The NACCW – a professional network, a partner in development, an information source,
a training provider, and an advocacy body for children
The NACCW is an independent Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) in South Africa which provides the professional training and infrastructure to promote healthy child and youth development and improve standards of protection, care and treatment for orphaned, vulnerable and at-risk children and youth in family, community, educational and residential group care settings.
Healthy child and youth development and improved standards of care for vulnerable children.
Strategies and Areas of Operation
Consultancy and mentoring
The NACCW provides a consultancy and mentoring service to child and youth care workers and institutions. Child and youth care workers who have practice related questions can contact the NACCW telephonically, or arrange for a face-to-face consultation. Similarly organisations may contact the NACCW on matters ranging from positive discipline to good governance.
The NACCW’s Training Department offers the Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC) in Child and Youth Care Work. This is a 16 module course that is usually completed over two years. A range of non-accredited courses on specific topics are also available. These include Consultative Supervision and Restorative Justice.
Professionalising the field
A journey of three decades, the quest for professional recognition and regulation of child and youth care workers has been driven largely by the NACCW. The Association has been advocating for:
- The recognition of the autonomy of the profession of child and youth care work.
- Statutory regulation that will safeguard the rights of children, youth and their families and provide professional accountability for the standards of services rendered.
The NACCW believes that the foundation of its work is the establishment and maintenance of a national network of child and youth care workers.
Members participate in regional forums that meet on a regular basis to exchange knowledge and skills in the field of child and youth care work. In this way the NACCW connects child and youth care workers across the country to professional reference groups and reservoirs of program and practice knowledge.
Feedback from ‘ground level’ is provided from individual members to their Regional Executive Committees, which in turn report a National Executive Committee – which determines the national agenda for action – and employs a professional services arm to undertake the work of the Association.
Regions are responsible for arranging the biennial NACCW conferences, providing regular opportunities for people involved in services to children to connect nationally.
Developing and replicating models
The NACCW has developed an acclaimed, and increasingly replicated model of community-based child and youth care. Named Isibindi (meaning courage) child and youth care workers service children, youth and their families in communities across South Africa – usually where social services are scarce.
The model consists of a core Isibindi component, standard across all projects, with modular programs that can be added as required.
Knowledge development and dissemination
- In 2014 the journal Child and Youth Care Work reached its 31st volume. The publication aim is to provide seasoned practitioners to volunteers and learners with relevant theoretical and practice-based information, blending international and local know how.
- Taking part in conferences and related panel discussions are also ways in which the NACCW disseminates information at regional, national and international levels. Members and staff are encouraged to actively share information on child and youth care practice, programs and policy.
- Regular internal and external research of projects and programs, and rigorous monitoring and evaluation provides a solid evidence-based foundation for further refinement, consolidation and expansion of NACCW activities and services.
Since its inception in 1975 the NACCW has been diligent in its pursuit of building strategic partnerships with individuals, groups and structures both nationally and internationally.
This assists the Association to position itself as an agent of change in social services to children in South Africa, secure funding for development work, and develop the field of child and youth care work through continually accessing new information.
The NACCW is constituted as FICE South Africa, representing the child and youth care sector in this international forum. Ties with other African countries are also being strengthened through FICE Africa – in pursuit of an African expression of child and youth care work.
At regional level, members rally around issues of importance related to children’s wellbeing in their respective communities and provinces. Local executive committees steer such initiatives supported by the national executive committee as well as the NACCW staff.
The NACCW staff are tasked by the NEC to advocate on matters of national concern. The NACCW thus engages in strategic partnerships with government and other role players, and serves on working and steering committees to improve policy and programs for vulnerable children.