Despite a commitment to child rights and a significant increase in child-focused policies, laws and programmes, much remains to be done to fulfil children's rights in South Africa. The University of Cape Town (UCT) supports social responsive research, and has a long and proud track-record in providing an evidence base for policies and programmes that can help vulnerable communities, especially children.

Against this background, the Children's Institute aims to harness the collective academic capability at UCT to promote enquiry, to build capacity through teaching and training, and to present evidence to guide the development of policies, laws and interventions for children. In positioning itself as an independent broker of evidence, the Institute provides information to those who are advocating on behalf of children, and engages in own evidence-based advocacy.

The work of the Children's Institute takes the best interests of the child into account and is aimed at ensuring that children are given primary consideration by society. In particular, the Institute pays special attention to promoting children's participation in its work, and advocates for their voices to be heard in decisions affecting their lives.