The implementation of family preservation services to children in need of care and protection within the Amajuba District Municipality, KwaZulu Natal.
Nzuza, Mbongiseni Petrus.
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The implementation of family preservation programs is compromised by practical inconsistencies, capacity, human and organizational resources. These are key challenges that ultimately impact the provision of services to families. Inadequate services to preserve families often contributes to a substantial number of children having to be removed from their families to be placed in alternative care. Families have limited or no access to preventative services and a paradigm shift to developmental social services are not taking place. There is a perceived increasing trend by most social workers that the placement of children in facilities becomes an end in itself, instead of being a means to an end. A qualitative approach was used to collect data from the social workers, who are mandated to implement family preservation services to families and children. In-depth interviews were conducted to ascertain the perceptions of social workers regarding the prevention and early intervention services offered to children, who are not only in need of care and protection but also at imminent risk of being removed from their families. The workplace challenges such as high caseloads, time constraints, high staff turnover, and the lack of support and working conditions restrict the implementation of family preservation services. Notably, insufficient training on family preservation contributed to self-doubt and lack of clarity about the best approach of implementing family preservation services among social workers. Managing organizational difficulties and improving training on family preservation was strongly recommended by the participants. The supervision of social workers must be strengthened to enhance the effective implementation of family preservation. Sufficient resources such as financial resources, human resources, and other related resources should be available to social workers to improve the provision of family preservation services.