This study examines how policies in relation to financial and other care for children have been formulated since the mid-1990s. The paper is concerned, in particular, with whether and how children affected by HIV/AIDS should be targeted in public policy. For the purposes of the paper, the term ‘policy’ is understood in a broad sense that extends to laws and regulations. The paper focuses on issues relating to both the content of the policies, and the process through which they were developed, as well as how process and content influenced each other. The paper examines, among others, the extent to which policies are targeted at children with particular needs, or instead provide for a specified minimum level of care for all. The overall aim of the paper will be to contribute to the debate around how best to meet the needs of children in the context of an HIV/AIDS pandemic, and how the particular context of policy-making influences what can be and is done.