Children with Disabilities in South Africa

A Situation Analysis: 2001-2011


South Africa‚Äôs ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1995 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 has facilitated the implementation of programmes towards the fulfilment of the rights of children, and indeed people with disabilities in the country. However, significant knowledge gaps remain with regard to the situation of children with
disabilities, their family and community environment, the underlying causes of their situations, and the adequacy of efforts by government and non-government actors to fulfil their rights.

This situation analysis seeks to fill these knowledge gaps. The study addresses the following questions:

  • What is the extent of disability among children in South Africa?
  • What is the extent of inequities and unfulfilled rights of children with disabilities?
  • What factors have contributed to the adequacy (or inadequacy) of actions by the State and society at large?
  • What are strategic opportunities for further progress towards the fulfilment of the rights of all children with disabilities?

The study is based on an analysis of both primary data and secondary data. Primary data was collected through focus group discussions, stakeholder consultations and key informant interviews. Secondary data comprised a desk review of available literature and research material on childhood disability. Sources included census and national household survey data from Stats SA, community-level studies, published material from local and international sources, academic dissertations, studies commissioned by various government departments, legislation, policies and strategies relating to services for children with disabilities, and recent strategic plans of relevant government departments.

Department of Social Development; Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities and UNICEF
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