Family for Every Child, its members Challenging Heights in Ghana, Uyisenga Ni Imanzi in Rwanda and Children in Distress Network in South Africa and the Centre for Social Protection at IDS have undertaken joint research to research the linkages between social protection and children’s care.
This qualitative research project took place from 2013 to 2015 in three countries, considering the role of social protection programmes in improving child wellbeing and quality of care, preventing the loss of parental care, and incentivising of foster or kinship care in Sub-Saharan Africa. It investigated large-scale nationally implemented cash transfer and public works programmes in Ghana, Rwanda and South Africa.
We find that social protection schemes have the potential to improve child wellbeing and quality of care for all children, to support the prevention of loss of parental care and to provide much-needed financial support to kinship or foster carers through direct and indirect income effects and behavioural effects. We also find the risk of adverse consequences in terms of pressure on care responsibilities in case of a work requirement and ‘commodification of care’. More effective implementation, greater use of sensitisation opportunities, instalment of safeguards and appropriate roles for social workers and programme staff can improve positive impacts and reduce potential negative side effects.