Transformation of the child & youth care system (Project-Go): briefing

Social Development

15 March 1998
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WELFARE AND POPULATION DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 MARCH, 1998
TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHILD & YOUTH CARE SYSTEM (PROJECT-GO): BRIEFING

Document handed out:
Transformation Of The Child And Youth Care System: Project-Go - (see appendix)

Dr. Mokaba , Acting Director General, indicated that the purpose of the meeting was to inform and update members on the transformation of the Child and Youth Care (CYC) system and progress of Project-Go. The intent of the project is to put the new CYC system in place by 9 May, 1998. It is hoped that by this deadline, all children currently imprisoned will be released and appropriately placed elsewhere. Children presently in children’s homes, reform schools, schools of industry, etc., will also be transferred if reviews show that such transfer is warranted. Concerns were raised that such a mass release will lead to the same sort of chaos that occurred three years ago. Dr. Mokaba and the Project Manager, Lesley du Toit, gave assurances that it would not.

After presentation of the project, Dr. Mokaba and Ms. du Toit fielded questions from the committee members:
Ms. Coetzee-Kasper (ANC) asked why in OFS the many suitable buildings belonging to either the national or the provincial governments were not being made available for use by the CYC. The reply was that the department must be informed of the location of such buildings so that they can institute inquiries and negotiate with the Housing Department.

Ms. Chalmers (ANC) stated that during her recent visits to secure-care establishments, institutions, and prisons in the Eastern Cape, the officials did not appear to be aware of the proposed review of every child. Ms. Chalmers then asked whether all the affected children were regularly given health checks. Ms. du Toit admitted that although an extraordinary amount of work had been done, much more is necessary before the 9 May deadline. She further answered that one of the great weaknesses of the system is in the health checks. She said that in some areas the health checks were carried out by the Health Department but that this was far from satisfactory.

Ms. Gandhi (ANC) asked what was to happen with the 317 children in Western Cape prisons, as secure-care facilities are inadequate and new premises will not be available until 1999. Secondly, she asked whether staff are being trained to take care of these children. Third, whether provisions were being made to gradually release children. Ms. du Toit admitted that the Western Cape had the largest number of children imprisoned and agreed that secure-care facilities will not be fully available until 1999. Solutions to this problem are being sought and examined. She further responded that staff are being trained but problems have arisen with unions, as well as with staff attitudes. There is no plan to stagger removals, but all provincial departments are making plans to manage the 9 May deadline and prevent a recurrence of the experience 3 years ago.

Ms. Malan (NP) reported that she had encountered anger in the Brits community because they had not been consulted before facilities were built. Ms. du Toit answered that officials had been instructed to fully consult the communities but added that there had been some problems and in some instances such as in Pinetown in Kwazulu/Natal, it appeared that there were racial prejudices.

Ms Tambo (ANC) stated that she knew there was monitoring in urban prisons to ensure that children were not kept with adults, but asked whether the same was being done in the rural areas. Ms. du Toit replied that although illegal, it is still probably happening in both the urban and rural areas. She gave several examples of the violent conditions many children face in prison.

Ms. Turok (ANC) inquired into an apparent loophole in Section 29 which will still permit children to be put in prison. The reply was that the Minister of Correctional Services is very concerned about this as it is so and feels that the magistrates should be made an example of. At present the Legal Resources Centre in Pretoria is acting in such a case and the Justice/Correctional Services are to rectify the problem before 9 May.

Dr. Meshoe (ACDP) asked whether attempts were being made to reconcile and place children back with their families. The response was that such attempts were very much in line with Project-Go and that decisions would be made at the time of review.

Ms. Chalmers (ANC) asked whether female children were given special treatment. It was explained that although a very small percentage are female (about 4%), some provisions have been made for special care.

Mr. Saloojee ended the meeting by saying that he felt the subject needed wider discussion before 9 May and that he plans to invite senior departmental officials from the concerned ministries to attend a special meeting. He also paid a special tribute to Dr. Mokaba for his attendance at recent important committee meetings.

Appendix

Project-Go: Child & Youth Care System Transformation 16/03/98

TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHILD AND YOUTH CARE SYSTEM: PROJECT-GO

AIMS:

1. To facilitate the unblocking, rationalisation and appropriate development of the residential child care component of the CYC system

2. To increase and improve the effectiveness of early intervention assessment, referral and diversion services, with particular reference to children in trouble with the law in the four critical provinces.

3. To contribute as widely as possible to the transformation of the child and youth care system.

4. To minimize the number of children awaiting trial in prisons by 30 April 1998.

5. To minimize the number of children inappropriately or unnecessarily referred to, or placed within the CYC system by 31 May 1998.

6. To pilot the new developmental assessment approach at all levels of the CYC system within the Western Cape and at certain levels within most other provinces.

7. To increase the appropriate support to and capacity of foster parents, residential care staff and families in order to keep young people within their community or within the least restrictive environment appropriate to their developmental needs.

8. To ensure that the four critical provinces have at least one secure care facility functioning effectively by May 1998.

9. To ensure that each province has at least one effective secure care programme in place as urgently as possible.

10. To effectively facilitate and manage the transition of children from prisons to secure care, as each of these facilities becomes available.

11. To monitor (with regard to care and protection of rights) the children awaiting trial in prisons and police cells until 10 May 1998

NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN PRISON:

At present - approximately 1350

Number of children in police cells - 500 approximately

Dealing with May 10 effectively as well as Project-Go depends on inter-sectoral cooperation from SAPS and Justice in particular. There are presently serious problems in gaining the full cooperation of these departments and these matters are to be addressed at an IMC Ministers meeting on 11 March 1998 after Cabinet.

SUMMARY OF PROGRESS:

1. Project-Go team has been established in each province, a review of every child in prison arid residential care is underway and less restrictive placement, out of places of safety, or into the community.

This process is in its early stages and is not as yet moving fast enough.

Provincial Departments have been asked to allocate additional people to this process for the next 8 weeks and keep the pressure on everyone.

2. Secure care:

Kwazulu/Natal: One facility by April/May if blockages or staffing resolved.

Gauteng: One facility to full capacity of 60 by April

Western Cape: Secure Care by 1999. Alternatives in Places of Safety being explored.

Eastern Cape: One facility by May if blockages on staffing can be resolved.

Northern Cape: One facility by June. A 2nd facility has begun.

North West: One facility by October

Mpumalanga: One facility by July

Free State: One facility by July

Northern Province: One facility by April

3. Approximate numbers of children in prison presently per province: (These are children awaiting trial)

Kwazulu/Natal: 320

Gauteng: 200

Western Cape: 317

Eastern Cape: 200

Northern Cape: 53

North West: 58

Mpumalanga: 121

Free State: 55

4. Provinces where there will be insufficient accommodation on May 10 and where special arrangements will be made are:

Kwazulu/NataI, Western Cape, Gauteng, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West and Mpumalanga.

Places of Safety are receiving special focus from Project-Go and placements are being created in both these facilities and children's homes, schools of industry, and reform schools.

5. Children awaiting trial in places of safety, or prisons, or police cells are under review and expediting of court cases or transfers to designated facilities is being fast-tracked.

6. Children awaiting placement in children's homes and schools of industry are also under review. These are children in need of care and protection who are under the Child Care Act. Expediting of placement and children's court enquiries is also underway - but a relatively slow process.

7. Western Cape and Eastern Cape are receiving specific financial and capacity support from the national IMC - this should enable faster movement in these two provinces where the problems are more complex and wider spread.

8. Non-government welfare agencies and residential care facilities are giving full cooperation and are involved in each province.

9. Each province is in the process of developing a detailed plan to manage May the 10 in such a way that there is no crisis and children will not be at risk in any way.

10. One of the more serious blockages with regard to places of safety and secure care is a moratorium on new posts or the filling of vacant posts. This moratorium has been instituted by the KwazuIu/Natal, Eastern Cape and Northern Province Provincial Governments due to financial restraints. The Minister and MEC's for Welfare will seek to negotiate on this matter as urgently as possible.

DETAILED PLAN OF ACTION: PROJECT GO

DELIVERY ACTIONS: National Go Programme of Action to Minister and Disseminated

DATE: 24-12-97

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: All departments, HOD's, MEC's, National Facilitation team, IMC Ministers, Reference Group are informed

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Official Letter to Welfare MEC's and National Minister

Education and Justice - Moratorium

DATE: 24-12-97

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Welfare and Education MEC's will inform the department and NGO's by 8 January

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Establish go review team and data base - plus addition teams/resources as necessary and possible.

DATE: 05.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Provinces have mechanism and resources in place to begin implementation.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Project Go detailed Practice Guidelines are sent to provinces

DATE: 06.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: All role players will have access to practical guidelines which can facilitate implementation

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Send Review forms and detailed instructions to organisations and departments - to implement review of each child in the system

DATE: 15.01.98 or earlier

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each organisation and department establishes the review process and begins to send in documentation to go team.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Complete initial Training of Trainers in "assessment"

DATE: 31.01.98 or earlier

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: At least 12 trainers will be trained to train practitioners in developmental assessment of children.

[Each of the critical provinces -CP - have at least one trainer]

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Complete 2nd Assessment training for trainers and Practitioners

DATE: 31.01.98 or earlier

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: At least 10 new trainers are trained and at least 15 practitioners are trained in assessment [Each province has at least one trainer and the CP have at least 2]

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Extract from national go programme of action and draft specific provincial implementation plan, then send to copy Helen Stark

DATE: 10.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each province has a detailed implementation plan which is appropriate to their resources and needs. The national facilitation team has a copy of each provinces plan.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Review probation services (reception, assessment and referral) to children and ensure availability and effective delivery at all major courts, plus others where possible.

DATE: 31.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: All major courts in the country have access to an effective probation service. Probation services are increasing and becoming more effective.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Evaluate availability, accessibility, diversity and use of diversion programmes/options for children in critical provinces. Provide report to national team

DATE: 31.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Knowledge of diversion resources. Knowledge of effective diversion programmes. Records of diversion programme deficit.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Information to provinces (magistrates, prosecutors and probation officers) on diversion resources. Facilitate the development of further diversion resources

DATE: Jan - June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Provinces are aware of resources and needs for further development. Diversion resources begin to increase in each province.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Evaluate re-unification and family preservation options/programmes - report to national facilitation team Facilitate the development of further re-unification and family preservation programmes - with IMC projects

DATE: Jan - June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: National and provincial departments of welfare and welfare organisations are aware of options and resources. Family preservation and family re-unification services begin to increase and become more effective.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Evaluate residential care services and report to notional facilitating team. Facilitate the increased effectiveness of residential care

DATE: Jan - June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: National and provincial departments are aware of resources and/or matters needing attention and take action. The effectiveness of residential acre begins to increase

DELIVERY ACTIONS: inform and sensitise magistrates and prosecutors re project go - 4 critical provinces first then others.

DATE: 31.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Magistrates are aware of moratorium, need for diversion, effective and appropriate use of section 29. Magistrates begin to link decisions to assessment fewer children are referred to prison. Magistrates are willing to cooperate with project go teams

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Keep all role players fully informed on a regular basis

DATE: From January to June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: All role players feel involved and have sufficient and clear information

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Assist provinces (in practice) to establish go mechanism and process, and build excellent working relationship with coordinator and go team

DATE: No later than 25 January

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each province has been empowered to set up project go in practice and has established a relationship with facilitator/s

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Provide support to organisations and departments to implement assessment reviews

DATE: Jan/ Feb 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Organisations and departments feel supported and competent to implement reviews

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Ensure that secure care facilities will be ready by May 1998 - with appropriate staff and programmes - in consultation with Lesley du Toit.

DATE: 31 May 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each of the 4 provinces have a secure care facility. All provinces are very advanced in finalising secure care facility

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Monitor children awaiting trial in prisons re care and protection of rights, report to provincial go team and national facilitating team

DATE: Until 10 May 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Violations of rights are taken to appropriate authorities. Cases are expedited

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Monitor care and protection of rights of children in places of safety, children's homes, schools of industry and reform schools. Report back to national facilitating team (Lesley du Toit and/or Ann Skelton).

DATE: Jan - June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Violations of rights will be reported and action will be taken.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Review and monitor reception, placements, movement and programmes for each child at level 2, 3,4 of CYC system. Level 3 should take priority

Undertake specific assessments where indicated

DATE: Start early Jan 98 and ongoing until June 98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each child entering, moving or remaining in the system is assessed and referred to least restrictive and most empowering placement and/or programme and/ or sentence

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Provide feedback from reviews and directions to service providers. Facilitate that actions/recommendations are expedited and accounted for.

DATE: Jan - June 98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each organisation or department which submits reviews gets feedback on each child, takes the necessary actions and accounts back to the go team.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Ensure that each child awaiting trial in prison has access to adequate education, development and care programmes

DATE: 31.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each child awaiting trial confirms that they have access to adequate food, education programmes and development programmes. Each child confirms that they are safe and adequately supervised.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Ensure that each child/family in residential care has an appropriate development programme which is effective.

DATE: 31.05.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Each child in care has a development programme which is effective for him/ her and his/ her family

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Ensure that maximum number of probation officers are trained in developmental assessment - especially in 4 critical provinces.

DATE: 31 March 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: 80% of probation officers in critical provinces have been trained in developmental assessment by 31 March.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Ensure that maximum number of residential. care teams and child/family welfare organisations are trained in developmental assessment. Priority to be given to 4 critical provinces.

DATE: 31 May 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: 80% of residential care teams and 50% of child/ family welfare organisations trained by May

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Prevent as many placements into the system as possible and prevent placements deeper into the system where possible. Maximise movements out of the system or to less restrictive environments. Provide support and capacity building to foster parents and residential care teams to prevent transfers.

DATE: Jan - May 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: 25% decrease of placements into the system. 30% movement. Out of the system. 50% decrease in transfers deeper into system.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Urgently expedite designations or placements re school or industries and reform schools - once review is complete.

DATE: Jan - June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Once assessed or sentenced, children do not wait longer than a 2 week period for designation and placement

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Urgently expedite court cases involving children - juvenile court and children's court

DATE: Jan - June 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Children do not wait trail or wait for CCE longer than 2-6 weeks

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Report all problems/issues regarding labour unions and blockages with regard to implementing go project - to Lesley du Toit and/or Ann Skelton

DATE: Jan - May 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Labour problems are speedily reported to National Unions and Ministers Committee and appropriate actions can prevent deeper problems.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Report all incidences of child abuse and neglect by staff in residential care - to Lesley du Toit and/or Ann Skelton

DATE: Jan - May 31, 1998

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Child abuse issues are logged and responded to in an appropriate manner. Incidence of abuse in residential care is monitored.

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Detailed progress report on implementation - to Helen Starke

DATE: 15.01.98, 23.02.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: The national facilitating team has a detailed progress report from each province

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Copy and collate provincial reports for Reference group

DATE: 18.01.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Reference group receives full progress report to review on 19.01.98

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Project Go Reference Group Meeting

DATE: 19.01.98, 10h00 - 16h00

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Review National Programme of Action. Further planning. Unblocking. Review implementation progress, hold accountable

DELIVERY ACTIONS: National Facilitation team meeting

DATE: 19.01.98, 16h00 - 20h00

DELIVERY ACTIONS: Progress Report to Minister for Welfare, MC Ministers, MEC for Welfare and Education, HOD's for welfare and education (national and provincial)

DATE: 27.02.98

MEASURABLE OUTCOMES: Authorisation to proceed or directions to make changes, or further instructions from Minister for Welfare.

Social Security Clean-up Exercise Achievements 09/02/98

Ministry for Welfare and Population Development

FACT SHEET NUMBER: 003/98 Date: 9 FEBRUARY 1998

Achievements of the Clean-Up Exercise in Social Security

1. Aim

A Clean-Up process of the Social Security system has been going on for over a year and has resulted in a huge reduction in pension and grant payment throughout the country. This process entails checking the details of beneficiaries against the Home Affairs Population; data mining, a process used to find irregularities in the system such as one name with different ID numbers; and re-registration, where beneficiaries bring valid documents to update their files.

2. Progress

Some irregularities have been uncovered which are to a large extent a combination of weak management and fraud and corruption. Since March an estimate of about 20% of 3 million (600 000) beneficiaries have been associated with irregularities. Following investigations by the provinces, payments to about 149 000 beneficiaries with a monthly value of R61-million have been suspended.

3. Home Affairs Population Register

One aspect of the clean up system involves checking the details of beneficiaries and comparing them with Home Affairs Population Register which leads to the removal of beneficiaries who are registered as deceased (ghost beneficiaries). This is done bi-monthly.

Since July '97 approximately 60 000 ghost beneficiaries have been removed from the system. Between the months of December '97 and January '98, about 12000 deceased beneficiaries were removed from the system, which led to a R5,5 million per month saving to the government.

4. Data Mining

Another aspect involves monitoring data by detecting duplication such as one name appearing twice or one name with many ID numbers. The department is busy verifying about 12 000 records with the expectation that half of them will be duplicates. This will lead to a R5,5 million per month saving to the taxpayer.

5. Re-registration

The department is busy with re-registration in the Free State and Eastern Cape. About 3% of active beneficiaries have re-registered.

Recently, children over eighteen years who no longer qualify for a state maintenance grant have been taken off the system except for those who produce 'continuation allowance' proof So far 20 249 have been taken off the system resulting in a saving of R3,7-million per month.

6. Other clean up processes

The department is also busy taking off people with temporary disabilities as their period of qualifying (3 months to 1 year) expires. Approximately 45 000 beneficiaries are affected, involving payments to the value of about R20-million per month.

The department is in the process of comparing information with the Civil Pension system, Government Salary system, Unemployment Fund and the South African Revenue Service in order to remove from the system people who have other means of existence and thus do not qualify for a social grant or pension.

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