The Children’s Institute since 2001 has contributed to research and advocacy on new policies on social security for children. Research to date has focused on elements of the social security system particularly pertaining to children living in poverty. The aim is to advocate for the improvement of the social security system in South Africa to ensure that the right to social assistance is realised for all children.

The Children's Institute research and advocacy on access to comprehensive social security for children takes place in partnership with other civil society alliances, in particular the Alliance for Children's Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS). Research has been focusing on the Child Support Grant (CSG), Foster Child Grand (FCG), and the Care Dependency Grant (CSG).

Activities to date have included:

  • Monitoring the government's administrative data on social security grants to children.
  • Research and advocacy on the widespread use of the FCG as financial assistance to the increasing number of orphans, the majority of whom live with relatives.
  • Research into the implementation of the CSG, with a focus on removing the administrative barriers to access.
  • Advocacy to extend the CSG to children under 18 years, and on changes to the means test.
  • Advocacy on access to social assistance for children living in child-headed households.

Research has informed various submissions and recommendations during different policy-reform opportunities, in particular to the Taylor Committee of Inquiry into Comprehensive Social Security for South Africa, the Social Assistance Act and its regulations, and the Children's Bill.

Current Children’s Institute socio-legal research and consultations with government and practitioners aims to find clarity on the use of the FCG for orphans living with relatives to ensure that solutions that are in the best interests of all affected children are explored.

Current project team: Paula Proudlock, Katharine Hall, Helen Meintjes and Lizette Berry.

Further reading

Foster care system is failing a million orphans
Civil society briefing, May 2015

Grannies do qualify for Foster Child Grant
Press release, 16/04/2013

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).

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

No better deal for children
Financial Mail [Online], 20/02/2009

Failure to extend child grant 'raises dropout risk'
Cape Times, 13/02/2009 p.6

Manuel contradicts ANC: rights group
The Star [Online], 13/02/2009

2009 budget receives varied reactions
BuaNews, 12/02/2009

Children's Institute disappointed in Manuel's decision on child support grant
Bush Radio News [Online], 12/02/2009

Trevor, Motlanthe 'praat nie uit dieselfde mond'
Beeld, 12/02/2009 p.4

Manuel failed children Business, 12/02/2009

'Manuel failed children', 11/02/2009

Will there be help for older children?
Hall K & Jamieson L 
The Star, 21 February 2007, p.35

Grants for Children: A brief look at the eligibility and take-up of the Child Support Grant and other cash grants
Leatt A June 2006 
CI working paper number 5

At all Costs? Applying the means test for the Child Support Grant
Budlender D, Rosa S & Hall K 2005

Does the Means Justify the End? Targeting the Child Support Grant
Rosa S, Leatt A & Hall K 2005 

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

Reaching out to children: An analysis of the first six months of the extension of the Child Support Grant
Leatt A November 2003
CI working paper number 1