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Examining the impact of the global recession on children

12 August 2011- Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, today unveiled two studies which highlight the impact that the global economic recession had on children and families living in poverty.

The studies are entitled: The Impact of the International Financial Crisis on Child Poverty in South Africa and Vulnerability of Children and Poor Families to the Economic Recession of 2008 – 2009. They were conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) in collaboration with the Department of Social Development.

The studies used quantitative and qualitative methods to determine the depth and breadth of the impact of the crisis. Overall, the studies show that Government  initiated  policies  and  programmes, which existed prior to the crisis, reduced the negative effects of  the  crisis  on  child  poverty.

The Child Support Grant (CSG) was found to play a very important role in helping families to mitigate the effects of the economic recession:

  • The country's child poverty rate (incidence of child poverty) would have been 8.9% points higher in 2007 without the child support grant (the child support grant, which is means tested, targets children living in poor households). The CSG is currently reaching 10.3 children.
  • The CSG reduced the impact of the 2008-2009 economic recession on child poverty, most significantly among those at extremely low income levels, i.e. amongst the very poorest children. It reduced the depth and severity of poverty before crisis and diminished the effect of crisis through diversifying income.
  • The grants were found to be far greater in magnitude than the effect of the crisis on children in poverty, particularly those in extreme poverty.

However, in households suffering from job loss due to the recession and not receiving state support children’s education was particularly negatively affected. These households were more likely to remove children from school, transfer children to a cheaper school or lack transport money for the children to go to school than similar households receiving state support.

The  studies make  relevant recommendations  on  how  government  policies  and  programmes  can  be  strengthened  to  further  protect  poor  and  vulnerable  children and their families. This includes the convergence and better coordination of the various grants, programmes and services that are available.

For more information:

The Impact of the International Financial Crisis on Child Poverty in South Africa

Vulnerability of Children and Poor Families to the Economic Recession of 2008 – 2009

Policy Brief: The Global Economic Recession and Child Well-Being in South Africa [PDF]

UNICEF Financial and Fiscal Commission and the Department of Social Development.launch presentation 15 Aug 2011 [PDF]

Statement by Aida Girma, Representative, UNICEF South Africa at the launch [PDF]

 

 

 

 

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