Give a Child a Family (GCF) is a non-profit organisation that primarily works in the Ugu district in KZN and in several countries in the Eastern and Southern African region.
GCF is a child care and protection organisation that employs a holistic, eco-systemic approach to ensuring the care and protection of vulnerable children who experience multiple, and often intersecting risks to their survival, protection and development. Risks includes factors such as poverty, abuse, neglect, exploitation, lack of access to essential services such as clinics, early childhood development services, and water and sanitation, and related social and economic ills.
GCF’s approach is fundamentally developmental and transformative: it offers an integrated suite of developmental social welfare services and support to build the resilience of children, families and communities to mitigate the risks faced by vulnerable children, with the objective of giving them an equal opportunity to enjoy their rights to family care, to survive, be protected and develop to their full potential.
At the centre of GCF’s approach is the child as the holder of fundamental rights to survive, be protected, develop to their full potential and participate in decisions that affect them. The most important and immediate duty-bearer with the responsibility and, in most cases the will to provide children with the care they need to realise their rights is the child’s family, parents and related caregivers. Legal instruments such as the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) emphasise the importance of this relationship in their recognition of the right of children to family care and the recognition of parents and families as the primary duty bearers.
At the same time, the ACRWC and the CRC both recognise that parents need help in the way of services and support to meet their children’s needs, and that the government is duty-bound to ensure they are enabled and empowered through access to these services in the communities in which they and their children live. The availability of, and access to services in their communities in turn requires an enabling strong and responsive child care and protection system that obligates and holds government departments and structures to account for the development, funding and implementation of programmes providing services and support to enable all communities and parents to provide children with the nurturing care and protection they need to survive and develop to their full potential.
Children need strong, effective and responsive circles of support at each of the levels, from family, to community, through to enabling policies and systems to create the conditions necessary for them to enjoy their rights to a family, to survive, be protected and develop to their full potential.