Handbook of Family Policy
Show Less

Handbook of Family Policy

Edited by Guðný B. Eydal and Tine Rostgaard

The Handbook of Family Policy examines how state and workplace policies support parents and their children in developing, earning and caring. With original contributions from 44 leading scholars, this Handbook provides readers with up-to-date knowledge on family policies and family policy research, taking stock of current literature as well as providing analyses of present-day policies, and where they should head in the future.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 19: Family life and family policy in South Africa: responding to past legacies, new opportunities and challenges

Trudie Knijn and Leila Patel


To combat child poverty, South Africa adopted and implemented an expansive publicly funded social assistance policy reaching 63 per cent of poor children. The Child Support Grant (CSG), fashioned on the notion of the ‘primary caregiver’, is gender-neutral and does not distinguish between family types in its eligibility criteria. It therefore represents a progressive approach to the design of child and family support benefits in a middle-income country. However, South Africa’s newly adopted family policy (White Paper on Families or WPF) in 2013 which advocates marriage and the heteronormative nuclear family model contradicts the earlier approach to family support. In this chapter, Knijn and Patel examine these two national policies that were adopted at different times in post-apartheid South Africa. They argue that the policies take divergent stands on the notion of families in the society and on the direction of social interventions. This reflects the ideological shifts from a progressive policy approach in the mid-1990s towards more conservative notions about families in the contemporary period. The authors commence their analysis with an examination of the CSG followed by an analysis of the successive versions of the WPFs (1997, 2005 and 2013). The two approaches to families and their relevance in the local context are compared and they conclude that the CSG is a more enabling family policy and is more contextually appropriate than the family policy presented in the WPFs.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.