The HSRC and UNICEF published a report on government-funded programmes for vulnerable children in South Africa. The review was commissioned by the HSRC as part of a 5-year study looking at the effects of grants and services in enabling families to protect and care for their children under the burden of poverty and HIV and AIDS.The review, authored by Patricia Martin, identifies the various policies, programmes and services across a number departments that are available for children to realise their rights as protected by the UNCRC, the ACRWC and the South African Constitution. The review includes the departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Basic Education, Health, Social Development, Home Affairs, Human Settlements, Police, Justice and Constitutional Development and Water Affairs.
The review not only identifies the various policies, programmes and services in some detail, the qualifying criteria and targeted beneficiaries as well as the primary repositories of responsibility for delivery; it also reviews some of the key barriers and disjunctures preventing access to services and realisation of the rights of vulnerable children and their families.
Common structural barriers are identified across the different departments including transport; documentation; a lack of knowledge; insufficient sites of service delivery; inadequate budgets to meet growing demands and increasing programmatic interventions; inadequate attention to prevention and early intervention strategies; and not enough meaningful integration of services.
For children living in poverty, for very young children, children in rural areas and children in certain provinces, these barriers are more tenacious and burdensome than they are for others.