Such programmes include in-kind and in-cash transfers, and food for work initiatives. Social assistance programmes are a part of social welfare and must include clear child care policies that protect children and strengthen family and community capacities to access services and provide care.
Cash transfers are a means of financially supporting the most vulnerable households to improve the child’s access to essential goods and services, such as health and education. They include the use of child support grants, child and family allowances and targeted and conditional cash transfers. They may be combined with investment in child education and health services, and redistributive tax policies.
In-kind transfers provide access to essential goods and services instead of cash payments. Conditional cash transfers provide money to poor families on achieving certain actions, such as sending children to school.
Social assistance programmes may struggle to target those most in need, and provide sustainable support. Economic policies, including social assistance, and household economic strengthening, require substantial research, monitoring, and gatekeeping to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable are reached and that long term benefits can be achieved for families, including child headed households.
The literature in this section provides country examples and analyses of social assistance programs, focusing primarily on cash transfer schemes.