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Legal Recognition for Child-Headed Households: An Evaluation of the Emerging South African Framework

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This article evaluates legislation developed in South Africa for the legal recognition and support of child-headed households. It provides an explanation and critical analysis of new statutory provisions. We show that in a developing country with AIDS pandemic challenges and limited resources such as South Africa reasons in favour of formal legal recognition outweigh those against. We demonstrate, however, that in order to meet the best interests standard it is essential to base recognition on household viability. Our analysis indicates that, although the South African provisions are groundbreaking and of considerable value as an example for other countries, there are some deficiencies which may compromise their effectiveness. Amendments and supplementary wording are proposed.

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Law, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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