Research report - National Child Labour Action Programme for South Africa (1).doc

The sa law reform commission has recently reviewed

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The SA Law Reform Commission has recently reviewed the Act and produced a draft Children’s Bill. The Department of Social Development is now responsible for taking this bill through the parliamentary process. 3.2.2 Grants Financial assistance for some households with children is provided in the form of grants. These include the child support grant and the foster care grant. In addition, research has shown that old age grants are often used to support children. The provincial departments responsible for welfare administer these grants. The child support grant is available for the primary caregivers of children under a given age who pass a means test. The age cut-off was previously six years, but has been extended and by 2005 the grant will be available to children up to 13 years old (under 14 years). The grant is small, at R160 a month as from July 2003. The effectiveness is limited by the low age limit, low take-up rate when compared to the old age grant, and administrative problems in accessing the grant. There has, however, been some improvement recently in the take-up rate. The age cut-off is particularly important in respect of child work as the evidence points to the increasing likelihood that a child will work as it gets older, often in relation to the household’s level of poverty. The child support grant replaced a child maintenance grant that was available to children up to the age of 18 years. In focus group discussions commissioned by the Department of Social Development, some child maintenance grant recipients reported that their children had recently had to find part-time work because of the phased reduction in the amount of the grant. The foster grant is paid in respect of children placed legally, through a children’s court enquiry, in the
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care of foster parent(s). The amount of the grant is R500 since April 2003 – more than three times that of the child support grant. This could serve as a disincentive to parents to care for their own children. Meanwhile the lack of support for those who formally adopt children serves as an incentive for fostering to be chosen above adoption. Neither the child support grant nor the foster care grant is accessible to child-headed households and children living on the streets, as they are not paid to people under 18 years. 3.3 Schooling The South African Schools Act makes schooling compulsory for children between the ages of 7 to 15 or until they have completed grade nine. The Act does not refer explicitly to child work, whether at the school or elsewhere. However, parents or guardians who do not ensure that their children are at school, and any other person keeping a child who is subject to compulsory schooling out of school, for example because the child must work, commit an offence in terms of the Act.
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