The right to alternative care of children with disabilities in Ethiopia and South Africa
The importance of a nurturing environment on early child development and the central role that a family environment plays to this end are widely recognised. However, most children with disabilities lack family life and parental care and often find themselves disproportionately represented in the category of children that need alternative care arrangements. The limited access to family-based alternative care options for children with disabilities deprived of their family environment is the primary concern of this study. Studies have shown excessive dependence on institutions as a means to provide care for children with disabilities deprived of their family environment, despite the overwhelming evidence on the negative effects of placement in institutions on the development and well-being of children. This contradicts with a number of rights articulated in international and regional standards dealing with the alternative care of children in general, and children with disabilities in particular. This study seeks to examine the extent to which the rights of children with disabilities are respected in the context of alternative care in two jurisdictions in Africa – Ethiopia and South Africa. The two countries are State Parties to the applicable international and regional instruments concerning the alternative care of children with disabilities. These standards include the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The UN Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children and its principles of ‘necessity’ and ‘suitability’ also offer some guidance.
- Doctor Legum - LLD