Secure Care Facilities: Progress Report

Social Development

14 February 2000
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WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
15 February 2000
SECURE CARE FACILITIES: PROGRESS REPORT

Documents handed out
Broad overview of the transformation of the child and youth care system with specific reference to secure care facilities in South Africa

SUMMARY
The Department emphasised that implementing secure care facilities is a provincial responsibility. As such, the provinces have a wide discretion in adopting policies regarding secure care facilities which will suit their particular needs. The Department envisions that the secure care programmes will be completed by 15 March 2000.

MINUTES
Introductory comments by the Chairperson
The secure care facility (SCF) issue has been going on for four years. To put an end to detaining children in prisons, secure care facilities were to be established in all nine provinces. These were all supposed to be functional by now but the only operational SCF is in the Free State. The purpose of the briefing was for the Department to update the committee on the SCF situation.

Synopsis of the Department's presentation
The definition of secure care indicates that the programme has a ''secure element'' and a ''treatment element''. The programme was evaluated in several provinces and the Department found that there was a difficulty in the common understanding of the SCF. Some provinces seemed to have the perception that SCF was a national and not a provincial responsibility. The Department stated unequivocally that SCF could not be considered a national responsibility as money for the programme had been delegated to all the provinces and the implementation of the programme was in their hands. Mr Theron of the Department said that ''it must be managed by the provinces''. The Department envisioned that secure care would be completed by 15 March.

Discussion
From the questions and comments raised by the members, the following points emerged:
- Mr Theron said that presently there are children who were involved in serious crimes who had been referred to the SCF, while children who were involved in petty crimes were waiting in prison. This kind of situation was obviously undesirable and had to be remedied. He conceded that there were still many children awaiting trial in police cells as there was no legislation which prevented magistrates from sending them there.

- Places of safety could not simply be converted into secure care facilities at the Department's discretion. When this had been done in Durban, the Durban local authority took them to court on the ground of non-consultation. Ideally, new buildings had to be built to accommodate the SCF programme. Further, reform schools do not function as SCFs as they are run by a different department, the Department of Education, while SCFs are run by the Department of Welfare.

- The Department received an amount of approximately 15 million rand for the purpose of establishing SFCs. This money was then distributed to the provinces, as conditional grants, for the creation of the centres. A ''conditional grant'' means that the money given to that province has to be used for that purpose and not for anything else.

- The amendments to the Probation Services Act was not passed last year and it would be re-introduced this year (most probably in this session). The Department believes that the amendments will bring beneficial changes to Youth Justice.

- One of the proposed amendments was that the probation officer would have to assess each arrested child. The idea being advocated is that of a ''Reception Assessment and Referral Centre''. Children will be sent to this centre to be assessed by a probation officer. In light of this assessment, the child will then be referred to an appropriate body.

- At present, the Department said that there was great teamwork between the Departments of Justice, Welfare, Correctional Services and the Police regarding the One Stop Youth Justice Centre. The process is that:
1) The police inform parents (although this is something that they must do, in practice, it is not always possible. Thus, an amendment being proposed is the introduction of ''family finders''. These ''family finders'' will be responsible for tracking down the family of the child)
2) The probation officer must make a recommendation regarding the child's detention.

Where infants are born in prison, provision is made for a family member to act as the foster parent to the child. Such family member could then become the primary caregiver of that child and may even qualify for a child support grant.

- The Department of Education has been involved with the children being kept in these facilities. They are making sure that this department remains involved.

- Community involvement in these projects exists as provinces are required to involve communities in planning and development.

- An institution in the Eastern Cape was closed down because that province is looking at the equitable distribution of their resources. The Eastern Cape wants to spread out their facilities into areas where there are no facilities. Provinces, generally, cannot afford to cluster all their resources in one place. Thus, this particular province decided (the Department was not involved in the decision) to close down one place with a view to opening another one, elsewhere. Another reason for the closure of one place of safety in the Eastern Cape, was the fact that the places of safety in PE were managed by different departments in the past (example, the House of Representatives managed the so-called ''coloured'' institution). The effect of this is that most blacks are still in one area, while coloureds are in another, and, whites in another. Thus, there was still a need to integrate the facilities.

- The Department said that, in certain cases, it may be ideal to have an institution operating as a multi-purpose centre. This would mean that one building could be used for different purposes such as a place of safety and a children's care home.

- The Committee Chairperson criticised the Department for making this suggestion and said that it gave him the impression that they were making ''ad hoc arrangements''. He said that he had taken a trip overseas to examine other approaches to this situation and the buildings there were designed for a specific purpose. The very serious offenders were kept on one side, while less serious offenders were kept on the other side. In each case, the staff were specifically trained to deal with the particular type of individual that they were supervising. The point that the Chairperson made was that there should be a basic strategy and not an approach that was piecemeal.

- Mr Theron said that the Department did have a basic policy regarding the structure of SCFs and that the requirements as envisaged by the Department are strict. For example, a maximum of 40 children were to go to each SFC to ensure that they received individual attention. This was the original ideal of the Department and it still existed. However, the provinces were responsible for the implementation of SFCs. In respect of this implementation, the provinces enjoyed a wide discretion. A province could decide, for example, to put 180 children in one building. Thus, while the original plan was still the same, provinces could make changes based on their own needs. This was the difficulty experienced in implementing the policy.

- Some provinces such as the Western Cape refused to accept children from other provinces into their reform schools. The justification for this was that there was a ''funding problem'' and that children could not be more than a certain distance from their parents.

- Speaking frankly, Mr Theron said that his department did not really have the capacity to ensure that provinces complied with their duties. At the moment he said that they were looking at two processes:
1) Developing legislation around children and youth; and
2) Sharing existing skills inter-provincially to develop resources so that an expert in a particular field in one province can be used as a mentor to those in the same field in other provinces.

- The Chairperson inquired whether the committee would be able to intervene (in light of the fact that implementation is a provincial and not a national responsibility) if the provinces were implementing the policies either too slowly or inadequately. He asked the department whether the provinces could be called upon to give an update to this committee as to how the provinces were complying with their responsibilities. The Department said that this would definitely be possible.

Appendix 1:
A BROAD OVERVIEW OF THE TRANFORMATION OF THE CHILD AND YOUTH CARE SYSTEM WITHSPECIFIC REFERENCE TO SECURE CARE IN SOUTH AFRICA

1. BACKGROUND ON THE INTER-MINISTERIAL COMMITTEE AND THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION ON SECURE CARE

The unco-ordinated release and transfer of more than 2000 children awaiting trial on 8 May 1995 exacerbated the long-standing crisis in the Child & Youth Care System. In attempting to solve these problems it became clear that piecemeal solutions were neither possible nor appropriate and that a new vision and system for effectively serving young people and families, was required.

During May 1995, the South African Cabinet with the full sanction of President N Mandela resolved that an interim Inter-ministerial Committee on Young People at Risk, be established to manage the process of crisis intervention and transformation of the Child and Youth Care system.

Secure Care, a component of Residential Care has been identified as a necessary service for a minority of young people in trouble with the law who have committed serious crimes. Secure Care, as envisaged by the IMC and urgently needed within each province, does not exist in South Africa for a number of reasons, among them:

Places of safety and/or detention for young people in South Africa are understaffed

Places of safety and/or detention are for the most part staffed by personnel (at all levels) who have not received the appropriate and necessary training. While certain training can and is being offered at present to help address the crisis and put minimum skills in place, to be truly effective, a minimum of 2 years of intensive training is required at a post matric level with a specialisation in working with potentially dangerous youth.

Some of the Reform Schools and Schools of Industry with facilities and vacancies to offer secure care to awaiting trial youth appear to be under-utilised and yet inaccessible for this purpose. The fragmentation of the system between Ministries and Departments exacerbates the resolution of this problem.

The specialised appointment and training of superintendents and principals to manage and facilitate a therapeutic but secure facility for very troubled youth is crucial but does not presently occur.

Places of safety and /or detention are in many instances staffed by personnel (at all levels) who are inappropriately appointed to positions, who lack the motivation to work in these facilities, and who cannot be trained to undertake the sophisticated and intense works associated with effective child and youth care with very troubled young people.

Places of safety and/or detention have in most instances been inappropriately designed and built for child-centred Secure Care and lack the resources needed to provide an environment conducive to effective C&YC practice or to the securing of young people appropriately.

The residential component of the child and youth care system is "blocked" at almost every level by "bottle-necks" created by all of the above, plus:

- very poor financial and human resources in the state and especially the private sector, which leads to burn out, high staff turnover, immobilisation, poor service delivery and hopelessness

- fragmentation between sectors and departments

- ineffective and sometimes inappropriate legislation

- a lack of effective early intervention or reconstruction work with families

- ineffective, unaccountable practices in departments and residential facilities which remain poorly monitored.

2. PROGRESS MADE ON THE INTEGRATION OF THE IMC ACTIVITIES INTO THE LINE FUNCTIONS OF THE NATIONAL AND PROVINCIAL DEPARTMENTS OF WELFARE

Process entailed:

· Orientation to all IMC/TCYCS activities (visits, discussions, conferences).

· Developing a strategy to integrate activities and develop a team spirit between National and Provincial management and co-ordinators, other key departments.

· Obtaining a status report with view of
- Hand over of management functions
- role clarification
- understanding of inter-sectoral process
- budget implications
- National and Provincial budgets
- Donor funding

· Obtaining policy directions to take process forward
- New Minister new Director-General.

· Meetings with Donors and other international role-players

Progress made

· Clarity on policy to take management of IMC/TCYS process forward.

· TCYS process is integrated in line functions of CY&F strategy.

· Transformation lessons learned form bases of new financing policy ensuring continuation.

· Secure Care programmes in four Provinces evaluated.

· First outsoursed Secure Care Centre opened in province.

· DQA piloted in CYCS, with good progress made and reports of it being successful.

· Pilot projects - four learning sites established in three provinces and other smaller projects to ensure integration are on track.

· One Stop Youth Justice project hailed a success by National and International experts/visitors.

· Integrated Justice System makes replication of one stop youth justice in four centres a reality.

3. EVALUATION OF SECURE CARE IN SOUTH AFRICA

3.1 DEFINITION

Secure Care may be defined as:

A residential facility and/or programme of intervention which ensures the appropriate physical, behavioural and emotional containment of young people while providing an environment, milieu and programme conducive to their care, safety and healthy development.

These facilities are needed as a matter of extreme urgency in order to:

(a) Guarantee the rights and safety of all young people in the system and abide by the UN Convention and Beijing Rules.

(b) Guarantee the safety of personnel

(b) Guarantee the safety of the public

(d) Provide an effective service to young people & families and prevent recidivism

(e) Prevent the present substantial loss in human resources and finances.

 3.2 PRINCIPLES OF SECURE CARE PRACTICE

The Rights of the young person in secure care shall be protected.

The placement of the young person in secure care should be on the basis of that being the most appropriate in terms of "the least restrictive and most empowering". Only youth between the ages of 13 and 18 who have committed serious offences and who have been appropriately assessed to be a threat to society and/or themselves and/or other young people should be detained in Secure Care.

An appropriately trained and competent multi-disciplinary team should deliver services to the young person and family within the community and within the secure facility.

Secure care requires child and youth care staff who are highly competent in secure care services and a manager who is both competent in child and youth (secure) care and in management.

Staff should be employed and/or retained in positions for no other reason than their being the most competent and suitable for the position.

Containment of youth both physically, behaviourally and emotionally should be effective, but respectful of the person's well being and dignity. Interventions and physical structures should be of such a nature that young people or staff cannot be physically, socially or emotionally hurt.

Behaviour management should be based on the principles of care and discipline, rather than punishment and control. The goal of behaviour management is to develop responsible behaviour and is not to punish.

Secure care requires a high staff: child ratio of at least 1 competent adult to every 5 young people. Two child and youth care personnel should be on duty with each group of (10) young people at all times.

Senior staff should be within calling range for emergencies.

A manager and/or a senior member of staff trained in C&YC should be on duty on a 24hr basis to lend support to staff and deal with crises.

Additional staff should be deployed during the time when youth are not in a structured programme e.g, over weekends and school holidays.

Regardless of the length of stay, each young person should have a developmentally appropriate plan and programme of care and treatment and should participate in this plan and make changes to it.

Each young person should be respected with regard to cultural and religious differences.

Each young person should have contact with family and friends unless the court or a team of C&YC experts has deemed such contact inappropriate.

Each young person should have personal privacy, adequate free time and their own possessions.

Each young person should be protected from all forms of exploitation and abuse. They should be given the developmental opportunities and experiences, which enable them to learn respect and care for others.

Each young person should be given the opportunity to participate in sport, cultural and recreational activities. No young person should be forced to participate in these activities.

Secure care facilities should have clear grievance procedures for staff and complaints procedures for youth. Each young person should be informed of how to use such procedures.

The facility should provide a programme and materials, which afford the maximum opportunity for growth and development, while also meeting the need to prevent abscondment, harm to any person, or damage to property.

The environment, milieu, and resources at Secure Care facilities should be of such a nature that staff is empowered to perform their tasks effectively, and young people are provided with every opportunity to develop maturity and responsibility in a context of caring relationships.

All staff working in the Secure Care programme with youth, including senior personnel who manage the centre, should be held accountable to the C&YC ethical code of conduct.

 

3.3 PRESENT SITUATION

Secure Care Facilities 

PROVINCE

STATUS OF FACILITY

NUMBER OF CHILDREN

STAFFING POSITION

TRAINING

COMMENTS

MPUMALANGA

Building not complete

It will cater for 35 children

Manager and some staff appointed

All staff trained

Problems with contractor led to retardation of building programme

KWAZULU-NATAL

Old building renovated. Facility still functions as a place of detention

80 children

Old staff members in place. There is a need to do a skills audit and to do a resolution of staff

All present staff trained

Many of the present staff members are not suitable for secure care

EASTERN CAPE

Facility has recently been DQA. Building completed but functions as a Place of Safety

35 children

Old staff members in place. There is a need to do a skills audit and to do a resolution of staff

All staff trained

DQA will be undertaken. The Province is considering a one stop youth justice centre with a residential facility.

GAUTENG

Gauteng is using two facilities for secure care. Both facilities don't meet the requirements

Walter Sizulu caters for 70 children.

Dyambo caters for 350 children

A DQA will be done in Gauteng to fully assess position

Staff at Walter Sizulu has been trained

Concern has been expressed at the large number of children in one Place of Safety

NORTHERN PROVINCE

Facility functions as a place of safety

30 children

New staff - but for a place of safety

Staff will be trained

Discussions will take place with Province to assist getting Secure Care in place.

NORTHERN CAPE

Facility opened as a secure centre but functions as a place of detention

30 children

DQA will be done

Staff members have been trained

Province is planning the opening of a 2nd secure care centre in Upington

FREE STATE

Fully functional as a Secure Care Centre

35 children

Manager and new staff appointed

All staff have been trained

Facility has been identified as a best practice model

NORTH WEST

Building completed and officially opened

35 children

Manager and staff appointed

Staff has been trained

-

WESTERN CAPE

Bonnytown function as a Place of Detention. New Secure Care centre building in Faure has been completed

60 children

Facility will be outsourced

One of the requirements for the prospective tenderer is to have all staff trained

DQA needs to be done at Bonnytown

 

3.3.2 Capacity building/training

Between August 1996 and December 1999 297 staff at different secure care facilities have been trained in the five modules of Basic Qualification Secure Care. Provision has been made in the TCYCS budget for the continuation of training.

4. EXPENDITURE REPORT

EXPENDITURE REPORT FOR SECURE CARE- 11FEB 2000

PROVINCE

ALLOCATED

TOTAL AMOUNT

FUNDS SPENT

AVAILABLE

AMOUNT

SPENT
1998/1999

11-Feb-00

FUNDS

WESTERN-CAPE

4000000

4000000

0

EASTERN-CAPE

3500000

3500000

0

NORTHERN-CAPE

3800000

2505433.39

1973217

0

************

GAUTENG

2800000

2800000

0

FREE STATE

5921352

5921351.58

0

KWAZULU-NATAL

4000000

4000000

0

MPUMALANGA

4100000

3376679.98

361565

300755

NORTHERN PROV.

922277

922277.37

0

NORTH WEST PROV.

3956371

2890907.96

33503

1031959

33000000

25916650.28

6368285

1332714

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. WAY FORWARD

· Evaluation of present TCYCS draft policy and procedure with the view of finalisation of these documents

· Evaluation of pilot projects to ensure implementation of best practice models inline with new Welfare financing policy

· Ensure that TCYCS activities is fully integrated into MTEF cycle of provinces

· Finalise evaluation of Secure Care in Provinces to ensure the integration of this service into provincial departments by 15 March 2000

· Supporting Provinces through capacity building programmes for next three financial years to ensure that all secure care centres meet requirements as to be developed in terms of regulations to Child Care Act.

· Assess impact of Secure Care in relation to set objectives.

· Investigate the need of more secure care centres in some provinces

 6. RECOMMENDATIONS

It is recommended that the Portfolio Committee take note of the progress made in respect of Secure Care in all provinces.

AS THERON
CHIEF DIRECTOR: DEVELOPMENTAL SOCIAL
WELFARE SERVICES

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