About the Advocacy Network

A group of service providers – Child-line, Child Welfare South Africa, the Disabled Children’s Action Group, the National Alliance for Child and Youth Care Workers, the National Early Childhood Development Alliance and the National Welfare Forum – in 2008 recognized that it was essential for social service practitioners to engage with the draft Social Service Professions Bill to advocate for improvements. Based on their experiences in the Children’s Bill campaign, the service providers wanted to harness their collective energies and approached the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, to co-ordinate the campaign.

As a result, the Social Service Practitioners Advocacy Network was established to:

  • promote the participation of social service practitioners in the law-making process;
  • strengthen social service practitioners’ networks and ensure that they have a co-ordinated response to the Social Service Professions Bill; and
  • build relationships between social service practitioners, government departments and Parliament.

The network focused on the following activities:

  • Circulating discussion documents that explain the content of the Bill and outline possible amendments.
  • Hosting workshops to discuss the content of the Bill and plan advocacy activities.
  • Sharing expertise on effective advocacy strategies.
  • Hiring legal experts to ensure that proposed amendments to the Bill are drafted in suitable legal formats.
  • Assisting sector representatives to prepare for and get to public hearings.
  • Monitoring parliamentary deliberations and sharing information on the debates by sending written updates or advising representatives.

Sub-groups for the different social services occupations were established. Each sub-group consisted of a network representative responsible for co-ordinating the advocacy strategy of the sector, and a technical expert who was responsible for drafting the final submission on behalf of the sector. The rest of the sub-group consisted of practitioners in the sector contributed to the advocacy strategies and the submission to Parliament.

Sub-groups for the following occupational groups were established:

Early childhood development practitioners

Probation officers

Social workers

Lay counsellors

Child and youth care workers.

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