PROGRAMMES IMPLEMENTED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL WELFARE
1. STATUTORY SERVICES
The statutory services include the following;
1.1 Correctional Services
These are services which involve juvenile justice administration for children who come in conflict with the law under the age of 19 years. The officers in the Ministry, Zambia Police and the Courts provide an appropriate order for juveniles that undergo rehabilitation. The Ministry executes the rehabilitation programmes and probation services through the two schools that are run by MCDSS namely Insakwe Approved School for Girls in Ndola and Nakambala Approved School for Boys in Mazabuka.
The rehabilitation programmes and probation services take a minimum of two (2) years. Further, the Ministry works with the Zambia Correctional Services to rehabilitate juveniles at Katombora Reformatory School in Kazungula through an officer seconded to the reformatory school.
1.2 Prison Welfare
Under this service the department has a responsibility to ensure that the prisoner’s social and psychological wellbeing is taken care of. This includes counselling both the prisoners and their immediate family members to re-establish the family relation where it has broken. It also ensures that the prisoner is frequently visited so that when they are discharged, they have a family to receive them.
The commissioner for Juvenile Welfare (Director Social Welfare) also sits on the parole board whose responsibility is to recommend eligible prisoners for presidential pardon. The assessment of prisoners to be pardoned is done through District Social Welfare Officers who are part inception and discharge committees which recommends prisoners to the parole board for release.
1.3 Investigations for court
Under this service the Department assists the courts of law to come up with appropriate decisions in cases involving the juveniles who have come into conflict with the law. They do this by investigating the social and economic environment of the child which could have motivated them to engage in criminal acts.
1.4 Alternative Care Services
The office of the Commissioner for Juvenile Welfare is mandated by law to ensure the welfare and protection of all children in Zambia, including those in Institutional Care which includes; Correctional institutions, Childcare facilities and Children homes that are run by the Ministry e.g. Chikumbi. Every Child therefore has a right to protection and empowerment. This protection is provided through family or the community. The overall objective therefore, is to ensure that the rights of every child are protected. These includes orphans, abandoned children or whose guardians are unfit to provide them with proper care and guardianship. Alternative care includes Kinship Care (Extended family) Foster Care Adoption Independent Living and Children in Institutional Care.
The provision of Alternative Care is top on the agenda of the Ministry. It is from the foregoing that the Ministry envisages to develop a framework on Alternative care which will promote social protection for families in order for them to be able to provide for their children.
In a similar vein with support from UNICEF through USAID, MCDSS is running a five year project (2016- 2021) the Service Efficiency and Effectiveness for Vulnerable Children and Adolescents in Zambia (SEEVCA). This project envisages to contribute to the integral human development through improving child and family welfare systems and outcomes for vulnerable children and adolescents, strengthening MCDSS and the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS) structure and the social welfare workforce, at national and subnational levels.
1.5 Child Care Facilities
The main objective of children’s homes is to facilitate the provision of shelter to children in need of care. The Department of Social Welfare through the statutory section inspects, monitors and supervises childcare institutions to ensure that they comply with set standards of care for children which is a requirement in these homes and centers.
This is in compliance with the United Nations convention of the rights of the child, The African Charter on the rights and welfare of the Child among other international and local statutory instruments. It regulates the institutions through the provision of guidelines and direction to NGOs, churches, individuals, and missions that operate children’s homes through the Minimum Standards of Care for Child Care Facilities. Childcare institutions that do not comply with set standards of care risk being closed down. This measure is aimed at ensuring that children’s rights are protected.
1.6 Foster Care Services
This service provides a temporary home to children in need of care in accordance with the provisions of the Juveniles Act Cap 53 of the laws of Zambia.
1.7 Adoption Services
Adoption is the placement of an infant in a permanent care of a person or family who is willing to undertake a parental role through a court order. Adoption can be both a local and Inter-country solution for children who need permanent placement. This means children in need of care can be adopted by both Zambians and non-Zambians, living in Zambia and those living outside Zambia.
The main objective of adoption is to protect and nurture the child by providing a safe, Healthy environment with positive support and to promote the goals of permanency placement by connecting a child to another safe and nurturing family relationship to last a lifetime. This is in line with the Hague Convention on the Protection and Co-operation in respect of Inter country Adoption which provide safeguards for children that undergo inter- country which Zambia ratified and acceded to in 2014.
1.8 Reintegration Services
It involves officers tracing the family and ensuring that the socio-economic situation that pushed the child out of the home is resolved. This service allows the department to ensure that a child makes a permanent transition back to his or her immediate or extended family and community.
1.9 Anti- human trafficking
MCDSS through the Department of Social Welfare is part to the implementation of the Anti- Human Trafficking Act No. 11 of 2008. According to the Act, the department is mandated to provide protection to victims of human trafficking.
The Department undertakes awareness raising campaigns in partnership with stakeholders such as UNICEF, International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as other line Ministries such as Ministry of Home Affairs. The Department is also responsible for accompanying trafficked children to their countries of origin in order to physically hand over the children to the relevant authorities. This is in order to share information collected from children which can be used to trace traffickers. Accompaniment by the case Social Welfare Officer reassures Children that they are not being re-trafficked unlike being handed over to a new officer to accompany them.
1.10 Anti-Gender Based Violence
MCDSS is responsible for the establishment and administration of Anti Gender Based Violence Places of Safety and Shelters for victims as provided for in the Anti – Gender Based Violence Act no. 1 of 2011. Currently the government operates the Mansa place of safety while relying on other stakeholders in other provinces.
2. NON-STATUTORY SERVICES
The non-statutory services include the following:-
2.1 Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS)
The Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS) is one of Government’s Social Assistance Programme, aimed at mitigating the adverse effects of the socio-economic shocks and other negative effect such as poverty and the HIV and AIDS pandemic. The Department implements the decentralized approach to the PWAS.This means that PWAS is administered through the District Offices and has structures up to the community level where identification, prioritization and assistance are done by the Area Coordinating Committees (ACCs) and the Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs). ACCs and CWACs are Community Volunteers in respective communities.
Under the PWAS assistance given is in from of educational support, health care support, social support and repatriation of stranded persons. The identification process is done by the community and guided by the identification matrix. The target groups fall in the following categories:-
- Aged Persons
- Chronically ill
- Single Headed Households
- Orphans and neglected children
- minor disaster victims
PWAS aims at providing support to the most vulnerable and destitute households and individuals in times of acute stress in order to mitigate suffering as well as contribute to reduction in poverty.
2.2 Social Cash Transfer Scheme
The Social Cash Transfer Scheme started in 2003 as a pilot project in Kalomo district with support from the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services and German Aid (MCDSS/GTZ) Social Safety Net Project.
The cash transfer scheme aims to assist the most destitute and incapacitated households in society to meet their basic needs, particularly health, education, food and shelter. The Scheme is a response to the HIV and AIDS Pandemic, which had led to a growing number of households with no adult breadwinner and to households headed by older persons, children and chronically ill persons. The scheme is an alternative to the in-kind assistance offered through community structures and tries to respond to the growing number of poor and vulnerable households.
Social Cash Transfers are regular, noncontributory payments of money provided to incapacitated individuals and households. The beneficiaries receive K90 and are paid bimonthly which amounts to K180 for every payment. Persons with disabilities receive double transfers that other vulnerable persons receive. The scheme is now being implemented in all the Districts and currently has 538,000 households benefiting from the programme. By December, 2018 the programme is expected to reach out to 700,000 beneficiaries. The scheme is being supported by cooperating partners namely DFID, UNICEF, IRISH Aid, Sweden and the FINNISH.
The SCTs is implemented through the inclusive model which entails that all incapacitated people are targeted on the SCTs.
2.3 Care for the Aged
The main objective of this activity is to strengthen capacity at local and national level to coordinate and deliver effective social protection programmes to vulnerable older persons. Support is given to persons aged 60 years and older through community or institutional care. There are ten Homes for Older persons namely, Divine Providence Home (Lusaka), Maramba (Livingstone), Mitanda (Ndola), Chibote (Luanshya), Mwandi (Sesheke), Chibolya (Mufulira), William residential care Home (Lusaka), Nkhulumazhiba (Solwezi) and St. Theresa (Ndola).
There are also Community Based organisations that look after order persons in communities. The Department supports them by way of grants. The Ministry also runs Maramba and Chibolya Old people’s homes. The rest are run by Community Based and Faith based Organisations.
The Ministry oversees the implementation of programmes aimed at attaining equality full participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities in society. This is in line with the United Nations Persons on the Rights of people with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which Zambia ratified in 2010 This state instrument has being domesticated into the Disability No 6 of 2012 of the laws of Zambia. Further the Ministry works with partner organisations such as the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) and the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD).
In 2015 the Ministry undertook a disability survey to inform the country on statistics of persons with disabilities so as to make service delivery for this category more efficient. The survey, was conducted in collaboration with the Central Statistics Office.