The life story of CWSA begins in 1924, when child welfare societies in existence at that time constituted a national structure that coordinated their services, set standards, instituted policies, provided support and met the call of communities for services to children in parts of South Africa.
Today, Child Welfare South Africa has an infrastructure consisting of a national coordinating body, 263 member organisations and outreach projects in un-serviced and under-serviced communities, and is the largest non-profit, non-governmental and volunteer driven organization in the country providing child protection services.
On a national level, CWSA initiatives for children and their constitutional obligations to affiliates are delivered through five programmes aimed at:
1.Creating safe and caring environments for children and promoting community mobilisation for the effective protection of children.
2. Strengthening and developing capacity in member organizations providing services to children and families.
The child protection programme of Child Welfare at national level includes three sub-programmes.
CWSA initiatives in relation to these issues are varied and include:
1.The development of forums to create awareness of the specialized services needed for child victims of trafficking and commercial exploitation.
2. Ensuring legislation is in place to protect this group of children.
Workshops and training countrywide.
3. Linkages forged with international bodies working in this field.
4. Partnerships formed with other African countries and local organizations to develop Codes of Conduct and a good practice model for children affected by violence.
HIV and AIDS
This programme, named by communities as Asibavikele: Let’s Protect Them, is a CWSA nationally coordinated project that facilitates community care and support for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS. The programme trains volunteers to mobilize and involve communities in the identification and care of orphans and vulnerable children, the sensitising of communities to the rights of children and establishes foster care homes and safe homes.
Through the services of their provincial staff, the CWSA provides direct support to member organizations through regular contact and guidance in areas such as: Human resource practice, management and training, fundraising practice, proposal writing and financial sustainability, labor law training, codes of good practice, project management, conflict management, financial planning and management, strategic planning, the role of management boards, NPO training on taxation laws and key practice issues - HIV/AIDS, child abuse, the Children’s Act and more.
Additionally, provincial staff assists members in the raising of funds, creating public awareness and in the development of training programmes for volunteers to assist social workers in the rendering of services.
Advocacy, Lobbying and Policy Development
CWSA contributions included in chapters of the new Children’s Act and Amendment Act with respect to - child protection, foster care, adoption, inter-country adoption, child trafficking, street children, child protection procedures and mandatory reporting.
1. CWSA expertise provide to the development of government’s Orphan and other Vulnerable Children Policy Framework.
2. Guidelines developed for Early Childhood Development as well as parenting programmes for parents with young children.
3. Submissions made towards a national strategic plan for families.