Giving money to children: the state's constitutional obligations to provide child support grants to child headed households
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One of the most tangible effects of the HIV epidemic is the growing number of orphans and the emergence in ever increasing amounts of households headed by children. These new family configurations pose a wide range of challenges to our society. Not least of these is the challenge to change laws that hamper these households from accessing desperately needed benefits. The state currently provides a child support grant (CSG) for children in need. This grant (R170 per month from 1 April 2004) is provided to the ‘primary care giver’ (PCG) of a child who is currently under the age of 11 years. Neither the SocialAssist ance Act, nor the regulations promulgated under it set any age limit for the PCG. Effectively, however, such a person must be 16 years old as this is the age when an identity document is first provided, and a PCG has to provide his or her identity document in applying for the grant. In practice, the various offices of the Department of Social Development, responsible for administering the CSG, are treating applicants differently and some are even turning away those who are under the age of 21. This note argues that the exclusion of children living in child-headed households from the child support grant programme constitutes a violation of the Constitution.