The Children’s Institute in 2002 undertook a review of existing international assessment tools, which provided invaluable information to guide the development and design of a new practice tool for use in South Africa. The Institute, together with other academic role players, assisted the Department of Social Development in developing this new tool.
The Social Service Practitioners Advocacy Network (SSPAN) was established in November 2008 mainly to promote the participation of social service practitioners in the finalisation of a new Act governing the sector. The Children’s Institute housed the secretariat of SSPAN until May 2011, when the project was closed.
This academic network, funded by the Leverhulme Trust between 2009 and 2011, aimed to advance critical thinking on the participation of children in the public arena. It brought together a multi-disciplinary team of scholars from Brazil, India, South Africa and the UK. The Children’s Institute hosted the first in a series of three international seminars on children’s participation, and contributed to the publication of a special issue of an accredited journal, and a forthcoming book, on the topic of theorising children's public participation.
The work involved a formal evaluation of the Western Cape developmental screening programme on behalf of the provincial Department of Health. The evaluation was done in collaboration with the developmental disability division of the Child Health Unit at the University of Cape Town. While focused at provincial level, the evaluation had the potential to influence a national developmental screening policy.