Child law in South Africa domestic and international perspectives (L.Schafer)

12 Aug 2014

This is a comprehensive book, divided into eight parts, that mainly covers the whole of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005. Part I deals with children in the context of South African law and the focus is on the status of children. Part II includes the sources of child law and this part includes a very valuable contribution on international child law. Authors on children’s rights usually refer only to the two major children’s rights conventions, namely the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child when dealing with children’s issues. In addition to these, the author elaborates on other major United Nations and African human rights conventions. In doing so he successfully illustrates which principles of international law have become an integral part of the fabric of contemporary child law. The third part deals with children’s rights and their autonomy. Part IV dwells on the legal relationship between parents and/or other care-givers and children. Part V covers state-supported parenting and includes partial care, drop-in centres, early childhood development and child-headed households. Part VI is dedicated to child protection and elaborates on a variety of issues including the various child protection registers, prevention and early intervention services and children in need of care and protection. Part VII investigates alternative care options for children and includes foster care, temporary safe care and child and youth care centres. It is meaningful to discuss the three forms of alternative care in one section because these placement options share various common characteristics, such as the fact that the placements are mandatory, non-consensual and subject to continuing judicial oversight. In the last part (Part VIII) on children and private international law, inter-country adoption and international child abduction are discussed. Child trafficking is also included in this part although trafficking is now dealt with in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act 7 of 2013 which repeals Chapter 18 of the Children’s Act completely (see s 48 of Act 7 of 2013, read with the Schedule of the Act).