DEPARTMENT OF CHILD AFFAIRS
The department is designated to provide Integrated Early Childhood Development services and coordinates Primary Child Protection Services. The department draws its mandate from various pieces of legislation and policies. These include the Child Care, Protection and Justice of 2010; the Education Act; the National Children’s Policy, the National Policy on Early Childhood Development; the National Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children Policy; the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy MGDS) III among others. The Department is responsible for coordination of all children services in Malawi. It has three main divisions namely: Early Childhood Development (ECD); Parenting Education and Child Protection.
Holistically developed children.
To create a conducive environment for the survival, growth, development, protection and participation of all children in Malawi.
1. Early Childhood Development
This division aims at coordinating the provision of early learning, stimulation and transition and child rights protection services to Children from 0 – 8 years and parenting education and support services to caregivers for children. In order to fulfill this mandate, this division is implementing the National ECD Policy and Strategic Plan which was launched during the National ECD Advocacy Week in October 2018. The activities that the division is implementing include: Construction and upgrading of ECD Centres at community level; training of caregivers and management committees at community level; provision of early learning materials to community based child care centres (CBCCs); facilitating training of parenting educators at district and community levels; and facilitating effective transition of children from early childhood development centres to primary schools. The division also engages in the production of guidelines and standards including curriculum for national early childhood development Centre activities.
2. Child Protection
This division mainly focuses on primary protection of children. It focuses on prevention and promotion of children’s rights at all levels. Activities being implemented by this division include child participation; development of laws, policies, standards, and guidelines; children corners; Prevention of Child Marriage; coordination of programs for orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC); facilitating reporting for international conventions and protocols to international bodies such as the African Union and the United Nations; enhancing quality of child protection services at community level.
3. Parenting Education
This division focuses on providing parenting skills to parents so that they can provide adequate and appropriate care and support to their children. Activities in this division include: training of parents on key child care practices, training of parenting committees at community level. Progress to date is that all district teams have been trained on Care for Child Development. About 1,200 households are reached with information of the recommended child care and development practices for platforms like parenting groups as well as care groups.