Responding to the South African Child Welfare Crisis

By Schmid, Jeanette | Canadian Social Work Review, January 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Responding to the South African Child Welfare Crisis


Schmid, Jeanette, Canadian Social Work Review


Abstract: The South African child welfare system is struggling to respond effectively to vulnerable children and families. The crisis can be attributed to AIDS, poverty, and violence, all of which have weakened social networks; to the fragmented, discriminatory approach of the apartheid legacy; and to a severe lack of resources. In addition to these obstacles, however, is the child protection approach upon which local child welfare practices and policies are based. This approach is largely irrelevant to South African families and has typically been unable to deal with their needs. The child protection approach has been critiqued in Western contexts, in which it originates, as being intrusive, investigative, individualistic, adversarial, remedial, and middle class, in that it ignores collective notions of identity and systemic issues that contribute to child abuse. The post-apartheid Developmental Social Welfare policy offers a framework for a transformed child welfare system, while the European family services and indigenous community care child welfare models provide potential directions for action. Alternatives from these models could contribute to developing a community-based, family-centred, participatory, strengths-based, multi-disciplinary, and intersectoral approach.

Abrégé : Le système sud-africain de la protection de l'enfance peine à répondre efficacement aux besoins des enfants et des familles vulnérables. La crise est attribuable au sida, à la pauvreté et à la violence, qui ont tous fragilisé les réseaux sociaux, à l'approche fragmentée et discriminatoire héritée de l'apartheid et à une grave pénurie de ressources. S'ajoute toutefois à ces obstacles l'approche de protection de la jeunesse sur laquelle reposent les pratiques et les politiques de protection de l'enfance. Cette approche est pour ainsi dire inutile pour les familles sud-africaines, n'ayant généralement pas pu répondre à leurs besoins. L'Occident, d'où elle est originaire, a critiqué l'approche de protection de l'enfance, la qualifiant d'intrusive, d'investigatrice, d'individualiste, d'accusatoire et de réparatrice et lui reprochant de privilégier la classe moyenne parce qu'elle fait abstraction des notions collectives d'identité et des problèmes systémiques qui contribuent à la violence faite aux enfants. La politique postapartheid d'aide sociale au développement offre un cadre de transformation du système de protection de la jeunesse, tandis que les modèles de services européens à la famille et d'aide à l'enfance dans les communautés indigènes offrent de possibles pistes d'intervention. Les solutions qui émaneraient de ces modèles pourraient contribuer à la mise sur pied d'une approche communautaire, centrée sur la famille, participative, axée sur les forces, multidisciplinaire et intersectorielle.

THE CHILD WELFARE system in South Africa is in crisis, struggling to meet the needs of vulnerable children and their families. The crisis can be attributed to AIDS, poverty, and violence, all of which have weakened social networks; to the fragmented, discriminatory approach of the apartheid legacy; and to a severe lack of resources. In addition to these huge challenges to enhancing the welfare of children in South Africa, the child protection approach embedded in the welfare system represents a further significant obstacle. To examine this argument, I offer a typology of child welfare systems, locating the South African child welfare system within the child protection model and providing its historical and current context, as well as reviewing recent policy and practice perspectives.

Options exist that could be incorporated by an integrated, family-centred, and community-based child welfare system. Authentic models that emerge from local cultural practices form the best basis for alternatives, though foreign ideas may be useful subject to indigenization. External approaches can be critically scrutinized and adapted to local traditions and forms of helping (Osei-Hwedie, 1995). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Responding to the South African Child Welfare Crisis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.