their involvement in programmes;
(i) take the needs of children into account and the safety of the children in particular;
(j) if applicable, provide for assessment and permanency planning;
(k) if applicable, be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(l) be sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(m) be home-based and community based;
(n) make provision for the training, support and supervision of service providers; and
(o) if applicable, ensure that early intervention decisions are based on developmental assessment.

 

(2) Assessment of children who have been abused or deliberately neglected

 

Assessment of children who have been abused or deliberately neglected must be—

(a) undertaken by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to conduct assessments;
(b) undertaken within 48 hours of receipt of reports on abuse or deliberate neglect of children;
(c) done in accordance with the broad risk assessment framework contemplated in regulation 35;
(d) conducted by service providers who have appropriate knowledge of indicators of abuse or neglect and an understanding of the multi-disciplinary approach;
(e) followed by informing the child, his or her parents, guardians or care-givers of the outcome of the assessment and any decisions affecting them;
(f) conducted in a manner that involves the child, his or her family and any significant other persons and must be conducive to their participation;
(g) sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(h) conducted in such a manner that the persons involved can understand the assessment and the implications thereof;
(i) aimed at the provision of sufficient and helpful information to the child, his or her family and significant other persons;
(j) aimed at securing an appropriate care plan and individual development plan for the child;
(k) conducted in a safe and protected environment; and
(l) sensitive to the child's need for support and assistance during assessment especially for children with disabilities.

 

(3) Therapeutic programmes

 

Therapeutic programmes must—

(a) be conducted by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to render such programmes;
(b) take account of the assessment framework, the assessment report and any other relevant information;
(c) be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(d) be sensitive to the linguistic needs and religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(e) be aimed at meeting the needs of the recipient as indicated during assessment;
(f) ensure that the recipients feel emotionally and physically safe in the therapeutic situation and that information is kept confidential;
(g) ensure that the goals, time periods and expected outcomes of all therapeutic interventions are discussed and agreed upon and that recipients understand their rights and have sufficient information to make informed choices;
(h) assist recipients to use their strengths while they are assisted to deal with trauma;
(i) be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner and in a comfortable, friendly and safe environment that is conducive to the best interests of recipients;
(j) make provision for the involvement of the child, his or her family and significant other persons during therapy;
(k) ensure that recipients are provided with the name and contact number of the case manager or social worker;
(l) provide adequate opportunity for additional consultation and counselling;
(m) monitor the growth and progress of recipients;
(n) ensure that records are kept and data captured;
(o) be aimed at the minimisation of secondary abuse and trauma;
(p) ensure that recipients are free to express dissatisfaction with service providers and that concerns and complaints are addressed seriously; and
(q) be reviewed on a regular basis according to the needs of recipients.

 

(4) After care services

 

After care services must—

(a) be provided by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to render such services;
(b) be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(c) be sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(d) be rendered in a non-discriminatory manner;
(e) ensure that recipients are provided with the name and contact number of the case manager or social worker;
(f) ensure that after care programmes are sufficiently monitored and regularly reviewed;
(g) ensure that records are kept and data captured on programmes available to children and on the number and identifying particulars of children attending the programme;
(h) be aimed at the identification of high risk situations and behaviour and the appropriate minimisation of risk;
(i) focus on the strengths and capacity of recipients; and
(j) be home based and community based.

 

(5) Family reunification and integration services

 

Family reunification and integration services must—

(a) be provided by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to render such services;
(b) be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(c) be sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(d) be rendered in a non-discriminatory manner;
(e) strengthen and support family structures and render capacity building;
(f) improve the well-being and resilience of families and children;
(g) be aimed at the identification of high risk families and children;
(h) focus on the strengths of families;
(i) ensure that family plans are developed with the participation of all family members;
(j) enable families to take responsibility and accountability for their involvement in programmes;
(k) provide for the referral of recipients to other appropriate programmes;
(l) if applicable, provide for family development, family skills training, family group conferencing and mentorship;
(m) if applicable, address parenting skills, conflict management, role clarification, gender and partner abuse, unemployment, substance abuse and deviant behaviour;
(n) prevent and deal with out-of-home placements with the purpose of keeping families together except where this would not be in the best interests of the child;
(o) ensure the provision of family centred programmes; and
(p) facilitate the participation of family members and be aimed at the empowerment of families.

 

(6) Foster care services

 

Foster care services, supervision and arrangements around such supervision must—

(a) be based on a care plan and an individual development plan for the child concerned;
(b) where applicable, include participation of the child and his or her family during the placement process;
(c) take account of the need for maximum appropriate access to information to enable the child and his or her family to participate in decisions;
(d) ensure support and capacity building with regard to the child and his or her foster parents;
(e) allow foster parents to participate in the planning and drafting of a care plan and individual development plan and to be consulted and informed of plans;
(f) be conducted in a manner that makes the child, his or her family and the foster parents aware of what is expected from them, their rights and responsibilities;
(g) be sensitive to the religious, cultural, and linguistic background of the child;
(h) take account of the child's physical, emotional and social needs;
(i) be appropriate to the child's developmental needs and be based on respect for the child's individuality, strengths, dignity, cultural, religious and linguistic heritage;
(j) encourage, ensure and provide the opportunity for choice, decision-making and the building and strengthening of rapport and relationships;
(k) ensure that basic needs are appropriately met;
(l) ensure that the care plan and individual development plan are based on a proper developmental assessment of the child;
(m) allow the child to observe his or her religion, to meet with others of similar background, to dress in accordance with his or her religion and to observe dietary requirements without difficulty, ridicule or embarrassment;
(n) ensure the provision of support and strengthening services to foster parents and the monitoring of their roles to ensure outcomes around placement;
(o) be based on a clear written policy and procedures regarding foster care services; and
(p) ensure that care plans and individual development plans are reviewed regularly by the social worker managing the foster care with the participation of the child and foster parents, within their respective abilities.

 

(7) Integration into alternative care services

 

Integration into alternative care services must—

(a) be rendered by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to render integration programmes;
(b) be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(c) be sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(d) be aimed at meeting the needs of recipients as indicated during assessment;
(e) ensure that the recipients feel emotionally and physically safe in the therapeutic situation and that information is kept confidential;
(f) be conducted in a non-discriminatory manner;
(g) make provision for the involvement of the child, his or her family and significant other persons;
(h) ensure that recipients understand their rights and responsibilities and are provided with sufficient information to make informed choices;
(i) ensure that recipients are provided with the name and contact number of the case manager or social worker;
(j) ensure that a comfortable, child-friendly and safe environment is available for children;
(k) ensure that programmes are conducive to the best interests of recipients;
(l) provide adequate opportunity for additional consultation and counselling;
(m) monitor the growth and progress of recipients;
(n) be aimed at the minimisation of secondary abuse and trauma;
(o) ensure that recipients are free to express dissatisfaction with service providers and that concerns and complaints are addressed seriously;
(p) allow for the review of programmes according to the needs of recipients;
(q) be based on a care plan and an individual development plan for the child concerned;
(r) include participation of the child and his or her family during the placement process;
(s) take account of the need for maximum appropriate access to information to enable the child and his or her family to participate in decisions;
(t) be conducted in a manner that takes account of the child's physical, emotional and social needs;
(u) be appropriate to the child's developmental needs and be based on respect for the child's individuality, strengths, dignity, cultural, religious and linguistic heritage;
(v) encourage, ensure and provide the opportunity for choice, decision-making and the building and strengthening of rapport and relationships;
(w) ensure that basic needs are met appropriately;
(x) ensure that the care plan and individual development plan are based on a proper developmental assessment of the child; and
(y) ensure that care plans and individual development plans are reviewed regularly.

 

(8) Adoption services

 

Adoption services must—

(a) be rendered by relevant service providers;
(b) take the child's needs into account;
(c) provide for assessment of the child;
(d) include awareness campaigns to promote adoption as part of child protection services;
(e) be based on appropriately formulated and implemented policy and procedures;
(f) ensure that the child and his or her family, within their respective abilities, are actively involved in all stages of the adoption process;
(g) be based on an inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary approach;
(h) take account of and address the changing social, physical, cognitive and cultural needs of the child and his or her family throughout the intervention process before and after adoption;
(i) ensure that all avenues to maintain the child within his or her own family are explored before adoption is considered;
(j) ensure that the child's family has access to a variety of appropriate resources and support;
(k) be based on permanency planning for children qualifying for adoption;
(l) ensure that adoption is dealt with by expert adoption social workers functioning within a statutory accredited adoption system;
(m) ensure that children who are to be adopted are not discriminated against with regard to race, gender, language, religion, disability or any other status and that the biological parents of children who are to be adopted are not discriminated against;
(n) ensure that the child is involved in the decision-making process during adoption procedures;
(o) ensure that inter-country adoption is considered as an alternative means of permanent care for a child when a suitable adoptive or foster family cannot be found nationally;
(p) ensure that the standards of inter-country adoption conform with the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption;
(q) ensure that inter-country adoption does not result in financial gain for those involved;
(r) ensure that inter-country adoption is effected by the Central Authority;
(s) provide for the recruitment, assessment and preparation of adoptive parents;
(t) provide for the counselling of the child, his or her biological parents and the adoptive parents;
(u) provide for after-care services to the adoptive family;
(v) provide for the management of enquiries and interpretation of issues regarding descent and origin, accompanied by counselling of all parties;
(w) provide for the tracing by an adult adopted person of his or her biological parents;
(x) ensure that the particular needs of the child are matched with the special strengths of the adoptive family through appropriate assessment and preparation of the parties involved;
(y) provide for assistance to prospective adoptive parents to assess their capacity to adopt and helping them to understand what parenting of an adopted child entails;
(z) provide for assistance to adoptive parents to develop their personal and parenting skills; and
(aa) provide for services to biological parents focusing on crisis intervention and life skills.

 

(9) Permanency plans

 

Permanency plans must—

(a) be designed by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to develop such plans;
(b) clearly identify the reasons why the child is unable to remain with his or her own family, or is being placed under court-ordered supervision with that family, at the time when the plan is being drafted;
(c) clearly specify what it is that needs to be achieved in order to terminate court ordered supervision or restore the child to the care of his or her family, and what services will be offered for that purpose and by whom;
(d) give priority to enabling the child to remain in or be restored to his or her own family, while also providing for other permanent solutions such as adoption, foster care or independent living arrangements, should this not be achieved despite genuine efforts to provide the necessary services to achieve permanent placement within the child's own family;
(e) take account of the assessment framework, the assessment report and any other relevant information;
(f) be family centred and focused on the strengths and capacities of family members;
(g) be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(h) be sensitive to the linguistic needs, religious and cultural values of children and their families;
(i) make provision for the involvement of the child, his or her family and significant other persons;
(j) provide sufficient and helpful information to the child, his or her family and significant other persons;
(k) provide assistance to cope with changes in circumstances and environment and include a specific plan for preparing, supporting and monitoring such changes;
(l) be based on approved policy and procedures;
(m) encourage children to identify and express emotions appropriately and empower them to find effective and positive ways to express and manage emotions;
(n) encourage positive interaction with service providers;
(o) encourage children to build and maintain appropriate relations with friends, service providers, family members and significant other persons;
(p) include support to children when relations break down to cope with the impact of having contact or not having contact with family members and significant other persons;
(q) provide for adequate health care and education opportunities;
(r) provide such capacity and support as may be required to enable constructive and effective behaviour;
(s) include measures for preparing children for reintegration into their families and communities;
(t) include measures allowing children to participate in and understand changes to the permanency plan, which should only happen if it is in the best interest of the child concerned;
(u) be reviewed regularly; and
(v) be clear on goals and expectations.

 

(10) Education and information programmes

 

Education and information programmes must—

(a) be rendered by service providers who have the appropriate training, support and supervision to maximise their abilities and capacity to render such programmes;
(b) be based on a multi-disciplinary and inter-sectoral approach;
(c) be rendered in an appropriate and intelligible language;
(d) include fact sheets, pamphlets, guidelines, policies and procedures;
(e) encompass awareness-raising, training and provide access to programmes;
(f) promote the development of a human and children's rights culture;
(g) be aimed at the early identification of high risk families and children;
(h) promote gender sensitivity;
(i) promote responsible values, attitudes and behaviour; and
(j) be based on accepted policies, legislation and programmes.

 

(11) Child-headed households

 

(a) General
(i) Siblings in a child-headed household should, as far as is reasonably possible and practicable, remain together.
(ii) The right to family life of any child-headed household should be promoted in accordance with the objectives of the Act.
(iii) The independent functioning of a child-headed household must be promoted as far as is reasonably possible.
(iv) Support to child-headed households must be aimed at enhancing the capacity of the children living in the child-headed household to function as a family.

 

(b) Safe and nurturing environment for children
(i) Children must experience safety, support, security and feel cared for while living in a child-headed household, and have their basic needs met.
(ii) Adequate nutrition, water and means for preparing food must be available to meet the basic needs of the children in a child-headed household.
(iii) Adequate care of the health of children living in child-headed households must be undertaken.
(iv) Children living in child-headed households must be able to benefit from the right to rest, leisure and play.
(v) A child-headed household must respect and nurture the culture, spirit, dignity, individuality, language and development of each child living in that household and children must be encouraged to develop positive social values.
(vi) The resources available to the household must be used equitably to promote the well-being of all children living in a child-headed household.
(vii) Children living in child-headed households must have access to psychosocial support.

 

(c) Birth registration, social assistance, social and community services, access to education and the development of skills

 

Children living in a child-headed household—

(i) must benefit from official registration of their births in terms of the Births and Deaths Registration Act,1992 (Act No. 51 of 1992);
(ii) must benefit from social assistance, as provided for in the Social Assistance Act, 2004 (Act No.13 of 2004), where the relevant criteria for access to such social assistance are met;
(iii) may benefit from emergency assistance or aid, as may from time to time be available, including food, goods or transport assistance;
(iv) who are of school going age, must attend school regularly, and receive any necessary assistance to enable them to access education;
(v) must have access to social services and community services generally and to resources which promote their capacities and increase their ability to participate in community life; and
(vi) must be enabled to develop the skills necessary to participate in social and economic life.

 

(d) Property

 

Children living in a child-headed household must be—

(i) enabled to assume responsibility for any property or possessions belonging to that household; and
(ii) assisted to maintain and preserve any property belonging to the household, where such children wish to preserve such property, but may freely dispose of property in the best interests of the household.

 

(e) Exposure to harm

 

Children living in a child-headed household—

(i) should not be exposed to violence, abuse, maltreatment or degradation, sexual abuse or harmful or hazardous forms of child labour; and
(ii) must as far as is reasonably possible be protected from community risk factors;

 

(f) Disability, chronic illness and vulnerability

 

Child-headed households in which a child with a disability or a chronic illness resides—

(i) must be assisted to obtain any special grants, assistance devices, educational or
(ii) vocational programme or other form of support necessary to ensure the optimal development of such child.

 

(g) Participation and consultation

 

Children living in a child-headed household must—

(i) participate in all matters affecting the functioning of the household; and
(ii) be consulted in any investigation by a designated social worker contemplated in section 150(2) and (3) of the Act.

 

(h) Monitoring and supervision

 

Children living in a child-headed household—

(i) must be encouraged to report any change in living arrangements to a designated social worker, an adult appointed in terms of section 137(2) of the Act or any other suitable adult; and
(ii) in respect of whom an adult has been appointed in accordance with section 137(2) of the Act, or in respect of whom an investigation has been concluded in terms of section 150 of the Act, where no finding has been made that the child or children are in need of care and protection, are entitled to be visited on a regular basis, and not less than once every two weeks, for the purposes of monitoring and supervision.

 

(i) Child heading the household

 

The child heading the household must give effect to the norms and standards contained in this Annexure to the maximum extent reasonably possible, bearing in mind the child's age, maturity and stage of development, to ensure that other children living in the child headed-household are assured of their rights to survival and development and to protection from harm.