Child and youth care workers and young people gather to support child protection from the 2nd – 4th July 2019, International Convention Centre, Durban
28 June 2019: Over 1300 delegates from 28 countries will next week converge on Durban for the fourth global Child and Youth Care Network conference.
Representing governments, civil society, UN agencies, the private sector and various philanthropies, the gathering is being hosted by South Africa’s National Association of Child Care Workers (NACCW), the international Child and Youth Care Network (CYC-Net) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Department of Social Development. These three days will see a sharing of diverse child and youth care work experiences, practices, programs and policies.
A wide range of issues will be under discussion ranging from access to justice to child participation, from the plight of refugee children to the power of story-telling. Among those in attendance will be senior officials from Government, civil society and UNICEF, including two of the organisation’s advocates, namely Lebohang Masango and Maps Maponyane.
Working with vulnerable, under-resourced communities, child and youth care workers are at the forefront of making a difference to the lives of millions of marginalised children globally. These men and women are often contracted by their own communities hence leading to youth and women employment. Their services have proven to result in improved learning outcomes for vulnerable youth, reduced teenage pregnancy rates, reduced child abuse incident, a decline in gang violence as well as increased access to justice. This gives them a unique understanding of the context and situation of these communities and what can be done to address their needs.
South Africa is at the forefront in pioneering this form of child and youth care and the conference will provide a valuable opportunity to showcase the innovative child-friendly programmes that are being implemented in the country. According to recent figures by Statistics South Africa, 67% of children in the country are living below the poverty line and one-third of children are affected by abuse before the age of 18. This leads to a range of challenges later in life for these children including low learning outcomes.
The conference will showcase the strategic partnerships that have been forged, both in South Africa and globally, with governments, celebrities, NGOs and UN agencies to leverage resources and to create further awareness on the importance of this work so that every child is loved, cared for, empowered and able to thrive.
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