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.

Institutional care is widely referred to as the 'last resort' in responding to the care needs of children, not only because of the negative impact on children of long-term institutionalisation, but also because of the costs of raising a child in an institution. Despite this, residential care facilities for children – and in particular for 'AIDS orphans' – continue to mushroom in South Africa. Many of these newer facilities are unregistered. As a result, their services are unmonitored and unsupported by the Department of Social Development.

This research project set out to examine this phenomenon, and the reasons why residential facilities multiply and endure despite policy, law and the international child welfare sector's position on the issue.

The research was conducted by the Children's Institute in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of AIDS at the University of Pretoria, and was funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation.

Further reading

Positive care? HIV and residential care for children in South Africa
Moses M & Meintjes H 2010
African Journal of AIDS Research 2010, 9(2): 107-115.

Home truths: The phenomenon of residential care for children in a time of AIDS
Meintjes H, Moses S, Berry L & Mapane R 2007
Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town & Centre for the Study of AIDS, University of Pretoria, June 2007.

Residential care and the Children’s Bill
Moses S 2008
In: Child Rights in Focus, Issue Number 7, March 2008.