The NACCW has worked as an independent national agency involved with troubled children and youth at risk since 1975. Locally the NACCW is the professional child and youth care association, operating in the various provinces of South Africa. Internationally it is constituted as the South African National Section the International Federation of Educative Communities (FICE), the UNESCO organization responsible for child and youth care.
Our Mission Statement reads: The NACCW is an independent, non-profit organisation which provides the professional training and infrastructure to promote health child and youth development and to improve standards of care and treatment for troubled children and youth at risk in family, community and residential group care settings.
The Association has an individual membership of over 2500 and a small core professional staff team. Trained members of the NACCW support the staff nationally in all activities. Some of the major tasks of the NACCW are:
the development of regional reference groups for practitioners
course development and training
innovative program design and replication
information dissemination and publications
advocacy in respect of children's rights
the provision of specialized consultancy
the fostering of international relations.
The NACCW is the only non-government organization operating solely in the unique area of training and development of those who work with young people at risk. It equips adults, whose educational backgrounds range from semi-literate to post-graduate, with the skills needed to intervene in the lives of children and youth at risk. The Association interprets policy initiatives into practice interventions for implementation and replication by those working at service delivery level. Over the past three decades it has earned significant credibility and its services are widely used by both state and private sectors.
The NACCW is operational in all nine provinces of
the country and is currently training and developing partnerships in
other African countries. The Association has regional offices in
Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Western Cape. It has further regions
operating in Southern Cape, the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Border,
Free State and the North-Eastern Cape, totalling nine in all. A
sub-region has been formed in the North-West Province.
The NACCW has grown rapidly over the past five years. Demand for NACCW training is increasing dramatically as the importance of child and youth care workers is recognized in the country. The NACCW model “Isibindi: Creating Circles of Care”, has been evaluated and determined to be a cost-effective and adaptable model responding to needs of children in the context of the AIDS pandemic.
The Creation of a Continuum of Learning
The NACCW–s creative response to the diverse needs in our country for learning opportunities for those working with children and youth at risk was the development of a “continuum of learning opportunities”. It promotes the development of child and youth care workers in residential and community settings. The continuum of learning opportunities ranges from a Core Literacy Training in Child Care, to a Basic Qualification in Child and Youth Care (BQCC), a Higher Qualification in Child and Youth Care (HQCC) and a degree in child and youth care in partnership with UNISA and Durban Institute of Technology (formerly Natal Technikon). The continuum of learning offers mobility for child and youth care workers and addresses the historic imbalance in learning opportunities in South Africa. The continuum also offers training opportunities for illiterate people in rural areas in response to the need for child care services for the HIV/AIDS infected and affected young people in these areas.
Accredited Training The NACCW developed training in line with the FETC, the qualification registered at level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework with South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). This qualification has opened up new avenues for child and youth care workers which creates access to the higher education levels for previously disadvantaged learners. The NACCW designed 14 modules for training against the unit standards as stipulated in this qualification. These training courses replace some of the older courses offered, i.e. BQCC and HQCC.
Specialised Training The NACCW has developed a wide range of training courses responding to the needs for specific skills in working with children and youth at risk. These include the Basic Qualification in Secure Care, and the Management of Sexual Abuse and the Qualification in Community Child and Youth Care Work.
Tertiary Education The recent (1998) development of the first degree in Child and Youth Care in South Africa, in partnership with UNISA and Durban Institute of Technology is an achievement for the NACCW, for the professionalization of child and youth care workers and for the transformation of the child and youth care system.
The Association has developed and researched a cost-effective community-based model for caring for the needs of vulnerable children, and providing employment for previously unemployed community members (mostly women). This project is currently operating in various stages of operation in 5 provinces.
The NACCW was approached by the Royal Netherlands Embassy to play a fund-holding role, distributing funds to programs that promote the transformation of services to children and youth at risk. This role included the responsibility of screening, selecting projects, allocating funds, monitoring the use of funding and developing the capacity of projects to operate in an accountable fashion. This was a critical role given to the NACCW as a result of the effective role played in the transformation process, and is an affirmation of the strength of the Association. Over the 3 years of this project, almost R9 million was efficiently distributed to over 60 separate projects and organizations.
Transformation of the Child and Youth Care
The NACCW has been actively involved in the transformation of the child and youth care system in South Africa. The Association was involved in coordinating training of child and youth care personnel in the Departments of Social Development and Education. The Association has further partnered with government in leading the piloting of the (DQA) Developmental Quality Assurance process for the assessment of child and youth care programs around the country.
The Association nurtures strong partnerships with a range of partners including CBO–s, FBO–s, government departments in social development and education, and organizations in other countries. The Association is committed to intersectoral work and has developed positive relationships with roleplayers in the justice, home affairs and health departments. The NACCW is currently partnering with Zambian colleagues in initiating transformation of child an youth care services within the country. It is hoped to establish a Southern African Association of Child and Youth Care Associations in the future.
Representation at International Forums
NACCW has represented the field of Child and Youth Care at various international forums including the 2003 4th International Conference on “Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices” in the Netherlands, “Children and Residential Care New Strategies for a New Millennium” “2nd International Conference in Sweden and “Promise Into Practice” 7th International Child and Youth Care Conference in Canada. Regular representation of South Africa is maintained at the biennial FICE Conference.
The NACCW has held national biennial conferences for the past 30 years. The 15th Biennial conference held in July 2005 in the Western Cape was highly successful, with an attendance of more than 800 national and international delegates.
A Monthly Professional Journal
The NACCW is currently publishing the twenty-third volume of the journal Child and Youth Care. This publication has a national and international subscription of 2500, and aims to promote a local discourse on Child and Youth Care. The bulk of articles published are locally written, and the development of practitioner/writers is a focus of the publication's activities. The NACCW has been responsible for the majority of local publications in the child and youth care field, producing and distributing 12 professional books.
Statutory Regulation of the Child and Youth
Years of advocacy resulted in an amendment to national legislation and the passing of the Social Service Professions Act of 1998. This has allowed for emerging occupational groups, including child and youth care workers, to professionalise and regulate their practice. This provides protection for children, the service-recipients. The NACCW–s application to the South African Council for Social Service Professions (on behalf of South African child and youth care workers) for the establishment of a professional board for child and youth care workers has been successful. A national election has taken place and the Professional Board for Child and Youth Care was launched in April 2005. Three of the five elected members of the Professional Board are staff members of the NACCW.
A Standards Generating Body
The Association initiated the establishment of this body for child and youth care in 2003. The Director of the NACCW currently chairs this body, and a member of the staff provides the secretariat. It has completed the design of a Further Education and Training Qualification at level 4 on the National Qualifications Framework with SAQA. It is in the process of designing the next qualification at level 6 on the NQF.