Grants for children: a brief look at the eligibility and take-up of the Child Support Grant and other cash grants

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Children's Institute


University of Cape Town


Children's Institute Working Paper No. 5

The Child Support Grant (CSG) is a cash grant for children who are cared for by adults living in poverty. In 2003 the age eligibility of this grant was extended from children under the age of seven to children under the age of 14 in a roll-out that was implemented over three years. This paper analyses the take-up and administration of the Child Support Grant at the end of this roll-out period. It begins with a brief overview of the extent of child poverty in South Africa and the constitutional obligations of the South African state to provide social assistance to people living in poverty. It looks at trends in the take-up of the Child Support Grant and other cash grants for children. The Child Support Grant take-up is thereafter compared with government targets and the number of children eligible for the CSG, using a recent analysis by Debbie Budlender from the Centre for Actuarial Research at UCT. The section thereafter uses the administrative data of the Department of Social Development to examine which grants have been refused or lapsed and reasons for these. This helps to interpret the take-up rate, and gives an overview of the lessons learnt from this progressive expansion of a key government poverty alleviation programme. The paper ends with a conclusion about the take-up rate of the Child Support Grant as of the end of March 2006, and recommendations about the administration of the grant.