The Children’s Institute has focused on social assistance policy and law reform since 2000.

Key activities included:

  • Establishing the Alliance for Children’s Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS), co-ordinating ACESS’s policy and law reform projects from 2001 – 2004, and participating in ACESS activities since then.
  • Participating in various policy and law reform processes on social assistance through submissions and other advocacy activities.
  • Advocating for the extension of the CSG to age 18.
  • Monitoring the roll-out of the extension of the CSG to age 14 years.
  • Reforming the means test and advocating for a universal approach to grants.
  • Conducting research and advocating for child-headed households' entitlement to access Child Support Grants.

The Institute's partnership with ACESS focused on the national policy reform process, the review of the Social Assistance Act and the extension of the Child Support Grant (CSG).

Major policy and law-reform achievements since the project began:

  • The phased-in extension of the CSG to age 14.
  • Calls from mass-based civil society alliances (unions, churches) for the CSG to be extended to 18 as a first phase of a Basic Income Grant.
  • Calls from the South African Human Rights Commission and UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for the CSG to be extended to 18 years.
  • The majority of Childen's Institute−ACESS recommendations were incorporated into the government-appointed committee of inquiry report on social security reform, the draft Social Assistance Bill and draft Children's Bill.
  • A public acceptance, and acknowledgement by the government, that social assistance is the country's most successful poverty alleviation mechanism, and that this needs to be 'consolidated' and strengthened.
  • The problems faced by child-headed households in accessing social assistance has come to the fore and this group is now firmly on both civil society and the government's agenda for reform. The solutions are however still being debated.

Further reading

The case for universal child support
Rosa S & Meintjes H 2004
In ChildrenFIRST, Issue No. 58, November/December 2004

Extending the Child Support Grant to children under 18 years
Rosa S & Meintjes H 2004
Fact sheet prepared for the Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security, September 2004.

Counting on children: Realising the right to social assistance for child-headed households in South Africa
Rosa S August 2004
CI working paper number 3

Granting assistance: An analysis of the Child Support Grant and its extension to seven- and eight-year-olds
Leatt A May 2004
CI working paper number 2

Extension of the CSG to children under 14 years: Monitoring report
Rosa S, Mpokoto C March 2004
Produced jointly with the Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security.