Analysing the nature and extent of child-headed households in South Africa
There is widespread concern that the numbers of children living in ’child-headed households’ are rapidly increasing as a result of AIDS-related adult mortality in much of sub-Saharan Africa. This systematic analysis of representative national surveys over the period 2000 – 2007 aimed to shed light on the extent to which this is the case in South Africa, and to examine the phenomenon in more detail.
Caring Schools: Schools as nodes of care and support
The 28,000 schools across South Africa have huge potential to serve as 'gateways' for a range of services for children. This multi-year action-research project undertook to understand and facilitate an expanded role for school as 'nodes of care and support' to vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS and poverty. It aimed to help schools to mobilise role-players in their schools and communities to provide a greater level of care and support for children.
Child Health Services review
The Children's Institute in 2006 did a comprehensive review of all child health laws, polices, programmes and service evaluations. The document, together with a legislative analysis, form the base document for the discussion on “what should constitute basic health care services for children”, as defined in the Constitution. This work formed part of the overall Project 28, funded by the Open Society Foundation of South Africa.
Child Survival Project
The Child Survival Project was aimed at contributing to research and advocacy on child survival in South Africa.
Children and antiretroviral treatment
The Children's Institute in 2005 was commissioned to produce a discussion paper on whether children's health needs were adequately addressed in the government's "Comprehensive Care and Treatment for HIV and AIDS" plan.
Children’s Bill Project
The Children’s Bill Working Group, established by the Children's Institute in 2003, played a central role in promoting the participation of the children's sector in the making of a new Children's Act. Since the Act came into force in 2010, the focus has shifted to monitoring the implementation of the new law, particularly related to budget allocations and human resource capacity.
Dikwankwetla – Children in Action: Facilitating children's participation in the Children's Bill
This project facilitated a group of children from four provinces to participate in the deliberations during the legislative process for a new Children’s Act in South Africa.
Evaluations and case studies of the CI law-reform methodology
Getting research into policy and practice is a main objective of the Children's Institute. This project therefore over several years recorded the story of the Institute's involvement in policy and law-reform processes, together with analyses of the strengths and weaknesses of the advocacy methodology used in each process. The information gained from each evaluation or case study fed into new projects and communicated to national and international audiences through publications and occasional seminars.
The high rate of firearm injuries and fatalities to children in South Africa, coupled with the lack of updated research evidence on such injuries and fatalities, prompted the Children's Institute to undertake this study in 2007.
Foster care in the time of AIDS: Children 'in need of care' or in need of cash
This project, conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Actuarial Research at the University of Cape Town, drew on a combination of primary research and demographic projections, as well as a costing exercise, to consider the application of the foster care system to provide poverty alleviation for households caring for orphans.
Growing up in a time of AIDS: Abaqophi BakwaZisize Abakhanyayo Children's Radio Project
Established in 2005, this children's participation project is now run independently by the Zisize Educational Trust. It enables children in rural northern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa to use the power of radio and storytelling to describe and explore their lives and circumstances for a South African and – via the Worldwide Web – global audience.
Health and social services to address the needs of orphans and other vulnerable children in South Africa
In 2001 the Children's Institute was commissioned by the Department of Health to conduct research to inform an appropriate and co-ordinated national response to children experiencing orphanhood.
This project was part of a collaborative, inter-disciplinary study on the role of the urban environment in shaping illness, health and well-being, initiated by the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town. As one of the project partners, the Children’s Institute led a sub-project on Healthy Cities for Children.
Home truths: Residential care in the context of the AIDS pandemic
This project explored the forms that the 'last resort' – residential care for children – is taking in the face of the AIDS pandemic in South Africa, and considered these forms in relation to South African policy and legislation. In particular, the project focused on residential care set-ups that have emerged out of, and in response to the needs of, community-based initiatives.
Infants and HIV/AIDS in South Africa: The fragility of life
This project used ethnographic methods to explore in-depth the experiences of HIV-positive mothers and their infants, providing a full and careful description of the political, social, economic, cultural and moral context that affects the quality of their lives. The project aimed to inform policy and interventions made on behalf of such HIV-positive mothers and their infants.
Means to Live: Evaluating the targeting of poverty alleviation for poor children and their households
The Means to Live Project investigates the targeting aspect of selected poverty alleviation programmes relevant to socio-economic rights, and the consequences of this targeting for children. The government programmes examined are the Child Support Grant, the Housing Subsidy Scheme, the Free Basic Water policy, the No-Fee and School Fee Exemption policies, free primary health care and the National School Nutrition Programme.
Media and the representation of children affected by HIV/AIDS
This research examined issues of representation in mainstream South African press reporting on children affected by HIV/AIDS with the aim to contribute to more sensitive and accurate media coverage.
National Child Poverty Monitor
This work aimed to increase knowledge about child poverty dynamics in South Africa through data analysis to inform and evaluate pro-poor policy from the perspective of children, and child outcomes. It was an extension project to the Children Count – Abantwana Babalulekile project and part of an initiative of the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development, a partnership of the Presidency and the European Union, to support poverty-related research that could contribute to evidence for policy development.
National Children's Forum on HIV/AIDS
In August 2001, 90 HIV-affected and infected children from around South Africa participated in a National Children's Forum on HIV/AIDS. The event was aimed at providing children with the opportunity to engage with representatives from the national government, as well as members of Parliament.
National Directory of Services for children and youth infected and affected by HIV/AIDS
Early in 2001, the Children's Institute predecessor organisation, the Child Health Policy Institute, was commissioned by Save the Children UK to develop a database of services in South Africa for children affected by HIV/AIDS. The project included the development of a website (now discontinued) and the training of staff at the Department of Social Development on the maintenance of the site.
National Health Act
When the draft National Health Bill was released by the Executive for comment in 2002, it lacked any specific reference to children’s rights and children’s health care services. The Children’s Institute played a key role in promoting the prioritisation of children’s issues in this Bill.
National school health services policy
The predecessor of the Children's Institute, the Child Health Policy Institute, was involved in the development of a national school health policy since 1997. In 2000, the Child Health Services Programme was commissioned to develop a school health policy for the national Department of Health. The project was conducted through an extensive national participatory process.
Ordinary Politics: Race and opportunity in contemporary South Africa
In 2008, a series of events in South Africa indicated the lingering difficulties in trying to build a “united” and reconciled, post-apartheid society. The incidents ranged from racist video clips to xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in townships. They provided the main motivation behind this research collaboration between the Children’s Institute and Princeton University.
Piloting the Care Dependency Grant assessment tool
The Care Dependency Grant Assessment tool pilot was a tendered project for the Department of Social Development. The primary aim was to field test a new tool for assessing children’s eligibility for the Care Dependency Grant (CDG), a social grant for children with long-term health conditions who have permanent care needs.
Project 28: Promoting children's socio-economic rights
Project 28 was a rights-based project that focuses on promoting the realisation of children’s socio-economic rights in South Africa. The project aimed to seek clarity on the meaning of children’s socio-economic rights, particularly regarding the nature and extent of the government’s obligations to children.
Rapid appraisal of primary level health care services for HIV-positive children at public sector clinics in South Africa
This 2002 rapid appraisa investigated the extent to which some health and social interventions were available at that time to children attending public sector clinics in all nine provinces of South Africa.
Researching and developing systems to facilitate the identification, monitoring and support of vulnerable children
In 2002, the Children's Institute was commissioned by Save the Children UK to develop systems and tools to facilitate the identification, monitoring and support of vulnerable children.
Social Assistance Act and regulations
The Children’s Institute has focused on social assistance policy and law reform since 2000.
Social Security and Disability
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.
Social Service Practitioners Advocacy Network
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.
Theorising children’s participation: Learning across countries and across disciplines
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.
Western Cape Developmental Screening Programme
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.