Childline South Africa is seriously committed to supporting the provision of high quality services to Children and Families in South Africa, especially children and families who are vulnerable and affected by abuse, neglect and exploitation. We therefore provide a range of training programmes to professionals across sectors as well as volunteers who work in this field.

Training for Continuing Professional Development

Social workers and psychologists are core service providers to children and families. Both professions have registration requirements that necessitate participation in on-going accredited education and training in order to continue building skills and knowledge. Childline South Africa is committed to ensuring that children and families benefit from new knowledge skills and programmes and therefore provides opportunities for accredited training, taking responsibility for applying for accreditation for as many of the training opportunities below as possible.

Training on therapeutic methods and process

Childline SA is aware that professional training is usually generic in nature. Newly graduated social workers and psychologists are therefore poorly equipped on graduation to provide specialised child protection services – especially therapeutic services. Several Initiatives for training in therapy are provided by the Childline SA National office. Training on the “Healers Manual” – a helping programme for sexually abused children as well as other structured training programmes are offered to assist in the acquisition of knowledge and skills that promote the recovery of children and families from all forms of abuse.

Training on inter-sector working across disciplines involved in the management of child abuse
Managing child abuse, neglect and exploitation is not the responsibility of any one sector or profession. Unfortunately though, when the different sectors respond to child abuse and neglect, coordination of services and working together in order to reduce the risk of secondary trauma (trauma caused by failures in the child protection system) is challenging. Many sector role-players do not receive specific training on basic concepts of child abuse, and also do not understand the role and function of other role-players. Childline runs a training course which brings the different sectors together, provides information on concepts and skills specific to child protection and also on team building, inter-sector cooperation, expectations and management of cases. This training is ideal for local and district child protection teams – but also for anyone who assists with child protection in any sector. This workshop is CPD accredited with 15 CPD points.

Training on court preparation of children and care givers

Going to Court is scary for most of us – but particularly scary for children who have been abused and who have to testify about the abuse. This short workshop – either run as a ½ day or as a full day with more input on the legal system and how it works, helps professionals understand the legal system and how to prepare children and their families for the child’s court appearance as a witness. The workshop covers the legal requirements for working with children prior to giving evidence to ensure that the child’s testimony is not interfered with.

Training on giving expert evidence

Professionals who are asked to testify in court as expert witnesses are often intimidated. This mini workshop discusses the Criminal and Civil Justice systems in relation to the expert witness, how to prepare oneself and one’s report for this task.

Training on work with adult sexual offenders who commit crimes against children and training on work with children with aggressive and inappropriate sexual behaviour

These workshops have 20 CPD points on completion. These workshops are very practical and deal with therapist issues – selection and training, assessment and treatment planning, involvement of families in the treatment process, as well as managing the interface between the programme and the criminal justice system.

Child Law

  • The Children’s Act – this 2 day workshop unpacks the children’s act, focussing on those aspects most relevant to the group being trained. It is very practical in content – and case studies from both the presenter and the participants are used to illustrate the application of the legislation. 8 CPD points.
  • The Child Justice Act – this 1 day workshop follows a similar programme to the above. 4 CPD points
  • The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act – this 1 day workshop follows a similar programme to the above. 4 CPD points.

Regular structured group discussions

These are limited to the Durban area and cover subjects that are relevant to Social Work and Psychology practice in the child protection field. 4 CPD points per session.

Thogomelo Project

Thogomelo means “Caring” or “WE CARE” in Venda. The project was born out of the concerns that were raised by community caregivers and supervisors that care for vulnerable children, whether in community home based care or dealing with their own stress. The Thogomelo Child Protection skills development program aims to increase the capacity of supervisors, coordinators and team leaders in community caregiver organisations to act as child protection resource people within their communities. This will be done in order to strengthen the response to child protection issues and to support individual community caregivers to do the same. The purpose of this skills development program is to build their skills, knowledge and practice of coordinators and supervisors who are in direct contact with community caregivers who engage and respond to children and families.

This is an accredited training by the HWSETA. The core guiding framework for the content and scope of this skills development program is the Children’s Act.

The project is currently being run in Kwa-Zulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Bloemfontein, North West and Cape Town.
The Thogomelo project is a five year USAID funded initiative. In collaboration with South Africa’s Department of Social Development, the US Agency for International Development’s AIDSTAR program is supporting PATH, Health and Development (HDA) and the international HIV/AIDS alliance (IHAA) to implement this project. Childline SA is a service provider who offers the training to the community.

The program is aimed at NQF level 3 learners; therefore individuals wishing to participate in this program should have a good understanding of English and an education level that is Grade 12 and above. The motivation for this level of training is that learners need to be able to engage at a knowledge and skill level with the learning material which is at a moderately complex level as they are required to:

  • Be able to work with children and families who are vulnerable or have been victimised
  • Be able to work independently in applying what they have learnt in their organisations
  • Be able to supervise and mentor community caregivers and
  • Be able to work intersectorally with role players in the child protection sector such as (Social workers; police officials’, health workers, etc.)
    The child protection skills development programs are aimed at the following individuals:
  • Supervisors who are responding to children with NGO, CBO , FBO
  • An active member of child care forums, child protection committees, community protection forums and/or places of safety etc.
  • Persons 18 years and older
  • Have a valid passport or South African identity document to receive credits for the skills development program
  • Cleared by the child protection register as per the children’s act requirements
  • Have the written support or mandate of their manager to participate in the training and have been given time to complete the activities and assessment process.

Isibindi Camps

The isibindi is implemented in over 55 sites and in 8 provinces, with over 40 partner organizations. Isibindi responds holistically to the needs of children, youth and families who are vulnerable and at-risk. Unemployed community members are screened, selected, trained and deployed as child and youth care workers to service families in their own communities. The ultimate beneficiaries of all Isibindi projects are desperate children and families who would NOT otherwise have had access to formal care and assistance.

The Isibindi model articulates key tenets of South Africa’s new Children’s Act. Childline SA provides the therapeutic program for the Child Protection Program.

Childline SA has partnered with NACCW in some of the provinces through the Isibindi project to strengthen child protection services in rural communities. Vulnerable children from under-resourced rural communities, who become victims of sexual abuse, are provided with opportunities to heal, through therapeutic support involving individual and group therapy for the children and the caregivers.
This is achieved through periodic residential treatment programmes.

Children are offered a 7 day intensive residential therapeutic Child Protection Program which includes: a minimum of 3 individual therapy sessions for each child, a minimum of 3 therapy group work sessions for each child. Furthermore therapeutic work is done with caregivers who are requested to attend the residential programme with the child. Parents and caregivers are informed about how to support their children who have been abused, as well as how to reinforce the gains made in therapy. Many caregivers themselves may have been abused and be struggling with psycho-social consequences and the therapists deal with this in order to ensure that the caregivers own issues do not interfere with their ability to support and nurture the child in their care.

The Childline Intervention continues with follow up if children require further therapeutic support and continue with referrals or seeking therapeutic support for the children concerned. This is usually by telephone. The NACCW receives a report on each child, with suggestions for follow up through the child and youth care workers.

Childline SA provides intensive individual sessions with each child care worker that attends the program, as well as debriefing and an educational workshop. The purpose of this is two-fold: to help each child care worker with personal issues since they come from environments characterized by poverty, violence and abuse and are often adult survivors of abuse/trauma themselves- these sessions help with healing and ensures that the psycho-social care of each worker is recognized and encouraged, and this will ensure that a professional and compassionate service is provided to each child. The second purpose is to educate and equip each worker with specialized skills on how to help children and families heal in their life-space and how to network, refer and follow-up with cases.

An ‘open door policy’ is established with all child care workers and caregivers and children, that should they require support, intervention or a listening ear, they can call Childline SA.

The therapeutic program offered to the abused and vulnerable children and youth of South Africa through ISIBINDI promotes healing and emotional well-ness; strengthens the protection of children and empowers/educates our children and caregivers to live a safe and healthy and functional life and provides hope that our children can still grow into adulthood with skills and the opportunity to heal and rise above their circumstances. We the therapists from Childline SA are amazed time and time again by the resilience and beauty of the children we meet and realize if a child is loved, believed, listened to and kept safe, they bloom into the best that they can be.
We are privileged and honored to meet and work with these beautiful children.

Crisisline Training

Childline South Africa is commitment to developing appropriate social services, including a 24-hour toll-free helpline. In order to provide an effective telephone crisis counseling service and helpline for children, adolescents and families, Childline needs to train, and sustain volunteers on a regular basis. Volunteers run the telephone helpline and play an important role in Childline for a number of reasons:

  • The use of volunteers allows our professional staff, to render therapeutic services to children, adolescents and families within the community. In the past much of their time was taken up on the counseling lines.
  • Volunteers can often prevent depersonalisation. The effect of volunteers can be very beneficial in maintaining the personal touch.
  • Additionally, effective volunteer training programmes can often meet the needs of the volunteers themselves. It is an experiential learning process.

The training course is offered by each Childline provincial office. It is generally run as a short and intensive program, geared toward equipping volunteer counselors with a broad understanding of topics such as child abuse, poverty and neglect, HIV/AIDS and child labour, as well as basic counseling and communication skills.