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Child rights and child law for health and allied professionals

This accredited five-day course provides cutting-edge education in child rights and child law for health and allied professionals – including up-to-date training on consent to medical treatment and the reporting of child abuse and neglect as outlined in the Children’s Act. It examines the relationship between children’s rights and child health, and aims to equip health and allied professionals with the necessary knowledge and skills to realise children’s rights in their daily practice.

The child rights curriculum was developed in partnership with the International Institute for Child Rights and Development. The project targets nurses, doctors and allied professionals in the public health care sector at primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

Course aims:

The aim is to build a network of nurses, doctors and allied professionals interested in promoting children’s rights and sharing best practice. The course will:

• deepen your understanding of child rights and child law in South Africa,

• enable you to apply this understanding in your daily practice; and

• enable you to advocate for children’s health both within and outside the health care system.

Six modules:

1. The relationship between child health and children’s rights.

2. Child rights principles and provisions in international law and the South African Bill of Rights.

3. Laws, policies and programmes that give effect to children’s rights in South Africa.

4. Making children’s rights a reality: in individual practice.

5. Making children’s rights a reality: within the health care system.

6. Making children’s rights a reality: addressing the social determinants of health.


Six courses had been conducted since 2011. Participants have included health professions educators from universities and other education institutions as well as paediatricians, school doctors, nurses, and clinical social workers who are all working in public sector health facilities.


Doctors and other professionals registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa can earn a total of 60 CPD ethics points. Social workers registered with the South African Council for Social Service professionals can now earn 20 CPD points.

A new, blended version of the course is included in the new Postgraduate Diploma in General and Community Paediatrics offered by the University of Cape Town for the first time in 2015.

Post-course support:

Tertiary institutions are encouraged and supported to integrate the materials in undergraduate and postgraduate curricula for health professionals. For this purpose an online learning website has been created where the course materials can be accessed by participating educators to enable the sharing of the materials between training institutions. 

Course fees:

The total course fee is R4,000 per participant which includes the five days of training, course materials and annual access to all course materials and further readings via an online learning website. UCT and other universities and nursing colleges qualify for a staff fee of R3 500. Nurses qualify for reduced fees of R2 500. Participants from outside of Cape Town will need to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.

Next course:

30 November - 4 December 2015

TO APPLY: or join the project's mailing list to receive news about future training.

To date, the project was funded by a combination of course fees and funding from the ELMA Foundation, the Vice-Chancellor's Strategic Fund,Atlantic Philanthropies, and the International Institute for Child Rights and Development (in 2010). A grant from the Cape Higher Education Consortium made it possible to feed the course material in 2015 into the University of Cape Town's new Post-graduate Diploma in Community and General Padediatrics.

Current project team: Lori Lake, Lucy Jamieson, Bee Williams, Paula Proudlock and Shanaaz Mathews.

Other collaborations: The project also works with the School of Child and Adolescent Health (SCAH) to strengthen child rights education within undergraduate and postgraduate medical curricula at the University. These efforts are complemented by a series of presentations at the SCAH Advocacy Symposium and other relevant fora to contribute to a growing cohort of child health advocates in South Africa.

Further reading

Children’s rights education: An imperative for health professionals
Lake L 2014
Curationis, 37(2): doi: 10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1268. - See more at:

Children’s rights education: An imperative for health professionals
Lake L 2014
Curationis, 37(2): doi: 10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1268

Children’s rights education: An imperative for health professionals
Lake L 2014
Curationis, 37(2): doi: 10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1268. - See more at:
Children’s rights education: An imperative for health professionals
Lake L 2014
Curationis, 37(2): doi: 10.4102/curationis.v37i2.1268. - See more at:

Know their rights, says Children's Institute
UCT Monday Paper [Online], 28/02/2011

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

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


Participants' feedback

The course is well structured, well conceptualised, inclusive and encouraged participation. Very impressed by the detail in the manual, additional resources and readings. Very simple, straightforward and clear message. I enjoyed the fact that it drew on experiences of the participants.
Paediatrician: Western Cape Department of Health

Since coming back from the workshop, I am a changed man and professional; I really take my work responsibilities seriously. I'm a child ambassador at the local and district hospitals. I now run training on the Children's Act and other related Acts to forensic, paediatric, and general nurses.
Clinical psychologist: Limpopo Department of Health
The course was really interesting and worthwhile. It made me think about changing certain attitudes and re-looking at my practice. It also got me thinking of child-related issues beyond my practice and considering more advocacy involvement.
Doctor: Western Cape Department of Health

I found the material clear and concise, and really appreciated the structure of the course. It simplified and contextualised child rights very well ... It inspired me to continue advocating for children. The difference now is that I have a sound grasp of what the rights are, and can take on the challenges with this knowledge.
Paediatrician: KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health
It was interesting to learn that children's rights are no less important than adults' rights, and the importance of consideration of our own assumptions about childhood. I also learnt to be more sensitive and caring when it comes to this subject.
Nurse educator
I really enjoyed this course a lot. I think it should be compulsory for any person working with children to learn about children's rights, consent and law, etc. 
Paediatrician: Western Cape Department of Health

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