n Law, Democracy & Development - Too little? Too late? The implications of the case for state responses to child-headed households

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



Any assessment of levels of destitution, desperation and societal disintegration must surely rank the increasing phenomenon of children living in households without adult caregivers, a consequence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as one of the most pressing concerns facing South African society. It has been estimated that by 2005 there will be more than a million children aged under 16 who have lost their parents due to HIV/AIDS and that by 2010 there will be more than two million who have been orphaned and who are fending for themselves and their siblings. Dramatic increases in juvenile criminality have been predicted, based on the supposition that parentless children will migrate from rural areas to cities and towns in search of the means of survival. Once there, they will have no alternative but to steal to stay alive. For this and other reasons, it has been predicted that dramatic social and political consequences, caused by the increased number of children growing up in child-headed households, will affect South African society over the next decade.

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