Early Childhood Development (ECD) - Registration of Partial Care Facilities | Western Cape Education Department
Early Childhood Development (ECD) - Registration of Partial Care Facilities

ECD Helpline: Monday – Friday | 07h30 – 16h00 | tel. 0861 819 919
Address: 1 North Wharf Square, 2 Lower Loop Street, Foreshore, Cape Town

Early Childhood Development is the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth and development that occurs in children from birth through to school going age.

Partial care is when an individual, with or without compensation, assumes responsibility for overseeing more than six children on behalf of their parents or caregivers during specific hours of the day or night, or for a temporary period as agreed upon between the parents or caregivers and the service provider.

Registration of Partial Care Facilities | Who may register

The following persons and/or organisation’s may register Partial Care Facilities:

  1. Any person or organisation intending to establish a partial care facility.
  2. Registered partial care facilities whose registrations are due for renewal.
  3. Conditionally registered partial care facilities applying for full registration.
  4. Registered partial care facilities found to be non-compliant with the relevant legislation and need to close.
  5. Partial care facilities previously closed and intending to be reinstated.

Required Documentation

  1. Form 11 - Prescribed application form completed and signed by the applicant.
  2. Business Plan containing the following information:
    1. Daily activity plan
    2. Fee structure
    3. Hours of Operation
    4. Staff composition and qualifications of staff
    5. Disciplinary policy reflecting the disciplinary measures imposed towards children at the partial care facility.
  3. Constitution containing the following information:
    1. The name of the partial care facility
    2. The type/s of services to be provided
    3. The composition, powers and duties of the management board
    4. The powers, obligations and undertaking of management to delegate all authority regarding care, behaviour management and development of children to the head of the partial care facility, where applicable.
    5. The procedure for amending the constitution
    6. A commitment from the management to ensure compliance with the national norms and standards for partial care facilities reflected in Annexure B of the Children's Act 38/2005
  4. Lease Agreement (where applicable)
  5. Approved Building Plan by the local municipality with a visible stamp or a copy of the building plan that has been submitted for approval if the application for approval of the building plans is still under consideration.
  6. Emergency plan
    1. Reasonable precautions to protect children from risk of fire, accidents, and other hazards.
    2. Emergency plans must include evacuation procedures.
  7. Zoning certificate
    1. Clearly indicating that the premises is zoned for the intended purpose ("Place of instruction"), signed and dated.
    2. In instances where the applicant is in possession of an occupation certificate, it can substitute the occupancy certificate.
  8. Fire and safety certificate | Fire report
    1. Fire clearance certificate must be on the letter head of the Fire Department, dated and signed.
    2. The Fire report must clearly indicate the facility is found to be safe in terms of the National Building regulations.
  9. Health clearance certificate/report: Confirming the clearance of environmental health and safety risks. The concerned document must also indicate the number of children, the ages of the children, and special needs the building is able to accommodate in line with the National Health Act (61/2003). The health clearance certificate/report must not be dated more than I year prior to the date of application.
  10. Food Premises Certificate: Applicable to Partial Care Facilities where food is being prepared.
  11. Clearance certificates in terms of the National Child Protection Register of all staff and any other persons who are in contact with the children at the partial care facility, in terms of Section 126 of the Children’s Act no. 38 of 2005.
    CPR Consent Form- Section 125 of the Children’s Act 38/2005
2023 Service Benefits-Lines Yelo to Bloo - thin.jpg

Registration Process

  • New applicants must contact the relevant SSO for guidance in terms of registration requirements and processes.
  • SSOs shall provide the potential applicant with guidance, support and a registration package consisting of:

  • SSO records all applicants on a data base reflecting the identifying particulars, address of the person and/or facility, current status and date of enquiry.

The following documents must be obtained from the respective local municipal offices by the applicants:

  • Approved Building Plan
  • Zoning certificate
  • Fire and safety certificate
  • Environmental Health clearance certificate
  • Food Premises Certificate.
  • Health and Wellness License (in case of centres accommodating children with special needs) from the Department of Health and Wellness.

Form 11 (application form) must be completed, signed and dated when all required documents are received. Applicants must submit completed applications to the SSO in the respective areas for assessment thereof.

  • After receipt of the application, the SSO (social service professional) conducts a site visit at the partial care facility.
  • The SSO will complete a professional report with a recommendation based on the documented application and observations during the onsite visit.

In terms of Children 's Act 38 of 2005 s.82, the Head of Department must within six months of receiving the application consider an application for registration/renewal or rejects the application.

A function shift is a purely administrative process where functions, or roles and responsibilities, are transferred from one Minister to another.

A proclamation is a legal document that the President or Premier signs. A Proclamation cannot change any contents in an Act, but only changes the reference from one Minister to another. In the case of ECD, it will mean that every time Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of the Children’ Act mentions the Minister or MEC of Social Development, it will now refer to the Minister or MEC of Basic Education. This will mean that the DBE will become responsible for everything that DSD was responsible for in terms of delivering, funding, registering, monitoring and supporting the ECD sector.

During the February 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa directed that “the responsibility for ECD centres will be migrated from the Department of Social Development to the Department of Basic Education”. This statement of commitment by the President has created an opportunity to accelerate provisioning and redesign the systems for state monitoring and support for ECD.

The President’s mandate is derived from a variety of sources, namely the Bill of Rights as articulated in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, the resolutions of the 52nd, 53rd and 54th National Conferences of the African National Congress, the pronouncements of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 on ECD institutional architecture, and the commitments made by the Governing Party in its 2019 Election Manifesto. Indeed, this is in line with many other countries that have moved from viewing ECD less as a child protection function and more as an early learning function that is led and coordinated by national ministries of education. Further, consolidating early learning within the DBE would streamline the continuum of education, and create positive pressure for greater resource allocation to ECD as a mechanism for preventing the educational disparities we currently see in the Foundation Phase grades and beyond.

DSD will remain responsible for the functions related to social support and care, and will provide support to ECD programmes similar to the support that they are currently providing to learners in schools.

The DBE will remain responsible for the functions that they originally had, and will also become responsible for some of the functions that DSD had about overall leadership and coordination, delivery, regulation, registration, monitoring and support.

Historically the DBE has been responsible for the early learning component of ECD. The National Curriculum Framework from birth to four (NCF) has been developed and practitioners are being trained and supported in delivering the NCF. The DBE is also training ECD Practitioners in various NQF levels for the purpose of improvement in qualifications and will continue with these functions and strengthen the monitoring and support aspects of these functions.

Department of Social Development

Functions remaining 

  • Child protection;
  • Psycho-social services;
  • Child support grant;
  • Access to social services to prevent and address risk factors;
  • Parental support programmes; and
  • Partial care facilities that relate to afterschool services, private hostels and temporary respite care centres.
Department of Basic Education

Functions remaining 

  • Development of early learning curriculum;
  • Continuity and synergy between early learning and Grade R;
  • Integration of key health messages in the school curriculum;
  • Training, implementation and monitoring relating to curriculum implementation for birth to four-year-olds.

New functions 

  • Ensuring universal availability and adequate quality of, and equitable access to, inclusive learning opportunities; and
  • Development, delivery, regulation, registration, quality monitoring, improvement and evaluation of ECD programmes.

In terms of the new functions, the DBE will take 2021/22 as a planning and preparation year. During this year, the different branches will be preparing to deliver these functions, as well as prepare and develop the systems that are required for delivering the ECD function. An implementation plan is currently being developed and we will be workshopping these plans with the sector throughout the year.

Although the Proclamations have been signed now, they will only take effect from 1 April 2022. Nothing will change until 1 April 2022. Any changes that will happen on 1 April 2022 will be communicated well in advance.

The ECD Integrated Policy of 2015 will remain applicable and in force. The DBE will review the policy to ensure that the function shift is reflected in the policy. What this will mean is that the DBE will need to become the lead Department in the Policy. The roles and responsibility shift between the DBE and DSD will also need to be reflected in the Policy. All changes that will be made to the Policy will follow the correct procedure and the sector will be thoroughly engaged on these changes.

ECD practitioners are currently employed by ECD programmes and this will remain the case come 1 April 2022. The DBE will not become responsible for paying the salaries of ECD practitioners, this will still be the responsibility of the ECD programmes. ECD programmes will remain the employers of ECD practitioners after the ECD function shift.

The DBE is not expecting ECD practitioners to upskill themselves before 1 April 2022. We will be developing an ECD Human Resource Strategic Workforce Plan in which we will outline the qualifications that are available for ECD practitioners; the expectations in terms of qualifications at different levels; flexible opportunities for training and development including recognition of prior learning; clear career paths and conditions of service. This plan will only come into effect in 2023 and will be thoroughly workshopped with the sector before it is adopted. This means that the ECD Qualifications of NQF Level 4 and NQF Level 5 are still relevant, and the Department would like to encourage ECD practitioners to continue with their studies towards these qualifications.

Since the largest majority of ECD programmes are owned by non-governmental organisations, communities and private institution rather than the Department of Social Development, they will not be affected by the function shift. Rather, the DBE will become responsible to support, subsidise and regulate the programmes according to the specifications in Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of the Children’s Act.

In 2021, the legal teams in the provinces will work on the transfer of the Service Level Agreements between the Provincial Departments of Social Development and the ECD programmes. With this, they will determine the best way to transfer the registration status of currently registered programmes.

However, the DBE recognises the complexities around the registration process in the ECD sector. The registration of ECD facilities and programmes is regulated by the Children’s Act and DBE will therefore need to implement these regulations until we have had the opportunity to make the required changes. The DBE is committed to investigating improvements to both the registration process and the registration regulations to ensure that there is a single-streamlined process that is standardised across the provinces.

Come 1 April 2022, the DBE will become responsible for paying the subsidies exactly the same as how the DSD has been doing. Over the next two years, the DBE will, however, be reviewing the subsidy model to see whether it is the best way to be supporting ECD programmes. We recognise that the sector has been under-funded and we will be doing a baseline assessment this year to better understand how we can further increase support to the sector. Once we have a proposed funding model, we will be workshopping it extensively with the sector before rolling it out. This will likely only be in 2023.

The 2015 National Integrated ECD policy already specifies that the DBE is primarily responsible for the implementation of curriculum development, support and training, and the roll-out of the Reception Year (Grade R). The function shift will therefore not change our responsibility.

We want to strive to provide all children in South Africa with access to quality ECD programmes and this will rely particularly on the implementation of the National Curriculum Framework (NCF); National Early Learning and Development Standards (NELDS); the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy (ECD Policy) and The Policy on Minimum Requirements for Programmes Leading to Qualifications in Higher Education for Early Childhood Development Educators.

In line with international best practice, the DBE is investigating the implementation of a quality assurance system that will support and guide practitioners with the delivery of quality early learning and care.

To develop evidence-based plans for Human Resource Development and the Funding Models, the DBE needs to know how many ECD programmes and ECD practitioners there are. The DBE will therefore be conducting an ECD Census to make sure we include ALL ECD Programmes (registered and unregistered, centre-based and non-centre-based) in our database. This information will help us to know where we need to focus our support and where we need to expand access.

In addition, the DBE also needs to understand the quality of care and early learning services being offered at ECD programmes. The DBE will therefore also be undertaking an ECD Quality Assessment in a sample of ECD programmes. The Assessment will score the quality of programmes in five domains: learning environment; learning and teaching; relationships and interactions; curriculum; and teaching strategies. The results of this Quality Assessment will help the DBE to understand the current realities and challenges that ECD programmes and ECD practitioners are facing.

We would like to appeal to all ECD programmes to assist us in these two activities. The more information we can get from the sector, the better we can plan to support the sector.

After the function Shift the WCED has continuously funded eligible ECD sites, in order to receive funding the ECD facility must ensure compliance by having the relevant registration (conditional or full), signed a Transfer Payment Agreement, handed in an Audited Financial Statement and report quarterly to the WCED.

Registration of ECD facilities has continued, the WCED contacts Social Sector Organizations to assist unregistered and reregistration with the registration process. The compliance certificates must be sourced from the local municipality, the by-laws differ from one municipality to the next. ECD facilities are encouraged to adhere to the local municipality by-laws for their area. ECD forums and individual sites are invited to jamborees to explain the registration process. Once the portfolio of evidence with all compliance documents are ready it is submitted to the WCED for checking, applying the Norms ad Standards and issuing the relevant certificate.

All registered sites are monitored and evaluated within a cycle, there are various methods administered at ECD Facilities. Through monitoring and evaluation ECD sites are upskilled, supported and developed. The large number of registered and unregistered sites within the province needs to be serviced by the ECD directorate.

The WCED has training rendered by the six Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges in the province for the National Curriculum Framework: Birth to Four Years (NCF) and the National Qualification Framework: ECD Level 4 and 5. The training has allowed many practitioners to improve their qualifications and to upskill themselves on the NCF.

Non-centre based (Playgroups, Home-based, Toy Libraries) activities has been supported by the WCED to ensure coverage and access to all vulnerable children in the Western Cape. In order to early identify children at risk of not achieving their milestones certain programmes in identified areas has been introduced. The programmes have been successfully implemented with the intended outcome.