Child protection

Circles of Care

Isibindi and Safe Parks

Ending violence against children




Focus areas and critical actions

UNICEF South Africa/Schermbrucker
© UNICEF South Africa/Schermbrucker

To ensure the most marginalized children of society survive, thrive and develop to their full potential requires an integrated package of social and child protection services that prioritizes those most in need, and ensures linkages to care. We must build on what is working, remove access barriers and strengthen the interconnectedness between cash, care and protection systems. By ensuring Integrated Case Management across social service actors and tracking data in real time using the Child Status Index, children’s needs and vulnerabilities will be clearly identified, and referrals to critical services will be strengthened. This will ensure that those who receive Cash through government grants, also receive holistic and tailored Care and Protection through family visits and parenting advice from community child and youth care workers and other social service professionals.

At the same time there is a need to deepen communities’ and families’ commitment and capacity to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for children through interactive engagement and expansion of community support systems and safe spaces, such as Isibindi – which provides holistic family strengthening and child protection support through home visits of child and youth care workers; and Safe Parks – which are safe places for play, recreation and learning with adult interaction and supervision. By leveraging religion, music and sport to promote greater connectedness and create circles of care within communities, South Africa can build resilience, challenge social norms and generate a national movement for social change. This will not only promote better results for millions of children, but also multiply the impact of the individual support delivered and ensure improved return on the substantial national investments that are already being made in terms of social grants and social services.

UNICEF is helping Government and partners to link cash, care and protection at national, provincial and community levels. This entails support to concrete initiatives across the spectrum of prevention, early intervention and protection:


  • Reduce the exclusion error for the child support grant to ensure all eligible children receive this important social assistance
  • Develop an electronic App, built around the Child Status Index to make case management manageable, and ensure real-time data informs prioritization of care and resources across service providers
  • Spearhead a positive communication strategy and campaign to encourage and empower caregivers to foster safe and supportive care environments for children.
  • Accelerate cross referral pathways between community care workers, teachers, health workers and justice to ensure children at-risk receive a rapid response

Early Intervention:

  • Scale up access to evidence-based family strengthening services, including Isibindi home visits and Safe Parks through Social Compacts that combine efforts and resources of Government, civil society, private sector and the community
  • Promote an integrated case management approach, to ensure that the most at-risk children are targeted and prioritised, and services are appropriately tailored to their vulnerabilities

  • Accelerate access to child- and survivor-friendly justice, including for children and adults who are victims of sexual offences, through the Sexual Offences Courts.
  • Strengthen referral, tracking of children and collaboration between early intervention programmes, including child and youth care workers, and statutory child protection services.





Make a donation


 Email this article

unite for children