Residential care facilities for children with physical and sensory disabilities in the eThekwini Municipality.
The research study explored the responsiveness of children's homes to the admission of children with physical and sensory disabilities. The research study was undertaken in the Ethekwini Municipality. Access to appropriate alternate care is enshrined in the Constitution of the country and the provision of residential care is one option for children who are found in need of care. The objectives of the research study were to identify gaps in the provision of residential services for children with disabilities and to explore what challenges are faced by children's homes in admitting children with physical and sensory disabilities. The theoretical framework that was used to guide the study was ecosytems theory. The ecosystems approach provided an understanding of the impact of barriers to inclusion. It also provided an understanding on the reciprocity that exists between children's homes and other systems. A qualitative research approach was used. A sample of ten children's homes was selected in the Ethekwini region, using the non-probability sampling technique. Data was collected using in-depth interviews, observation and a perusal of records. In-depth interviews were conducted with the assistance of an interview guide. The data was recorded and analysed according to common themes and trends. The results of the research study show that children's homes do not have the capacity to respond to the needs of children with disabilities. All the children's homes faced similar challenges, in the form of funding, human resources, building structures and access to resources that hinder the admission of children with physical and sensory disabilities to their facility. One of the major findings was that children with disabilities made up less than one percent of the total population of children in the children's homes. None of the children's home had developed inclusive admission policies for children with physical and sensory disabilities. There was a clear indication that the government would need to strengthen existing residential care facilities to make them more inclusive in nature.