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What is the 'South African Child Gauge'?

The South African Child Gauge® is an annual publication of the Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. It aims to report on and monitor the situation of children in South Africa, in particularly the realisation of their rights. The publication focuses on a different theme each year.

A number of key features are included every year: 

  • A series of essays on a theme to inform, focus – and sometimes direct – national dialogue on an issue which has particular impact on children’s rights in South Africa.
  • A summary of legislative developments pertaining to children’s rights in the year under review.
  • A Children Count – Abantwana Babalulekile data section which tracks statistics on the demographics of children, and their access to social assistance, education, housing, health and other services.
  • A reflection on the theme and the status of children in South Africa by a public figure or prominent person.


Why is there a need for it?

The South African Child Gauge® is the only publication which gives an annual snap-shot of the status of South Africa’s children and critically examines the links between their reality, South Africa’s commitment to children's rights, and society’s progress in this regard.

This is done through evidence-based commentary on the situation of children, and unique child-centred data. The set of socio-economic indicators aims at gauging improvements in the situation of children over time.


Who will find it useful?

The South African Child Gauge® presents research evidence in an accessible, non-academic format. It is aimed at multiple audiences: 

  • Government decision-makers, policy-makers, programme planners and practitioners;
  • academics, researchers and students;
  • donors and corporate social investment units;
  • civil society, in particular children’s sector organisations;
  • the news media; and
  • human rights watchdogs such as the South African Human Rights Commission.

What were previous themes?

 Download South African Child Gauge 2012



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Stepping up national development:
Prioritising essential services for young children

This issue highlights the importance of investing early to ensure the optimum development of young children, and defines an essential package of care and support services for young children and their families. A poster that maps the essential services, a policy brief, and a child-friendly summary accompany the publication.

 Download South African Child Gauge 2012


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Children and inequality:
Closing the gap

The essays in this issue outlines the extent and impact of income inequality on children's living conditions, care arrangements, health and education, and identifies interventions that could break the cycle of poverty and reduce inequality. The book is accompanied by a poster on child-centred indicators on poverty and inequality, a policy brief and a child-friendly summary.

 Download South African Child Gauge 2010/2011



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Children as citizens:
Participating in social dialogue

The essays in this issue show how participation in health, schools, government and the media can improve service delivery, strengthen democracy and contribute to children's optimal development. The book is accompanied by a double-
sided poster on children's participation, and a plain language summary suitable for children.

 Download South African Child Gauge 2009/2010



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Healthy children:
From survival to optimal development

This issue highlights the state of child health in South Africa and describes key challenges for child health outcomes. It gives examples of best practice; and makes recommendations that could help realise children's rights to health, survival and optimal development. A poster-
map of South Africa provides data on selected indicators on child health.

 Download South African Child Gauge 2008/2009



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Meaningful access to basic education

Focuses on the right to education and meaningful access; budgetary frameworks and school-fee waivers; children who are out of school; the relationship between poverty and exclusion; building effective partnerships with communities, and the need for a strong numeracy and literacy foundation. A poster-map gives data on selected education provisioning and outcomes indicators. 

Download South African Child Gauge 2007/2008 



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Children’s right to social services

This issue examines children's right to social services within the context of a developmental social welfare system. It describes and analyses the policies and the law (Children’s Act) that are aimed at giving effect to this right, and explores and makes recommendations on key budgetary, human resource and implementation challenges.

Download South African Child Gauge 2006 



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Children and poverty

This issue features key findings of the Children’s Institute Means to Live research, which reviewed barriers to access key government poverty alleviation programmes that benefit children. A pull-out poster-map of South Africa provides quick provincial reference to a few key child-centred socio-economic indicators.

 Download South African Child Gauge 2005



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Children and HIV/AIDS

The first issue drew exclusively on work from Children's Institute research and advocacy projects. It presents essays on antiretroviral roll-out to children; social security for children in a time of AIDS; schools as nodes of care and support for children affected by HIV/AIDS; and on children contextualising their experiences of HIV/AIDS and poverty while participating in the Children's Bill process.

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Readers' feedback

To the best of my knowledge, the South African Child Gauge is the only publication in South Africa that combines detailed empirical data presented in a user-friendly and accessible format, with insightful and thought-provoking research and commentary in the sphere of children’s rights.

Single best source that I am aware of on the subject area.

It's an excellent, current overview of the primary concerns for children in South Africa.

It makes me realise that as government we still have a lot to do.

I think they are excellent. They give a very short coverage, and I like the fact that they explain the data tables and come up with some sort of conclusion.

It is able to give us alternative picture of issues facing children in South Africa, government statistics are sometimes not an honest picture of enormity of the problems facing this country.

Quick Links

South African Child Gauge 2013

Children's Institute, University of Cape Town, 46 Sawkins Road, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa  |  DIRECTIONS

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