How to keep children's duty-bearers in check

31 July 2007

"Legislating children's rights is not enough," say the editors of the new Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) book that was launched here on 4 July.

Indicators and a system of monitoring are necessary if we want to help children who continue to live in squalor and with abuse, and if we want to bring children's rights to fruition.

So says Monitoring Child Well-being: A South African rights-based approach (HSRC Press), a new book edited by Emeritus Associate Professor Andrew Dawes, director of the Child, Youth, Family & Social Development research programme at the HSRC; Dr Rachel Bray of UCT's Centre for Social Science Research Unit; and Amelia van der Merwe, a research psychologist at the HSRC.

The book considers not only the status of children, but the contexts within which children grow and develop, and is designed to monitor the performance of duty-bearers, including parents, social workers and government. It examines the areas where children's rights have been legislated - from the right to food, clothing and shelter to the right to education - and offers a system to measure whether these are being achieved.

"This book is an opportunity to provide government with a system to monitor how children are doing in South Africa," said Dawes.

The book and a shorter version - looking at 14 core indicator sets - are available for free download. Hardcopies sell for R280 each.

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