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Department of Social Development

Policy framework for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS in South Africa

Department of Social Development, South Africa

July 2005

SARPN acknowledges ELDIS as the source of this document -
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Executive Summary

The socio-economic impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic results in family, community and social disintegration. This is evidenced by the increase in the number of orphans and vulnerable children, child- headed households and the inability of the extended family system to provide such children with basic requirements such as shelter, food, medical care, education, love and support. It is estimated that at least one in eight children are already orphans while many more are living with and often caring for ill parents or primary caregivers, as well as for their siblings. Stigma, discrimination and poverty lead to these children being denied or discouraged from accessing basic services, such as health care, education and social services.

The extended family, which is already weakened by social upheaval, urbanization and poverty, is not able to provide care and protection for such large proportions of orphans and vulnerable children. The crisis has led to a situation where the protection of the rights of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS can no longer be guaranteed without government, community, business and civil society interventions.

A Conference: "A Call for Coordinated Action" was held during 2002 to establish:

  • A common understanding regarding the interpretation of legislative and policy issues and make recommendations for co-ordination between different sectors to ensure implementation of policy on: identification of children in need, accessing basic services such as social grants (including birth certificates), and alternative care (foster care, kinship care, adoption, cluster foster care, community care and institutional care).

  • Co-ordination between all sectors of South African society to ensure that children that are affected by HIV and AIDS (including child headed households) have access to services that provide their basic rights for food, education, shelter, health care, family or alternative care and protection from abuse and maltreatment.

  • Mechanisms of co-ordination at local, district, provincial and national levels.
The Policy Framework for orphans and other children made Vulnerable by HIV and AIDS has therefore been a stakeholder driven undertaking that promotes an enabling environment for more effective delivery on the existing obligations and commitments on orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS at legislative, policy and programme levels.

As a policy framework it serves to:

  • confirm existing policy and refer to intended policy;
  • reinforce existing, relevant legislation and the links between various pieces of legislation and policies
  • provide a rationale for common action by different government departments and civil society for the implementation of various strategies in order to promote the rights of OVC
  • clarify the approach, principles and intentions for coordination and effective partnerships
The objectives of the Policy Framework for Orphans and Other Children made Vulnerable by HIV/AIDS provides a framework to:

  • To ensure coordinated action at national, provincial, district and local level to realise the rights of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS, their caregivers, families and communities
  • To ensure that legal, policy and institutional frameworks for the protection and promotion of the rights of affected children are implemented at all levels
  • To provide an overarching framework to support stakeholders in the development of comprehensive, age appropriate, integrated and quality responses to orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
The six key strategies, which will assist in developing comprehensive, integrated and quality responses for orphans and other vulnerable children at programmatic level are;

  1. Strengthen and support the capacity of families to protect and care.
  2. Mobilise and strengthen community-based responses for the care, support and protection of orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
  3. Ensure that legislation, policy; strategies and programmes are in place to protect the most vulnerable children.
  4. Assure access for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS to essential services.
  5. Raise awareness and advocate for the creation of a supportive environment for OVC.
  6. Engage the civil society sector and business community in playing an active role to support the plight of orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.
The last strategy could be seen as crosscutting in that it supports the implementation of the other strategies. The implementation of these strategies is key to ensuring South Africa’s achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS.

The National Action Plan which builds on the foundations of the Policy Framework, creates and promotes a supportive environment in which orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS are adequately cared for, supported and protected holistically to grow and develop to their full potential.

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