Search

Home > Projects > Completed Projects > Foster care in the time of AIDS: Children 'in need of care' or in need of cash
Completed Projects

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.

The findings of the study suggest that the provision of grants for orphans as a category of children distinct from other children is inappropriate, and argue in particular against the continued use of the foster care system to deal with the poverty-related needs of orphans.

The working paper suggest that, given the high level of child poverty in South Africa, a social security system that directs interventions on the basis of children's orphanhood:

  • mistargets crucial resources;
  • is inequitable;
  • is located in questionable assumptions about children's circumstances;
  • risks further overburdening the child protection system; and
  • is not, as a whole, a cost-efficient way of adequately supporting the largest possible number of poor children who require assistance.

It is argued that the most equitable, accessible and appropriate mechanism for supporting children during the AIDS pandemic would be to:

  • extend the Child Support Grant (CSG) to all children; and
  • remove the means test currently used to determine eligibility for the CSG.

This project was conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Actuarial Research at the University of Cape Town, and was funded by the HIV/AIDS Directorate: National Department of Health; the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
 

Further reading

Children 'in need of care' or in need of cash? Social security in the time of AIDS
Meintjes H, Budlender D, Giese S & Johnson L
South African Review of Sociology 36(2), 2005.

Child protection and social security in the face of poverty and the AIDS pandemic: Issues pertaining to the Children's Bill [B70-2003]: A fact sheet
Meintjes H & Van Niekerk J, February 2005

Extending the Child Support Grant to children under 18 years: A fact sheet
Rosa S & Meintjes H, September 2004
Prepared for the Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS).

Income grant can support AIDS care
Boulle A & H Meintjes 2004
In: Mail & Guardian, Aug 27 - Sept 2 2004, p.3.

Social security for children in the context of AIDS: Questioning the State's response
Meintjes H, Budlender D, Giese S & L Johnson
AIDS Bulletin 13(2), July 2004.

Children 'in need of care' or in need of cash? Questioning social security provisions for orphans in the context of the South African AIDS pandemic
Meintjes H, Budlender D, Giese S & Johnson L, December 2003
A joint working paper by the Children's Institute and the Centre for Actuarial Research, University of Cape Town.