ECD Specialist at the National Development Agency (NDA) Thando Ngqase explained the following steps needed to be taken to register an ECD centre:
Step 1: Register the ECD as a Non-Profit Organisation (NPO)
Registering an ECD centre as an NPO involves setting up a committee, and completing an NPO application form obtained from the DSD offices or website (http://www.dsd.gov.za/npo/). The applicant must write a constitution for the NPO, an example of which can be downloaded from the national DSD website. Once the form and constitution are completed, the applicant must submit these to the DSD. The applicant will then receive an NPO certificate in six weeks.
Step 2: Assessment of the ECD centre and facilities
The applicant must then approach the environmental office at their municipality for the assessment of their property or building from which he or she will run ECD programmes. The environmental health official is tasked with assessing the ECD centre to determine whether it meets the infrastructure norms and standards in housing children in safe environments. A facility should provide 1.5 square metres per child according to these standards.
Once the environmental health official has completed the assessment, he/she will then issue a health certificate. This certificate will indicate that the ECD centre can also house a specific number of children.
Step 3: Apply for Partial Care Registration
The applicant can apply for Partial Care Registration at the regional DSD office once he/she has an NPO certificate, constitution, business plan (DSD provides template for this) health certificate, copy of the plan of the building and proof that prospective staff members have been checked against the register of sexual offenders. The applicant will be assigned a social worker who will check the validity of the centre. The applicant must also register any programmes that he/she will be running from the ECD centre. The Partial Care Registration will then be issued.
The DSD has provisions for Conditional Registration for centres that do not meet all the required norms and standards. The centre is given 24 months to improve its standards while it is supported or subsidised to reach full registration status.