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The case for child-headed households : South Africa

Document type: article
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Abstract: Children in South Africa may have to live without parental care for a number of reasons, only one of which is the death of their parents. This is not a new phenomenon. South Africans have traditionally had fluid arrangements concerning the care and residence of their children, who move relatively easily among the extended family. However, the situation is becoming increasingly unrealistic. There are simply not enough people able or willing to become foster parents in the traditional sense and for members of the extended family, the process of applying to foster the child and receive the grant (through the High Court) is often prohibitively expensive. Research in eastern and southern Africa documents a high prevalence of community responses to the issue of child-headed households, most often initiated by faith- and community-based organisations. These initiatives enable families to provide care for children living without parents, and are likely to provide an essential mechanism for the growing numbers of such children in the coming years. It is clear that, while the challenges facing children living without parents are great, the needs of these children can be met without resorting to institutionalisation. However, if their needs are to be addressed, and if the rights of these children are to be protected and realised, then current examples of success must be expanded and resourced adequately to ensure their sustainability.
Authors: Bower, C.
Country: South Africa
Category: Research
End Page: 49
Serial number: 105
ISSN: 1387-9553
Journal: Early Childhood Matters
Keywords: children , communities , infrastructure
Language: eng
Organization: Bernard van Leer Foundation
Year: 2005
Region: Southern Africa
Right: © 2005 Bernard van Leer Foundation
Subject: Social and Political Change
Start Page: 45
Title: The case for child-headed households : South Africa