The Role of Social Services in Realising Children’s Rights in and through Education




social services, children's rights, school social work, child and youth care, transformative constitutionalism


Section 28(1)(c) of the South African Constitution (1996) unequivocally affirms that children are the only vulnerable group with an explicit right to social services. Nonetheless, the practical realisation of this right remains elusive for many children, leaving them without access to vital social services. Through the theoretical framework of transformative constitutionalism, this article posits that the evolving field of social services provision within school settings presents a promising avenue to champion children’s right to social services and a range of other children’s rights, and facilitate and promote their access to basic education. Utilising a qualitative research approach with an exploratory case study design, this study investigates whether providing social services through a programme in Botshabelo schools in the Free State effectively promotes the realisation of children’s rights. The results show that social services in schools can contribute to realising various children’s rights. It is recommended that there should be a symbiotic partnership between the Departments of Social Development and Basic Education with the latter endorsing and expanding the provision of social services within schools. This integration is recommended on the basis that it not only advances crucial human rights for children, such as child protection, social security, and a safe environment, but also shows promise in enhancing the academic performance of learners grappling with challenging circumstances.


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Author Biography

Roelf Petrus Reyneke, University of the Free State

Department of Social Work

Adjunct professor


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How to Cite

Reyneke, Roelf Petrus. 2024. “The Role of Social Services in Realising Children’s Rights in and through Education”. Education As Change 28 (February):23 pages.



Received 2023-10-17
Accepted 2024-01-04
Published 2024-02-13