Complaints procedures for children in residential care : hearing the voices of children in South African care institutions, with brief comparative aspects.
Tabi, Felicity Besong.
MetadataShow full item record
Hearing the voices of children in residential care by means of a complaints procedure has proven to be an important instrument in addressing children’s problems and ensuring their welfare and rights. Taking into account that children and youth, especially those in residential care or outside the parental home, are amongst the most vulnerable members of society (Representative for Children and Youth, 2010), supportive measures need to be instituted to help them become actively involved in social matters as they voice their concerns (Pancer, Pratt, Hunsberg & Alisat, 2007). In light of this South Africa and other countries have put measures in place in accordance with Article 12 of the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in order to hear children’s voices in residential care by means of complaints procedures for the purposes of enhancing their rights, protection and well-being. This study critically evaluated the implementation and effectiveness of the complaints procedure in South African residential care, compared with Kenya, Canada and the United Kingdom. The research problem concerned children’s right to be heard in residential care. The study’s objectives were to establish how listening to the voices of children in residential care helps improve the protection of their rights; what the South African legal framework requires in terms of listening to the voices of children in residential care; and what South Africa can learn from the experiences of other countries in this regard. The research questions were: What do the international standards require in terms of complaints procedures for children in residential facilities; what complaints procedures are available to children in residential care in South Africa; do the existing complaints procedures in South Africa meet the standards of the CRC and of the 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; and what can South Africa learn from Kenya, Canada and the United Kingdom in terms of the complaints procedures? The methodology was desk top research in which information and literature was sourced locally and internationally. Based on the research findings it was concluded that although South Africa had a complaints procedure in place, there were other issues that compromised efforts to effectively implement the legal provisions for the voices of children in care to be heard as presented in chapter four of the study.