Summit to discuss improving SA family structures

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014

Government and civil society will come together this week to thrash out ways to deal with difficulties facing families in South Africa.

The Department of Social Development will this week convene a three-day Summit on Families, held under the theme: “Building stronger families to promote healthy family life and fight poverty”.

The summit takes place at the start of Social Development Month in October and will bring together social experts and practitioners, including research and higher learning institutions, traditional leaders, government representatives, faith-based organisations and non-governmental organisations, amongst others.

African Union country representatives and The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) will also participate in the summit, to offer an international perspective.

The summit is also hosted on the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family.

White Paper on Families

In June 2013, Cabinet approved the White Paper on Families which provides a policy framework on how South African families should be supported in order to flourish and function at their best. 

The White Paper defines the family as a societal group that is related by blood, adoption, foster care or the ties of marriage, civil union or cohabitation, and go beyond a particular physical residence.

The White Paper views the family as a key development imperative and seeks to mainstream family issues into government-wide, policy-making initiatives in order to foster positive family well-being and overall socio-economic development in the country.

It has three key objectives, to enhance the socialising, caring, nurturing and supporting capabilities of families so that their members are able to contribute effectively to the overall development of the country and secondly empower families and their members by enabling them to identify, negotiate around, and maximize economic, labour market, and other opportunities available in the country.

Lastly, the policy aims to improve the capacities of families and their members to establish social interactions which make a meaningful contribution towards a sense of community, social cohesion and national solidarity.

The summit will conduct a comparative analysis of the best practice models from different stakeholders in addressing the challenges facing families as well as strengthened coordinated response for better outcomes for families.

Social Development Month aims to increase access to and utilisation of social services through direct intervention by building effective service delivery partnerships between government, communities and other role players.

The summit will be held at Emperors Palace in Kempton Park. –