DRC: a major step forward for social work and children’s rights

The Ministry of Social Affairs of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recently issued a ministerial order defining child protection procedures, roles and responsibilities that social workers must now follow regarding children’s protection. These procedures are based on an Operating Procedure developed by the IBCR and its local partners in 2018 as part of its multi-year project in the DRC. This order is in line with the national strategy for the social protection of vulnerable groups and the January 2009 law on children’s protection.

In recent years, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has undertaken several reforms to improve the child protection system, including the adoption of a law in 2009 that incorporates the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

The functioning of the child protection system is based on the way in which professionals act and interact to ensure that girls and boys are effectively protected, whether they are victims, witnesses, in conflict with the law and/or in difficult situations. The Operating Procedure aimed to clarify how the different interventions of social workers should be carried out at each stage of the children’s trajectory within social and legal institutions, in order to comply with the performance and quality requirements of services, and in accordance with the guiding principles of child protection and justice.

The integration of these procedures, roles and responsibilities into the legal framework by the Congolese State marks the recognition of the work carried out by local partners and the IBCR and is a real turning point in the way children will now be cared for. This decree also ensures the sustainability of these recommendations.

These procedures apply to social professionnals working in social institutions, and in child protection and sexual violence prevention structures, and have the following objectives:

– Promote the rights of the child and a response in accordance with his or her best interests
– Contribute to better child protection through the coordination of interventions with children and their families
– Provide social workers working with children a framework of professional and systematic procedures that comply with national child protection laws and standards

Their effective implementation aims to better protect the rights of girls and boys through comprehensive and adequate support.

More information on our project in the DRC