HIVSA STRENGTHENS SOCIAL SERVICE WORKFORCE and CHILD PROTECTION

HIVSA works to build capacity at 50 Community Based Organisations working with Orphaned and Vulnerable Children and Youth in the areas of Soweto, Sedibeng and Orange Farm.

The five year programme funded by USAID will focus on the following priority areas with the ultimate aim of improving the lives of orphans, vulnerable children and their families:
1)Psychosocial Care and Support;
2)Child Protection;
3) Health;
4)Household Economic Strengthening and
5)Adolescents.

There is an urgent need for Child Protection responses at a community level to be strengthened. While most community organisations have approximately three Social Auxiliary Workers (SAWs) in their employ, the ratio of SAWs to children is often unbalanced with the SAW unable to render effective services to all children serviced by the organisations they work for.

Services to these children in terms of Children’s Act 38 of 2005 are mainly carried out by social workers with the support of SAWs. However, with the scarcity of social workers and the migration of social workers to the private sector, the Department of Social Development has acknowledged the need for SAWs. Social Auxiliary workers were seen as strategic social service professionals that could deliver a wide range of preventive, referral and early intervention programmes.

Studies have further revealed that SAWs were having beneficial effects on both Community Based Organisations and the communities they serve as services are decentralised and more accessible to communities. There is further acknowledgement that besides empowering and creating a career path and job opportunities for individuals who themselves come from profoundly under-privileged backgrounds, the concept of Social Auxiliary Work greatly helps the social service sector by providing improved support for the over-worked social workers.

It was with this background and with the aim of building the child protection capacity of the selected CBOs that HIVSA , in partnership with Joburg Child Welfare, trained the first group of 20 SAWs in 2013- 2014 based at the community based organisations. A graduation ceremony was held on the 18th of October 2014 at the Recreation Hall at the Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto. The learners, their guests, the CBO project managers, the Department of Social Development, HIVSA and Joburg Child Welfare were all represented at the graduation ceremony.

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