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Children's Institute

Universities play an important role in contributing to strategies that address the circumstances of children. As one of the duty-bearers responsible for intervention to improve children's lives, universities are increasingly being called upon to exercise their social responsibility towards this important sector of society.

Against this background, the Children's Institute aims to harness the collective academic capability in the University to promote enquiry into the situation of children, to share this capacity through teaching and training programmes, and to present evidence to guide the development of laws, policies and interventions for children. In addition, in positioning itself as an independent broker of evidence, the Institute is also able to provide evidence to those who are advocating on behalf of children.

The work of the Children's Institute is aimed at promoting the principle of taking the best interest of the child into account, and at ensuring that children are given primary consideration by society. In particular, the Institute pays special attention to promoting child participation in its work, and advocates for their voices to be heard, and their opinions to be taken seriously.


The Children's Institute is a multi-disciplinary institute aiming to contribute to policies, laws and interventions that promote equality and realise the rights and improve the conditions of all children in South Africa, through research, advocacy, education and technical support.


  • defining research questions in specific child policy areas
  • conducting quality policy research and clarification
  • stimulating inter-disciplinary research
  • collating and analysing secondary research and data sets


  • conducting policy research training for graduate students from different disciplines
  • contributing child policy modules to existing programmes
  • delivering short courses or other appropriate training to child practitioners and policy makers

Technical assistance and support

  • providing technical assistance to policy makers and practitioners
  • supporting child policy role players with information, training and practice guidelines


  • communication with government decision-makers
  • producing publications directed at the policy, service provider, academic and popular fields
  • information dissemination
  • participating in and supporting social movements that prioritise and promote children's well-being
  • increasing the cadre of practitioners, scholars and researchers versed in evidence-based approaches to child-focused policies and practices