Does the grant system incentivise women to harm their children?

24 Jan 2013 - 10:30

PhD student (in Sociology and the CSSR) Gabby Kelly was quoted in an article by Rebecca Davis, published in the online Daily Maverick, debunking reports that some South African women drink whilst pregnant in order to harm their children. Sky News published a sensationalist report claiming that women are so desparate to access the more generous care dependency grant rather than the more modest child support grant.that they drink whilst pregnant in order to ensure that their children are born with foetal alcohol syndrome, a disability which may render them eligible for the care dependency grant. But the consensus among academic researchers is that there is no evidence for this. Gabby's Masters thesis entailed analysing the ways in which poor people in Blikkiesdorp - perhaps Cape Town's poorest neighbourhood, on the outskirts of Delft - perform health and disability in order to access disability grants but without attracting attention in the neighbourhood. Her PhD research shifts focus to the medical personnel and bureaucrats who serve as gatekeepers in the social grant system.