South Africa: Is the Children's Amendment Bill About Child Protection, Cost Cutting or Control?

opinion

Five days of national hearings on the Children's Amendment Bill painted a bleak picture of the state of South Africa's vulnerable children and the government's role in the crisis. The bill provides the long-awaited solution to foster care, but if it's also intended to protect children and fix systemic problems, civil society input suggests the bill is a missed opportunity at best and at worst a cynical exercise in cost cutting and control.

The national hearings on the Children's Amendment Bill provided a disturbing depiction of systemic problems within the Department of Social Development that are putting vulnerable children at risk, delaying their placement into secure and permanent family care, and resulting in them not being able to access safe, registered and subsidised early childhood development centres.

Moreover, civil society made it clear that the bill fell short of providing solutions to these problems, labelling it a missed opportunity.

Key omissions in the bill are the lack of provision for a simple one-stop registration process for early childhood development centres to keep children safe and ensure those in need receive the early childhood development subsidy. It also fails to streamline the government's regulation of adoptions, which is slowing them down...

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