Caregiver Perspectives on Psychosocial Support Programming for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in South Africa

Title: Caregiver Perspectives on Psychosocial Support Programming for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in South Africa
Authors: Cherie Martin
Date: 2015
Abstract: In 2011 there were an estimated 3.9 million orphaned children in South Africa, many of them orphaned by HIV/AIDS. These children are at high risk for developing psychosocial and mental health problems. The National Strategy for the care of orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs) recognizes the importance of psychosocial support but there are few specific guidelines on best practice and little research on the effectiveness of psychosocial support programs. There is even less research capturing the perspectives of front-line staff and caregivers. This master’s thesis project conducted a case study of an NGO that provides foster care for OVCs in the Western Cape of South Africa. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 14 foster mothers, four social workers and one administrator of the HomeFromHome organization. Interviews explored the experiences, opinions and concerns of participants regarding psychosocial support and the respondents’ views on the (1) main challenges they face in providing psychosocial support (2) what they see as the most effective forms of support and (3) their recommendations for policy changes. Responses highlighted the psychosocial challenges faced by OVCs, those caring for children, and program staff. The research findings support the existing literature, which promotes psychosocial support as essential for orphaned, and vulnerable children. This case study found that HomeFromHome social workers, foster mothers and administration want increased levels of psychosocial support for both children and caregivers. Respondents identified foster mothers and a primary loving caregiver as the most significant form and source of psychosocial support for the children. An analysis of the participant responses identified several areas that warrant further investigation for future policy and program development. These include: the different forms of alternative childcare, the role of the community and the church, the gap between policy and implementation, gendered issues, the aging out process, and issues concerning biological families.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -