Older people and HIV

Regional policy brief - Children and older carers affected by HIV and AIDS

Regional policy brief - Children and older carers affected by HIV and AIDS

RIATT-ESA has recently published a regional policy brief on the priorities for regional and national legislation, policy and programming for children affected by HIV and AIDS living with older carers.

The brief is based on a study by RIATT-ESA and HelpAge International entitled "Intergenerational issues between older caregivers and children in the context of AIDS in eastern and southern Africa."

Through the study, older carers and children living in the region were asked about their lives, and their responses provided a deeper understanding of this common living arrangement which emphasised the fact that every effort should be made to support olderheaded households through the urgent provision of external forms of support, especially social transfers.

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers, especially older carers

Family first: prioritising support to kinship carers

This paper demonstrates how recognising the value of kinship care, and addressing the challenges faced by children and carers, is likely to lead to a range of positive outcomes, including improved education and child protection, and better physical health and psychosocial well-being for older persons.

In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, 90% of children who have lost one or both parents are looked after by relatives, in many countries, the effects of HIV & AIDS have left older relatives caring for children, and in countries such as Malawi, where large numbers of adults migrate for work, children are being cared for by their grandparents or other relatives.

Most of these arrangements are informal and therefore children and their carers may be missing out on social protection and benefits. Older carers may find it difficult to support children financially. While many kinship carers do their best, children, especially girls, may be exposed to discrimination and abuse.

The prevalence of kinship care means that this issue is not just of concern for those with a narrow alternative care or child protection remit, but also requires commitments from agencies working in health, social protection, justice and education to ensure that the needs of children in kinship care and their carers are met.

For more information on this initiative, please contact: policy@everychild.org.uk