WESTERN CAPE’S SOCIAL SERVICES DEVELOP CHILD-TRACKING SYSTEM

Computing

Time Quantum has announced that the ICT department of social services of the Provincial Administration of the Western Cape (PAWC), has developed and implemented a street child tracking system, using technology never tried in this area before. According to Time Quantum, the system - called the Child Youth Care Application (CYCA) - was developed to keep track of the movements of street children under the age of 18 who have committed a crime.

"The SA Constitution does not permit the imprisonment of juveniles," says Yaseen Schippers, the project manager at PAWC.

"Since street children do not carry any identification, and often lie about their names and ages, it can happen that they are arrested and imprisoned when committing a crime. With the CYCA system such a child can be identified when arrested, which can enable authorities to assist such a child and make the right decisions regarding social work. It also ensures that a child does not get lost in the welfare system."

The operation of the system is quite straightforward, says Schippers: "By placing a child’s finger on a biometric reader, unique identification information of that child is captured. This is then added to, and stored on, a central database. Each time that a child is then arrested, found or assisted, information regarding the incident is added to the database. Because of the reliability and uniqueness of each person’s fingerprint, there can be no confusion as to the child’s history and movements."

The programme was developed with the help of MultiOnics and Time Quantum, says Shafiq Daniels, MD of Time Quantum.

"Time Quantum provided the human resources for the programming of CYCA. The system is also an integrated solution that meets the province’s HR, finance and citizen relationship management requirements for the city," he adds.

Three phases are being planned, says Schippers. "This first phase, involving keeping track of children, has been successfully implemented. There are eight ‘gateway’ points in and around Cape Town where the technology is being used, including courts and places of safety.

"Phase two has the ultimate objective of actually keeping track of all street children, and not only those with a police record. A third phase aims to keep track of all abused and neglected children."

The CYCA system, Schippers says, allows the user to search the centrally based database over the Web, enabling the departments of Justice, Prison and Education to access the system easily.

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