Republic of Botswana
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Social Services
Child Protection Services Frequently Asked Questions

1.Who is a child?

  • A child is a person below the age of 18 years.

2.Who is an orphan?

  • Any child below the age of 18 years who has lost either one parent (single parent) or both parents (if they were married), whether they are biological or adoptive parents.

3. Who is a vulnerable child?

Any child below the age of 18 years, who

  • Lives in an abusive environment
  • Lives in a poor family and cannot access basic services
  • Is the head of a household
  • Lives with a sick parent or guardian.
  • Is HIV Positive
  • Is living with a disability or
  • Lives outside family care

4.Who is responsible for identifying and registering orphans?

  • The child’s Caregiver has the responsibility of registering the child with the Council Social Worker in the area which the child resides in.
  • The Social Worker will keep a register of orphans in the area and ensure that the child is assisted through the Orphan Care Program.

5. What programs are in place for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC)?

The Orphan Care Program lightens the load for the caregivers of children orphaned as a result of the death of their parents.

To access this service, orphaned children must be registered with the local authority social worker in their districts.

Through this program, orphaned children are provided with:

  • Food basket on a monthly basis
  • Private clothing and school uniform, based on the needs of the child
  • Payment of school fees, including day care, school development fees, school trips.
  • Pocket money
  • Toiletry
  • Medical fees
  • Transport fares, also based on the needs of the child
  • Where the child is schooling away from the caregiver, accommodation is also provided based on the needs of the child.

Psychosocial Support (PSS) is a holistic process of meeting the social, mental, emotional and physical needs of an individual. This service is provided by social workers in government institutions and in other child care institutions. Government has taken steps to ensure that such service providers are trained in the provision of PSS to OVC.

Education Sector Support is provided in the following ways through the Ministry of Education and Skills Development (MoE&SD):

  • School feeding program for all students in primary and secondary schools.
  • Guidance and Counseling Teachers in schools assist in dealing with the educational and socio-health issues of children.
  • The Circles of Support Programme (COS), a community and school based approach to meeting the needs of OVC by developing local networks of support, with the aim to provide basic needs and psychosocial support (PSS) to vulnerable children to enable them to remain in or re-enter school and reach their full developmental potential.
  • Tertiary and Technical Education Support to OVC: a newly introduced program (2010) to sponsor eligible OVC for tertiary and technical education.

Nutritional Support to OVC, provided through the Ministry of Health (MoH). The Ministry’s Nutrition Rehabilitation Programme aims to provide nutritional care and support to OVC, and nutrition education to caregivers, share skills on home management and income generation, and undertake community mobilization about malnutrition in children.

6. What are the procedures that need to be followed to get a license to operate a Child Welfare institution?

7.What does one do when they want to help a child who appears to be in need of care?

  • Where any person has cause to believe that a child is in need of care or protection, that person is obligated to make a report to a social worker or police officer in the district which the child resides in (Children’s Act 2009).
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