Children most affected by inequality

2012-10-17 22:28

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Cape Town - Rising inequality would hit South African children hard if policy-makers did nothing to close the income gap, a new study has found.

While child poverty was decreasing, income inequality was rising, Cape Town University's Children's Institute (CI) said on Wednesday.

This would have devastating effects on children's survival, development, and life trajectories, the CI said in its annual publication, the South African Child Gauge 2012.

"It also means that high rates of inequality are likely to persist into the next generation," said senior CI researcher Katharine Hall.

Hall said the country's law and policy-makers needed to look beyond merely tackling poverty if they were to create opportunities for children in the future.

"As children don't start off on an equal footing, policy-makers need to move beyond a one-size-fits-all approach to tailor policies and programmes that help close the inequality gap," she said.

Specific groups

The latest report showed specific groups of children were exposed to this inequality.

"These included very young children, children with disabilities, poor children, and those living in rural areas, especially in the former homelands."

Democratic Alliance MP Mike Waters said the report painted a grim picture of the state of children in the country, adding he would call for a debate on the issue when the National Assembly sat next Tuesday.

Waters said some of the findings showed that only one third of children were living with both their parents.

"This confirms the inappropriateness of the Families Green Paper punted by the department of social development, which is centred on strengthening and promoting the nuclear family," he said.

Some of the department's policies were not aligned to the needs of children.

He cited the fact that there were 885 000 orphans in the country, while adoption rates remained low.

"A reply to a DA parliamentary question has revealed that the Register on Adoptable Children and Prospective Adoptive Parents (RACAP) currently only has 378 registered children available for adoption and 287 prospective adoptive parents."

Read more on:    cape town  |  youth  |  poverty

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