Children Playing
Course

Children – Constitutionally distinct Persons

HPCSA CPD Accredited for 1 CEU in Ethics, level 1 - "Every child has his or her own dignity. If a child is to be constitutionally imagined as an individual with a distinctive personality, and not merely as a miniature adult waiting to reach full size, he or she cannot be treated as a mere extension of his or her parents, umbilically destined to sink or swim with them..." Judge Albie Sachs in S v M

5 Lessons

CPD accredited for 1 CEU in Ethics, level 1

Estimated duration to complete: 1 hour

Please scroll down for course content once your are enrolled.

As Alfred Allen writes, decisions are made in a social context : “Psychologists are influenced by the expectation of their clients and of the systems that their clients belong to – such as their families. Psychologists are also shaped by the systems they themselves belong to…”

In the context of children, this acquires a profound truth for any psychologist or other healthcare professional dealing with children. We are shaped by our immediate context. However we have to internalise the fact that by law children are not in a lesser (negotiating) position when it comes to weighing a child’s interest with that of an adult.

The Honourable Judge Albie Sachs wrote in S v M: “Every child has his or her own dignity. If a child is to be constitutionally imagined as an individual with a distinctive personality, and not merely as a miniature adult waiting to reach full size, he or she cannot be treated as a mere extension of his or her parents, umbilically destined to sink or swim with them…”

It is important for psychologists and counselors to have a basic understanding of legal framework within which they find themselves when they deal with children. Critical to understanding this background, is an understanding of the basic under-lying constitutional law.

This understanding will enable psychologists and counselors as the safety net of the last resort, to provide better guidance to clients, whether children or adults, at critical moments for the children concerned.

Note that this course is an overview of the subject matter. Clients should always be advised to seek professional advice from an attorney. Applying legal and financial principles to the factual circumstances of clients are always complex and fraught with risk.

We express our gratitude to the authors of the resources listed in the Bibliography.

The author’s bio is elsewhere on the site.

Please also read the site-wide disclaimer.

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