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.

The Working Group's advocacy campaign on the Children's Bill aimed to:

  • Promote the participation of the children's sector in the law-making process.
  • Promote the use of evidence in the law-making process.
  • Characterise the major challenges facing children.
  • Promote the incorporation and expansion of children's rights in the new law.

Key outcomes of the working group between 2003 and end 2007:

  • A mobilised, empowered and informed children's sector able to engage with the law-reform process.
  • Widespread consultation to identify challenges for children and child care and protection practitioners.
  • A number of discussion papers submitted to the Executive and Parliament. The Children's Institute provided extra support for the disability, early childhood development and street children sectors, and helped to organise consultative workshops to determine common messages and positions, which were presented in draft submissions.
  • Technical assistance from the Institute, including legal research and advice, helped working group members to draft legislative provisions that addressed children's challenges.
  • Collaboration with Parliament on a proposed legislative framework that can facilitate real solutions for vulnerable children, and continuous parliamentary liaison to ensure that priority issues were discussed.
  • Major concessions won on children's rights, disability, trafficking, inter-sectoral co-ordination, adoption, provisioning clauses, street children, and funding for community-based organisations.
  • Working group members and Members of Parliament collaborated in response to intense media interest following the passing of the two Bills.

This project has been funded by the Open Society Foundation of South Africa, with contributions from the DG Murry Trust.

For more information and resources on the Children's Act, visit the Law reform page.

Further reading

When the grant stops, the hope stops. The impact of the lapsing of the Child Support Grant at age 15: Testimonies from caregivers of children aged 15 to 18
Seyisi K & Proudlock P 2009
Report for Parliament, October 2009. Children’s Institute, Black Sash & the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS).

Special child protective measures in the Children’s Act
Kassan D & Mahery P 2009
In: Boezaart T (ed) (2009) Child Law in South Africa. Claremont: Juta.

Developing social policy for children in the context of HIV/AIDS: A South African case study
Budlender D, Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2008
Children's Institute Case Study No. 3
Children's Institute and Community Agency for Social Enquiry

Guide to the Children’s Act No. 38 of 2005 (As amended by the Children’s Amendment Act 41 of 2007)
Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2008
Issued on 26 May 2008 during Child Protection Week and the Department of Social Development conference Getting South Africa Ready to Implement the Children’s Act.

Parliament passes the Children’s Amendment Bill
Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2008
In: Child Rights in Focus, issue number 7, March 2008.

Choices which can affect the cost of the Children’s Bill
Budlender D, Proudlock P & Jamieson L 2007
Centre for Actuarial Research & Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town, July 2007

Fact sheet: Tips for meeting with a Member of Parliament
Jamieson L, March 2005