Experiences and challenges of youth heading households in Port Sheptone.
Ndaleni, Thandeka Grace.
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After the death of their parents many youth resume full parental responsibility in taking care of their orphaned siblings. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences and challenges of youth fostering their siblings and heading households in Port Shepstone. This study was guided by the ecological systems theory and used a qualitative research approach to undertake the study. A sample of ten participants was used with whom face to face interviews were conducted. The study revealed that the youth heading households resumed parental responsibilities at a young age. They shoulder new responsibilities such as domestic chores and child care duties. In addition, the youth heading households experience financial challenges due to lack of employment. As a result, the foster care grant was the only source of income which was not enough to meet all the needs of their siblings. The participants further indicated that they and their siblings are still dealing with the death of their parent(s). Both the participants and their siblings had never received counseling after the deaths of their parents. In addition, the participants revealed that they were experiencing challenges regarding disciplining their siblings who were presenting with behavioral problems. Furthermore, the findings reveal that the social workers spend more time on foster care placement (statutory work) rather than focusing on early prevention programmes. Lastly, the youth heading households wanted more social work support, as social workers rarely visited the youth headed households to check on the progress of the placements. To overcome all these challenges, I support the recommendation made by the Department of Social Development as it recently announced an intention to create a kinship grant (Jamieson et al., 2012). This will decrease the workload of social workers so that they can attend to other therapeutic services.