The right to belong and participate: support services to children with disabilities
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Since 1994 South Africa has placed the rights of children high up on the agenda of all government programmes. These rights are firmly entrenched in the Bill of Rights of the SA Constitution (Act no: 108 of 1996) and in the Children's Act (No: 35 of 2005) as amended. However, the situation of children with disabilities continues to be characterized by neglect, ignorance, marginalization and institutional failure, despite the vision and policy imperatives being adopted within a developmental and rights-based framework. In the absence of a coherent approach to the delivery of support services to children with disabilities, the call to develop a strategy for the integration of services has become a crucial and probably the most urgent need in promoting the quality of life of all children with a disability. The development of this strategy, in partnership with various stakeholders has been spearheaded by the Department of Social Development as part of its mandate.