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The Advocacy Programme

By michelle - Posted on 22 June 2010

The Advocacy Programme works with other agencies to advocate for social change in order to reduce the emotional suffering caused by unjust social conditions.

Research and advocacy projects are undertaken in relation to the mental health needs of communities served and networking is done with other service providers in the area, ensuring mutual support and accountability, thereby improving the scope, quality and consistency of services rendered to the community.

Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum

Less anticipated has been the push into the arena of formal advocacy work, as a result of our response to the plight of unaccompanied migrant children in the inner city of Johannesburg. The Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum (JCAF) was initiated by members of the Sophiatown team in 2009, initially in response to the situation of children living under abusive conditions at the Central Methodist Church. Despite the fact that it still has not been able to attract independent funding, the Johannesburg Child Advocacy Forum has been able to address a wide range of children issues in line with its mission as a civil society organization:

“to monitor how children’s constitutional rights are met within the greater Johannesburg area with special focus on those whose right have previously been ignored, neglected or violated because of their social, economic, ethnic or national backgrounds; and to protect and advocate for the rights of children through a continuum of advocacy interventions informed by direct engagement with service delivery agencies” (JCAF Founding document, 2010).

The following are some of the main achievements of the year 2011

  • An illegal shelter and “school” in the inner city, riddled with corruption, was closed down in a collaborative effort between JCAF and the relevant government departments and all children involved were placed in appropriate care and educational facilities.
  • Another illegal shelter was closed down in Yeoville following interventions by JCAF and the relevant statutory bodies and all children were assessed and placed in appropriate care.
  • JCAF has been a major role player in the drafting of the Family, Child and Sexual Offences Strategy for the South African Police Services, which sees the return of specialized units to deal with offences against children
  • JCAF has also drafted the child protection protocol for the Children Desk of the Methodist Church of South Africa. Unfortunately this has so far done little to improve the conditions of life for children living at the Central Methodist Church
  • The issue of abandoned babies being denied birth certificates because their nationality cannot be proven was addressed and resolved with officials of the Department of Home Affairs.
  • The Forum continues to be engaged with issues arising out of the implementation of the new Children’s Act, especially as they relate to shelter which are now being transformed into much more formal child and youth care centres

Contact details

Address: 4 Lancaster St, Westdene, 2092

Tel: +27 11 4828530

Fax: +27 11 4828530

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