Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare

Child Development Unit


 

The Child Development Unit (CDU) was set up in 1995. It ensures that the survival, protection, development and participation rights of the Mauritian child are upheld as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child whereby the best interests of the child shall be of primary consideration in all policies, programmes and actions pertaining to children’s welfare.
The State has the obligation to ensure parental role wherever parents fail to do so and this role is ensured by the CDU. Any child may be a potential victim of violence, and the CDU has to intervene promptly and is expected to provide comprehensive service delivery with a view to provide immediate assistance and follow up to the child.
Objectives
 
The Child Development Unit has as main objectives:
 
To provide for Protection Services to victims of violence, abuse and neglect on a 24 hr 7 days basis;
To provide for hotline service with respect to reporting of a case and counseling as appropriate;
To provide victims with follow-up sessions to ensure recovery from trauma and thereafter their re-insertion in society;
To prepare and support children victims of violence for legal encounters;
To provide for Early Childhood Development services to the cohort of 0-3 years;
To provide parents with life skills through a National Parental Empowerment Programme and Ecole des Parents;
To provide Alternative care to abused children, ranging from temporary removal to a shelter for children in distress, to foster caring and eventually, as a last resort, committal to a charitable institution;
To provide victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation with curative, rehabilitative and reintegrative services;
To provide tardy declaration of birth services to both children and adults who have not been declared within the prescribed time delay;
To provide periodic review of placement of children in shelters and charitable institutions;
To act as Central Authority in International Child Abduction cases;
To provide trained mentors to children seen to be in distress because of mild behavioural problems through a well spelt child Mentoring Programme; and
To provide community safety and community actions in Child Protection and Child Welfare in general through Community Child Protection Programme and outreach Programmes.
 
Our Approach
 
Working collaboratively to:
 
enforce the Child Protection Act 1994 and its attendant regulations whereby it is mandated by law to report to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, any case of suspected ill-treatment, abandonment, neglect, destitution, abuse, and sexual exploitation of children including Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children.
 
Shape and influence programmes/ actions pertaining to child protection and development at a national as well as regional level.
develop partnerships with other stakeholders namely governmental institutions, Non-governmental institutions, community organizations that have at heart the best interests of the Mauritian Child.
 
Reinforce existing networking system for the reporting / monitoring and evaluation of child violence cases.
 
Promote information, education and communication to the Mauritian citizens on the importance of child rights/ protection/ development services and facilities.
 
Services Offered
 
“The Government must make sure that the child is protected from any type of physical or mental violence ,injury or abuse ,neglect ,maltreatment or exploitation, while he/she lives in the care of parent(s), legal guardian(s) or any other person who has the care of the child.Special procedures must be set up to help the child if he/she has been the victim of abuse” Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
 
 
Protection
 
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development & Family Welfare has the mandate and authority, to investigate and intervene in cases of suspected child abuse. The Child Protection Act 1994 (amended 1998) confers upon the Permanent Secretary or any public officer designated by him to apply for an emergency protection order in respect of a child who is at risk. The CDU takes steps to ensure the child’s safety, namely through an application in the court for an Emergency Protection Order whose outcome may involve the removal of the child from his/her home and his/her placement in the temporary shelters of the Ministry.
Rehabilitation
 
Treatment and therapy
 
The Ministry offers counseling services to victims as well as to their families.
 
Children, victims of abuse, placed at the shelters, are provided with psychological support to facilitate their re-integration in society.
 
Monthly meetings are held with parents whose children are in the shelters to empower them socially and psychologically and thus preparing them for better parenting.
 
Children placed in shelters are provided with school and health facilities and they are made to participate in creative and recreative activities.
Residential Care Institution
Children with utterly non-stable families are also placed in other Residential Care Institutions which provide more permanent residential facilities following the issue of Committal Orders. These institutions are Charitable Institutions/Non-Governmental Organisations which work in collaboration with the Ministry and declared as place of safety as per the Child Protection Act. The Child Development Unit has a mandate to ensure that the institutions are operating within norms and standards for a place of safety and also to ensure that rehabilitation is undertaken between the children and their biological parents with a view of retuning them to their family.
Foster Care System
The Foster Care System aims at providing the opportunity to children victims of abuse and/or neglect to live in a substitute family on a temporary basis. The role of the foster parents is to give support to the child and help him to grow physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

The ultimate goal of the Foster Care System is to provide support to the biological parents with a view to rehabilitate them and to help the child to reintegrate in his/her family.
 
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
 
The protection of children also includes fight against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. In this context, the Ministry implements a National Plan of Action for CSEC. Thus, the Ministry provides specialized services to victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and also training for individuals who work with these children. A Drop-in-Centre to cater for recovery and rehabilitative needs of CSEC victims during the day is being converted into a residential one.
Early Childhood Development (ECD)
 
The Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare has an additional responsibility to cater for children in the cohort of 0-3 years. A study was commissioned on provision of early childcare in 1996, which has been used as a reference for the elaboration of the policy paper.

In this respect, the National Early Childhood Development (ECD) policy paper (0-3 years) was officially presented in 1998. It is being implemented to improve the child’s overall development through the introduction and adoption of integrated and holistic approach to ECD.

Based on this Policy Paper, an ECD Action Plan has been prepared. The Implementation of this Action Plan is being carried out by the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Section which was set up within the Child Development Unit (CDU) of the Ministry with a view to achieving the goals of the ECD Policy Paper.

The Institutions for Welfare and Protection of Children, Regulations 2000 under the Child Protection Act, with established norms and standards has been enacted in December 2000 to regulate childcare services including home-based facilities. It is mandatory for all Day Care Centres (DCCs) to be registered with the Ministry.

An Early Childhood Development Programme Guidelines (0-3 years) has been launched in November 2003. This Handbook gives sound directions on caring services and teaching approaches emphasising on play based learning and child-centred pedagogy.

Training has been given due attention with a view to promoting capacity building of Child Care Personnel to ensure a good development perspective of child growth and individual differences thus facilitating the transition from DCCs to pre-primary schools.
“Ecole Des Parents”
 
In an attempt to provide in a systematic manner for comprehensive and coherent parental empowerment, the Ministry has developed the “Ecole Des Parents” which is an offshoot of the National Parental Empowerment Programme.
 
The “Ecole Des Parents” in a nutshell portends to offer adequate and appropriate information regarding child development in general and also prevention from all forms of child violence. Parents will also be apprised of the support services available to respond to the various needs of parents during their different periods of parenting, ranging from pre-birthing to late adolescence through early childhood.
 
The Ecole des Parents are held in Social Welfare centres and Community Centres islandwide.The main topics discussed are health, nutrition,rights and responsibilities of children,child violence and parenting and challenges of parenting at the different developmental stages of children from pre-birth to 18 years.
 
The expected outcomes of the 16 sessions under the Ecole des Parents :
- Improved knowledge regarding child development and child rearing practices
- Transformed mindsets and attitudes toward the child and child rights
- The need to ascertain maximum support to ensure optimum development of the child who in turn shall be responsible parents to future generations of children.
Child Abduction
 
The Child Development Unit caters also for international child abduction cases. Mauritius adhered to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction on 01 October 1993. Officers at the Head Office enforce the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction Act. The main objectives of the Convention are to secure the prompt return of children wrongfully retained in another State and see to it that the rights of custody and of access under the law of one Contracting State are effectively respected in another State. The Child Development Unit is the Central Authority for Mauritius and as such has the following duties:
 
(i) To provide information on the whereabouts and the social background of the child.
(ii) To apply to Court for the return of the child as well as securing the effective exercise of the right of the child.
It is also to be noted that in this exercise there is need to constantly liaise with the Central Authority of countries involved under the Hague Convention.
(iii) Acceptance of accession of contracting parties by member states necessitate amendments of schedules of the Act and this is a regular feature and demands resources.
 
A high level Steering Committee to monitor acceptance of contracting States and cases have been set up. Many countries have acceded to the Hague convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction.
Community Child Protection Programme (CCPP)
 
The Community Child Protection Programme was launched in August 2007 and is currently being implemented in the nine districts of the Republic. This programme allows for proximity service and acts as a forum set up at district level as well as at grass root level to ensure national awareness with respect to child protection issues.
The main components of the programme are as follows:
 
District Child Protection Committee
The District Child Protection Committees has been set set up to take cognisance, review and monitor Child Protecrtion issues at the district level.It aims at ensuring the implementation of Government`s Policy related to survival ,protection ,development and welfare of children through the adoption of a participatory approach.
Community Child Watch Committee
The Community Child Watch Committees allows for proximity service and provides for surveillance of children exposed to any form of violence at local levelsIt operates as a network at regional level with the collaboration of a pool of volunteers ,social workers ,NGO`s ,community leaders and other key stakeholders and focuses on children who are vulnerable and exposed to risks and abuse.
 
Child Mentoring Programme
 
The Child Protection Act has been amended in 2008 to provide for the Child Mentoring Scheme.
 
Aims and objectives of the Programme :
 
-To help children between age 0-16 suffering from behavioural problems to have a stable future that they need and deserve
-To give children with difficulties the opportunity to have the care and guidance from a role model
- To improve the relationship between the children and their parents
-To cultivate a healthy and trusting relationship between the mentors and the mentees so as to bring about positive changes in the lives of mentees.
 
Child mentors have been identified and trained on ways to handle child mentees.
 
Sharing of responsibilities/Working together
 
The issue of protection and well-being of children is a matter of concern for all. In fact, child protection is the collective responsibility of the whole government and the community at large. Although the primary responsibility for rearing and supporting children should rest with families and communities, government should be seen as providing support where it is needed, either directly or through the funded non-government sector.
 
A high powered committee has thus been set under the chairpersonship of the Permanent Secretary and will comprise a schedule officer not below the level of Principal Assistant Secretary from the following Ministries/Departments –
 
(a) Prime Minister’s Office;
(b) Ministry of Social Integration and Economic Empowerment;
(c) Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;
(d) Ministry of Education and Human Resources;
(e) Ministry of Youth and Sports;
(f) Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institution;
(g) Ministry of Health and Quality of Life;
(h) Attorney General’s Office;
(i) Ombudsperson for Children’s Office;
(j) Police Department; and
(k) National Children’s Council.
 
The main objective of this Committee is to look into avenues of collaboration between all parties concerned to ensure rapid intervention in cases involving children. It will also be a forum whereby the roles and responsibilities of each party would be established with a view to give effect to collective action in dealing with such cases. The discussions held at the level of the High Powered Committee has culminated towards the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between this Ministry and other the Ministries/Department concerned.
National Children’s Council (NCC)
Child Development
 
A Creativity Centre for children has been set up at Mahebourg. The aim of the project is to have a Creativity Centre similar to the “Bal Bhawan” of India, to serve as a focal point for creativity, recreation and leisure activities for children. This project received the support of the Government of India through the technical assistance of experts.
Along with that the following international events are being celebrated:
 
-World Poetry Day
-Day of the African Child
-Universal Children`s Day
 
Capacity Building Programmes
 
The Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare provides regular Capacity Building/Training Programme for professionals and other stakeholders working with and for children mainly, on the Early Childhood Development Programme; the Commercial Sexual Exploitation; the Community Child Protection Programme;the different techniques of enquiry and investigation; stress managements; dealing with difficult clients, first aid amongst others and the component on Convention cut across all the Themes elaborated within the training held up till now.. Overall a total number of 5000 persons have been trained in these fields.
Preventive /IEC/Community Development /Development
 
The Ministry in collaboration with the National Children`s Council organises a series of activities such as Sports Day ,Colonie des Vacances ,outreach and developmental activities to foster the wefare and participation of children .International/Regional /Days /Events / Campaigns based on the promotion of the rights of the child are celebrated annually , to sensitise adults about children`s rights and their own duties towards them.
Emergency Contact Numbers
 
 
Child Development Services
Hotline
113
Child Protection Services (CPS)
Bell Village
213 0668
Goodlands
283 4900
Bambous
452 5900
Flacq
413 1390
Rose Belle
627 1600
Phoenix*
698 3700
 
 
*The CPS of Phoenix will move to the New Municipal Building of Vacoas by the end of March