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Child-Centred Analysis of Government’s Budgets

South Africa’s comprehensive range of laws, policies and programmes to realise children’s rights need to be adequately resourced in order to reach all children in need. This project has been conducting annual child-centred analyses of government’s budgets to assess whether the state is allocating and spending adequate budgets to realise children’s rights. Ultimately, the project wants to contribute to ensuring that adequate resources are allocated for the effective delivery of services to children, and that these resources are spent in children's best interests.

The Children’s Institute and the Centre for Actuarial Research (CARE), both at UCT, and the Community Agency for Social Enquiry (CASE) started the project in 2007 with a focus on the budgets for implementing the Children’s Act. This requires annual analyses of the trends in allocations and expenditure in the budgets of the nine provincial departments of social development. In some instances, more detailed analysis is done, such as the analysis of the Free State budget in 2011 when that province’s Children’s Act budget was at the centre of a legal dispute between the state and non-profit organisations dependent on state funding for delivering social services.

In 2010, UNICEF South Africa supported analysis of the budgets of four sectors that are responsible for key child services: Justice, Social Development, Health and Education. The new Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities was also covered. A National Treasury-hosted discussion with stakeholders on the potential impact of government’s budgets on children’s rights resulted in recommendations for changes to the budget process and content to promote a child-centred approach to budgeting (see link below).

Other related research focused on donor funding flows for Children’s Act services (linked below).

To date, the research and dissemination of findings had been funded by UNICEF South Africa, the DG Murray Trust, and CASE (with funding from USAID).

In 2014, our long-time collaborator, Debbie Budlender undertook the analysis with an associate.

Further reading

Budlender D & Proudlock P 2011 [research summary]

Budgeting for social welfare in South Africa’s nine provinces, 2010/11 – 2016/17
Budlender D & Francis D 2014

Summary: Are children’s rights prioritised at a time of budget cuts? Assessing the adequacy of the 2013/14 social development budgets for funding of Children’s Act services
Budlender B & Proudlock P 2013

Are children’s rights prioritised at a time of budget cuts? Assessing the adequacy of the 2013/14 social development budgets for funding of Children’s Act services
Budlender B & Proudlock P 2013

Funding the Children's Act: Assessing the adequacy of the 2013/13 social development budgets for funding of Children's Act services
Budlender B & Proudlock P 2012 [research report]

Summary: Funding the Children's Act: Assessing the adequacy of the 2013/13 social development budgets for funding of Children's Act services
Budlender D & Proudlock P 2012 [research summary]

Budgeting for children’s care, development and protection
Proudlock P 2012
Presented at South African Human Rights Commission and UNICEF's Budget breakfast, 23 February 2012.

Visit the Budget monitoring section on the Children’s Act web page to download the all the annual research reports on the budget available for implementing the Children’s Act.