The Department of Social Welfare is responsible for the provision and promotion of quality social welfare services aimed at alleviating poverty, reducing destitution, promoting family values and reducing juvenile delinquency.
The Ministry of Community Development and Social Services through the Department of Social Welfare has the responsibility and mandate of providing social protection services to the vulnerable and incapacitated individuals, families, households and communities. The Ministry through the Department is primarily concerned with providing assistance to those living in extreme poverty, affected with HIV and AIDS, disability, old age, vulnerable children and orphans. The Department of Social Welfare aims at providing such disadvantaged individuals and groups with essential social services to society, while also addressing juvenile delinquency and crime such as, domestic violence, human trafficking and other aspects that affect the wellbeing of society on a daily basis.
The Department of Social Welfare contributes mainly to the implementation of the poverty and vulnerability sector of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) with a focus on two pillars under the 2014 National Social Protection Policy which are the Social Assistance and Protection pillars. The demand for social welfare services cannot be over emphasised with the population increase, rising poverty levels, disease burden and other risks and shocks on the Zambian people.
The Department provides social welfare services under two main service areas: Statutory and Non-Statutory Services.
The Department’s programmes are divided into two, namely statutory and non-statutory services. Statutory services involve the administration of pieces of legislation and the services include correctional services, adoption, foster care, anti-human trafficking and sexual and gender based violence.
These are services which involve juvenile justice administration for children who come in conflict with the law under the age of 19 years. The officers in the Ministry, Zambia Police and the Courts provide an appropriate order for juveniles that undergo rehabilitation.
The Ministry executes the rehabilitation programmes and probation services through the two schools that are run by MCDSS namely Insakwe Approved School for Girls in Ndola and Nakambala Approved School for Boys in Mazabuka.
The following are the pieces of legislation or Statutes governing children’s rights and protection under statutory services:
Non-statutory services are those that are not backed by pieces of legislation such as the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS), the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Scheme and Care for Older Persons and Places of Safety.
The Ministry oversees the implementation of programmes aimed at attaining equality full participation and empowerment of persons with disabilities in society. This is in line with the United Nations Persons on the Rights of people with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which Zambia ratified in 2010 This state instrument has being domesticated into the Disability No 6 of 2012 of the laws of Zambia. Further the Ministry works with partner organisations such as the Norwegian Association of the Disabled (NAD) and the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD).
The Department of Social welfare currently has three (3) units/sections managing all the functions that fall within the Departments mandate.