What is “a family”? In South African law, the answer – or rather, answers– are broad. For example, it’s not considered unusual or unacceptable for children to move between kin and to be raised at different stages by grandparents, parents and other relatives. Kinship care is a widespread and customary practice in South Africa, as it is elsewhere in southern Africa.
South Africa is one of a small number of developing countries that’s formulated a national policy focused on families. A family policy, broadly defined, refers to everything a government does to promote the well-being of families, such as social grants, family services, or social housing. The country’s policy – known as the White Paper on Families – has three priorities. They are promoting healthy family life, strengthening the family and preserving the family.
On 29 November 2018, the Constitutional Court will consider the constitutionality of the use of corporal punishment in the home. The Constitutional Court has prohibited corporal punishment in detention settings in 1995 and in schools in 2000, and this case presents the opportunity to prohibit its use in the home.
UCT News [Nov. 20, 2018] -- More than 6 million of the country’s children regularly go hungry, with dire consequences for their capacity to thrive – or even survive – according to the 2018 South African Child Gauge, which urges the government to move swiftly to address the gaps in family services.
These children live below the food poverty line which, in real terms, means their families cannot provide even the minimum amount of nutrition they need.
Very few mothers in South Africa exclusively breastfeed for the first 6 months of life as recommended by the World Health Organisation – with only 1 in 4 babies exclusively breastfed by the time they are 4 – 5 months old. And these low exclusive breastfeeding rates contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition, diarrhoea, pneumonia and under-five mortality in South Africa.
There are still 12 years to go before the UN sustainable development goals are finalised. For South Africa to meet the targets it must focus on providing evidence-based programmes for the most vulnerable and accelerate access to essential services.
Our overall evaluation is that South Africa has made significant progress with some targets. But it’s still lagging far behind with others.
Many South African children have experienced sexual, physical or emotional abuse before they turn 18. While reports of child sexual abuse usually engender moral outrage, physical abuse of children goes largely unnoticed, particularly when such abuse occurs in the home and is seen as ‘discipline’. As we approach this year’s Child Protection Week, it is critical to recognise the mounting social and economic costs of physical abuse of children to the country.
"Where fundamental human rights are violated, we as a society need to stand up particularly when the rights violation affects the most vulnerable members of our society." CI's Stefanie Röhrs writes about how violence against children is undermining the realisation of their human rights.
This review presents research evidence on child poverty in South Africa. It includes discussions on key concepts used in child poverty research, quantitative studies about child poverty in South Africa, and some of the keys issues around children and inequality. It also highlights some of the key studies that have focused on the Child Support Grant, an important poverty alleviation tool.
The Children's Institute seeks to appoint a full-time Research Officer (lecturer level) on academic conditions of service with strong quantitative skills and experience in applied research.
Child Death Reviews (CDRs) use an intersectoral approach to understand and prevent child deaths. This project has been implemented by the Children’s Institute in collaboration with the Division of Forensic Medicine, University of Cape Town for the Western Cape and the Forensic Pathology Services, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health for Kwa-zulu Natal.
The 2017 South African Early Childhood Review is now out! The review contains statistics on over 40 indicators covering the demography of young children (0 – 6 year olds), their living environments, and service delivery across various sectors.