Programmes of the Directorate of Child Welfare

A call for peace by children in South Sudan

Core Programme Areas

  • Policy and Legal Frame Work Formulation and Review
  • Justice for children – Diversion Scheme
  • Child protection
  • Children without appropriate care
  • Children associated with armed forces
  • Mine risk education
  • Child helpline

Programs of the Directorate of Child Welfare

1. Diversion scheme

The Justice for Children Program in South Sudan has been piloted in Malakal- Upper Nile State and rolling out is under-way in Kuajok – Warrap and Wau – Northern Bahr El Ghazal. The program is being supported by UNICEF.

The Diversion Program refers to the conditional channelling of child offenders away from formal judicial proceedings towards a different way of resolving the issue that enables many – possibly most – to be dealt with by non-judicial bodies, thereby avoiding the negative effects of formal judicial proceedings and a criminal record.
Measures that are being applied include;

  • Community-based measures for children under the minimum age of criminal responsibility
  • Decision not to pursue the case
  • Alternatives to arrest and alternatives to pre-trial detention
  • Alternatives to post-trial detention
  • Restorative juvenile justice
  • Informal conflict settlement

There are number of diversion-conditions which can be applied but these conditions are dependent on the nature and seriousness of the offence, the child’s background and circumstances as well as which community-based services and programmes are available. This information is derived through an assessment by a social worker, probation officer or multi-disciplinary team. An assessment of the child’s background and circumstances is promoted in order to identify underlying family problems and other problems that need to be addressed so that re-offending can be prevented. The appropriate conditions can also be decided through a restorative juvenile justice process.

Examples of common diversion-conditions are:

  • Apologizing verbally or in written to the victim
  • Apologizing verbally or in written to others affected by the offence (like parents, extended family members, teacher, etc.)
  • Writing an essay on the effects of the offence committed (this helps the child to gain insight into the consequences of his/her offending behaviour)
  • Attending school or vocational skills training
  • Conducting community service work (for a certain number of hours after school for free in a way that benefits the community)
  • Compensating the victim in the form of a payment or through performing some services
  • Being supervised and guided by a social worker or probation officer
  • Participating in a peer education/youth mentoring programme
  • Enrolling in constructive leisure time
  • Participating in counselling or therapeutic treatment
  • Participating in life skills programme or other kind of competency development programme (such programmes help the child to addressing the underlying problems that contributed to her/his offending behaviour, like responsible decision-making, communication skills, problem-solving, conflict resolution, developing self-esteem and anger management)
  • Participation in a victim-empathy programme

According to the South Sudan Child Act (2008) diversion-conditions, called ‘diversion programmes’, have to meet a series of standards (section 159 ‘Diversion Programme Standards’), among others, ‘no interference with the child’s schooling’, ‘where possible impart useful skills’ and ‘no payment for admission to a diversion programme’.

2. Child Helpline

The Directorate of Child Welfare is in the process of introducing a Child Helpline in South Sudan. The child helpline will be a telecommunication and outreach service provided to children, or to adults contacting the helpline on behalf of children to access services aimed at the protection of children.

The core principle of a child helpline is the protection of children. It focuses on protecting the rights of child and should adhere to the principles outlined in the UNCRC. It provides emergency assistance in cases of child abuse and child rights violations and links children to long-term services.

The Child Helpline in South Sudan is intended to take the following forms;

  • Telephone-calls, text messages
  • In person- outreach and walk-in
  • Others- radio and television counselling, happy and sad boxes.

Objectives of the Child Helpline;

  • To receive complaints about Child rights violations from children and adults who a contacting the helpline on behalf of Children
  • To offer intervention service to children who are faced with violations in form of counselling, referral or direct intervention.
  • To carry out awareness raising and outreach activities about the child helpline in order to take child helpline services to the child and ensure accessibility.
  • Preventive mechanism through counselling,
  • To ensure collaboration with existing social services and the child protection systems that are available.

3. Child Mobilization Initiative

The Child Mobilization Initiative is aimed at protecting the rights and welfare of the children living and working on the streets in South Sudan. It’s geared towards getting these children off the streets, rehabilitating them and resettling them back into their communities. The goal is to have a South Sudan free of children working and living on the streets.
As part of the programs under the initiative, an assessment of the situation of these children had to be carried out. As part of the assessment, the Minister of Gender, Child, and Social Welfare plans to make visits to the 10 states to assess the situation of children there, she has so far visited 6 states and these include; Unity, Eastern Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Warrap.
The assessments were conducted between October 2013 and February 2014 through a joint effort of the National Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MGCSW), State Ministries of Social Development, child protection stakeholders and volunteers for the initiative

The main objectives of the assessment exercise was to;

  • Introduce the Children Mobilization Initiative program to the State Governments and seek their support towards the campaign.
  • Assessment of the current situation of Street Children in South Sudan.
  • Raising awareness about the plight of street children in South Sudan and
  • The need to address the challenges that these children face that lead them to the streets.
  • To call to action all relevant stakeholders to join efforts with government to protect and rehabilitate the children living and working on the streets with an aim of having a South Sudan free of Street Children.
  • To ensure participation of the community, Development partners, relevant Government ministries, civil society, private sector and religious groups in addressing the plight of children living and working on the streets.

4. Reintegration of former child soldiers and reunification of children affected by armed conflict.

The Directorate of Child Welfare is responsible for the reunification of separated and unaccompanied children, this is done with support of partners including UNICEF, Save the Children, ICRC, in conjunction with the State Ministry of Social Development who are the soul implementers of the FTR program.

The DDR Commission with support from the Ministry has developed a project proposal for the reintegration of ex-combatants, wounded heroes, women and children associated with armed forces.
The project goal is to enhance self-reliance of ex-combatants, the wounded heroes, women and children associated with armed forces.

Some of the project objectives are;

  • To rehabilitate the disabled ex-combatants by providing them with orthopedic mobility devices to ease their mobility.
  • To restore positive hope and mental capacity to live normally through counseling
  • To re unite CAAF/G with their families and communities.

The proposed activities under this proposal include;

  • Physical rehabilitation of the war disabled ex-combatants; This project will provide them with mobility devices and physiotherapy services
  • Counselling of the traumatized ex-combatants and the war wounded heroes
  • Family tracing and re-union of un accompanied minors and children associated with the armed groups
  • Women economic empowerment

6. Psychosocial support.

The Directorate with support from UNICEF has developed a psychosocial support tool-kit to be used in the assessment of psychosocial needs of children affected by the armed conflict in South Sudan.

The tool-kit has been pilot tested in Gudele – Juba and the roll out to other areas is under-way.