As seen during out Mzansi Edge expedition, ECD Centres play a key role in serving some of the most vulnerable groups in poverty stricken communities across South Africa. These Centres also play a critical role in keeping young children safe. With most of these Centres remaining closed post Covid-19 extreme lockdown, we find ourselves asking – who are keeping young children safe in communities when the parents are at work? Today we are talking with Dr Joan Van Niekerk – a long term advocate for the protection of young children in SA. Together we will be taking a closer look at the protection and safety of young children – how this has been affected by Covid-19 in the ECD sector, the impact of toxic stress and looking at why this is so critical to give them a good start in life
About Joan Van Niekerk
Currently self- employed as a Child Rights Consultant, assisting various NGOs in a consultative capacity. Other activities include a continuing focus on the development of law and policy relating to children and families, and training. Participated in all aspects of law reform in post-apartheid South Africa, via the South African Law Reform Commission. (SALRC) All law reform processes were premised on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights of the child. Trained and adapted or redeveloped training materials for use in a number of developing countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, and am also a member of a working group on child protection at the World Health Organisation. – Childline South Africa 2003 to 2014 | Childline KwaZulu-Natal 1991 to 2003 | UNISA Department of Social Work 1978 to 1991 | Lecturer UKZN – 1975,6,7. Various trainings in child protection, child law, social policy, therapeutic intervention with children and families nationally and internationally in both developing and developed countries.