About 50 organisations involved in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector say the Children’s Amendment Bill is anti-poor as it “creates unnecessary barriers to funding for ECD programmes and that poor children lose out most”.
They plan to send an open letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa to instigate a redrafting process open to civil society participation.
Advocacy Aid director Patricia Martin said: “The crux of the problem from an ECD and child protection perspective is that the Bill does not enact many policy provisions in terms of which government has committed to improve availability of ECD programmes and services that promote the well-being of children.”
Yesterday, child rights lawyer Tess Peacock said: “The government does not appear to have engaged with the many submissions made during the stakeholder consultation process.
“Not only have they not streamlined an overly onerous registration process, in its current form, the Bill provides fewer opportunities for ECD funding to reach poor children.
“The amendments have not been guided by the ECD policy, which will make the achievement of the policy objectives that much harder. Most importantly, the amendments set us back on the path towards more equal rights and opportunities for all children.”
SmartStart CEO Grace Matlhape said: “We want the same thing as government – more children attending high quality ECD programmes, no matter what their background. This requires an inclusive registration system and proper support for home and community-based ECD programmes. The Bill is a once-in-a generation opportunity to achieve this and so time should be taken to get it right.”