A description of kinship care placements in Ekukhanyeni, Nkandla local municipality.
Msomi, Irene Zodwa.
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The Department of Social Development has made good progress in finalizing children's court enquiries and placing children officially in formal foster care with relatives. This has major implications for accessing social support in the form of foster care grants and is aimed at reducing the burden of poverty. However, there are challenges in terms of follow-up and professional foster care supervision to meet the goals or vision of the Department. Supervision of placements is not done and it is not known how placements are progressing after Children's Court enquiries. Foster parents are referred to South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) for foster grant processing and no further contact is made with the clients unless there is a problem with the foster care grant. The foster family is seen after two years when it is time for review of care placement of the child. We do not provide support to kinship carers or close supervision to children in kinship care. The overall aim of the research was: • To investigate the physical and material circumstances of the families. • To explore the psycho-social needs of the children. • To explore the physical and emotional problems of the kinship carers • To identify support systems available to kinship carers. This research provides a comprehensive description of the living circumstances of the children and the families. This will enable social workers at the Department of Social Development to develop tailor made community and group work programmes to address specific areas of concern and so improve social service delivery to children and their caregivers. It has also provided a baseline for further studies which may be pursued to establish whether the type of care has improved.