Cabinet approves child protection policy

Cabinet approves child protection policy

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The national policy for the care and protection of children without parental care was considered and approved by the Cabinet yesterday, Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere said after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

The policy was presented to the Cabinet by Vice President Kembo Mohadi as the chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Social Services and Poverty Eradication.

Dr Muswere said the overall goal of the national policy was to facilitate the comprehensive development of all children by ensuring that their needs and rights were adequately met.

“The policy seeks among other things to promote and enhance safe, protective and stable environments for children without parental care. It caters for the rehabilitation of children in specialised alternative care facilities, including those with disabilities, children in conflict with the law, children removed from the streets, child survivors of drug and substance abuse, and children in formal and informal alternative care,” said Dr Muswere.

“The policy aims at ensuring that all children in alternative care placements in Zimbabwe, regardless of the place, context and duration, enjoy their rights as enshrined in Section 81(d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

“It will ensure that children in alternative care receive basic services in the form of education, health, justice, food, clothes, shelter, life skills, and sustainable livelihoods,” said Dr Muswere.

The policy outlined minimum standards for alternative care. Children had to have their needs assessed comprehensively, with written placement care plans outlining how the needs would be met and there had to be regular reviews of children’s needs and development placements in order to meet the child’s identified needs.

Children should maintain constructive and safe contact with their families, friends and other people who play a significant role in their lives and children should be able to move in and out of care in an appropriate manner.

“Children should also get the necessary support to enable them to prepare to leave care and transition into adulthood, while being encouraged to express their views, wishes and opinions on matters that affect them,” said Dr Muswere.

“A whole-of Government-approach will be adopted in the implementation of the policy in order to ensure that the rights of the children are adequately protected.

“Non-State actors will complement Government efforts in the provision of specialised services in line with their registered mandates,” said Dr Muswere. The Herald