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Current Projects

Children’s Act: Promoting implementation

This project aims to promote the implementation of the Children’s Act  (Act 38 of 2005, as amended by Act 41 of 2007) that came into operation on 1 April 2010. The main implementation challenges are a lack of adequate human resources, a history of a low budget allocation and expenditure base for social services for children, and the need for knowledge and understanding among practitioners and the public on how to interpret and apply the new law.

Monitoring and advocating for adequate funding

The budget allocations and expenditure trends of the nine provincial departments of social development have been monitored every year since 2007. In addition, donor funding flows for Children’s Act services were researched in partnership with the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE), National Treasury, UNICEF, USAID, and the Leadership and Innovation Network for Collaboration in the children’s sector (LINC) in 2011. The research findings are regularly communicated to government, donors and civil society to promote growth of available funding, and to emphasise the need to fund all geographical areas and service categories more comprehensively.

The project in 2011 also facilitated civil society presentations to Parliament on the Draft Policy on Financial Awards for Service Providers (which deals with government transfers to organisations providing services on government’s behalf). In 2012, deeper analysis of a number of topical areas were undertaken by focusing on government personnel, funding of non-profit organisations, early childhood development, the Isibindi roll-out, and the transfer of reform schools and schools of industry from the Education Department to the Department of Social Development.

Promoting knowledge and understanding

Legal guides and popular articles are published to provide practitioners and the public with knowledge and an understanding of how to interpret and apply the new law. The guides are used in training on the Act for students and in-service professionals (especially health and social services professionals), as well as for parliamentarians and their research staff, and non-profit organisations.

Mobilising the sector on new amendments

The Department of Social Development is consulting on amendments the Act to deal with implementation challenges. An Amendment Bill is expected to be tabled in Parliament in 2013. The project aims to keep partners and practitioners informed of opportunities to participate in this law reform process, and has been facilitating meetings with the sector to discuss amendments needed, and to plan for collective advocacy in relation to the department's expected timeframes.

Researching complex areas

The placement of and social assistance grants for orphaned children living with relatives, and appropriate care and protection for children on the street are two complex areas that have been in need of more in-depth research and attention. Different legal opinions on the interpretation of the relevant clauses in the Act and design flaws in some of the policy choices have resulted in service delivery challenges for these children. By building on earlier research by the Children’s Institute, ongoing socio-legal research and consultations with government and practitioners have assisted in proposing solutions that are in the best interests of all affected children.

Monitoring and advocating for adequate human resources

Drawing on a similar model used during the Children's Bill process, the project has been advocating for the recognition, regulation, growth and development of a range of professionals and practitioners who are responsible for implementing the new Act. A Social Service Practitioners Advocacy Network was set up to contribute to the growth and development of these human resources.

The DG Murray Trust, Atlantic Philanthropies, the ELMA Foundation, the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (with funding from USAID) and UNICEF South Africa have been supporting this work.

Current project team: Paula Proudlock, Lucy Jamieson and Lizette Berry.

For more information and resources on the Children's Act, visit the Law reform page.

 


Further reading

 

Children’s Act guide for drop-in centre managers
November 2012
Jamieson L & Berry L

Children's Act guide for early childhood development practitioners
November 2011
Berry L, Jamieson L & James M
Published in partnership with the Little Elephant Training Centre for Early Education (LETCEE)

Legal guide to age thresholds for children and young people
April 2011 (Edition 5)
Mahery P & Proudlock P 2011

Children’s Act guide for child and youth care workers
January 2011 (Edition 1) [File size: 2.84 MB]
Mahery P, Jamieson L & Scott K 2011
Published in partnership with the National Association of Child and Youth Care Workers

A guide to the Children's Act for health professionals
June 2010 (Edition 4)
Mahery P, Proudlock P & Jamieson L  2010

Children’s Institute submission to Parliament on the Draft Policy on Financial Awards for Service Providers
Budlender D, Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2011
Written submission for the Portfolio Committee on Social Development, Parliament, endorsed by a number of children’s sector organisations and presented to Parliament by Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect and Molo Songololo, September 2011. 

Funding the Children’s Act: Assessing the adequacy of the 2011/12 budgets of the provincial departments of social development
Budlender D & Proudlock P 2011 [research summary]

Funding the Children’s Act: Assessing the adequacy of the 2011/12 budgets of the provincial departments of social development
Budlender D & Proudlock P 2011 [research report]

A guide to the Children’s Act for child and youth care workers: Part two. Compulsory reporting obligations and removing a child in need of care and protection
Jamieson L & Mahery P 2010
In: Child and Youth Care Work, 28(6), November/December 2010: 20-22.

A guide to the Children’s Act for child and youth care workers: Part one
Mahery P & Jamieson L 2010
In: Child and Youth Care Work, 28(5), September/October 2010: 16-18.

Guide to the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005 (As amended by the Children’s Amendment Act 41 of 2007)
Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2008
Issued on 26 May 2008 during Child Protection Week and the Department of Social Development conference Getting South Africa Ready to Implement the Children’s Act.

 
Copyright © 2012 Children's Institute, University of Cape Town