Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk

Research Officer, Safety and Violence Initiative

Research Project(s)

  • Global Parenting Initiative
  • GPI: Book-Sharing for Fathers in South Africa 

Research Interests

  • Father involvement and male engagement in parenting
  • Healthy Parenting 
  • Early childhood development


Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk is a Research Officer for the Safety and Violence Initiative at the Centre for Social Science Research. She works within the Global Parenting Initiative as the Principal Investigator on Book-sharing for Fathers in South Africa and as a Playful Parenting Future Leader Male Engagement Fellow. She is concurrently a Lecturer in the Department of Social Development at the University of Cape Town.

Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk is a registered social worker and holds a M.Sco.Sci in Social Policy and Administration, a B.Sco.Sci in Social Work and Psychology, and an B.Sco.Sci (Honours) in Social Policy and Management from the University of Cape Town. She started her career in the early childhood development (ECD) non-profit sector where she managed large-scale ECD programmes across South Africa that aimed at increasing access and improving the quality of ECD. She also engaged in several research endeavours concentrating on inequality within early education. Looking to engage more significantly in the science behind early childhood, Lauren then moved into academia with a strong research focus on early childhood development and father involvement in the early years.

She is presently engaged in PhD studies centring on father involvement in children’s early learning and development aiming to provide a positively nuanced discourse on fatherhood in South Africa.

 Lauren-Jayne van Niekerk CV

Recent Publications 

  • van Niekerk, L. J., & Atmore, E. (2021). Promoting Healthy Human Relationships for Children in Post-Apartheid South Africa. Promoting Healthy Human Relationships in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Social Work and Social Development Perspectives, 83-97.

  • Ashley-Cooper, M., van Niekerk, L. J., & Atmore, E. (2019). Early childhood development in South Africa: Inequality and opportunity. South African Schooling: The Enigma of Inequality: A Study of the Present Situation and Future Possibilities, 87-108.

  • Atmore, E., Ashley-Cooper, M., & van Niekerk, L. (eds.) 2021. Thought Leaders on Early Childhood Development in South Africa: A Collection of Thought-Provoking Essays. Cape Town: Centre for Early Childhood Development.