A sociological study of trans-racial placements of children and family socialisation processes in Durban and Johannesburg.
The main objectives of the study have been to investigate the welfare policy in South Africa as it relates to childcare, compile the profile of trans-racial families, to examine the socialisation processes within trans-racial families. To compile a profile of people who give away their children for adoption or foster care, identify the needs and challenges confronting trans - racial families, as well as establish the support networks available to trans-racial families. The study has therefore established that the childcare policy of the Department of Welfare is based on the concept of permanency planning. The premise is that a child's most important bonds are those made with his parents and that they should take care of him or her. Preventive services aimed at preserving the family unit must be emphasised. The family is the institution in which the basic moral and social being of the individual personality is formed. It is here that the child learns that he is dependent on the co-operation of others for the satisfaction of his own needs and for the realisation of his own goals. However, when the social and living conditions in a family are poor, other alternatives have to be considered. In South Africa, like in other countries the first alternative is to place the children in care. There are various places of care. In South Africa, children in need of care can either be placed for adoption in a residential care or in a foster home. Adoption is a permanent arrangement, whereby a married or single parent places a child in their care permanently. There is a legal binding. Alternatively a child can be placed with a family of a different race. This is another way of providing a child or an infant of a different race or/and culture with new legal parents. The study has also established that all adoptive parents who participated in this particular study were white, mostly females. The majority of the parents were married. Most of them have also acquired tertiary education. Most of them were also employed, and they live in racially integrated communities. Of all the twenty families that were interviewed twelve of them had no children of their own. Most of the families reported to be Christians. There were thirty-five children amongst the families that participated in the study. There were eighteen females and seventeen males Nineteen children were African, twelve were coloured, three were Indian and only one child was half-Indian and half coloured. Most families reported that their children were outgoing, but shy. Most of the children attend integrated schools, and there are other adopted children at the school. Most of the children are comfortable with blacks and whites. Six of the parents who gave away their children for adoption and foster care were in their late twenties. Whereas three were still teenagers. One was in her early twenties, five were in their mid twenties and only two were in their early thirties. Seven of the birth parents were blacks, another seven coloureds, two Indians and only one was white. The main reason for giving their children away for adoption and foster care was due to financial constraints. Support networks are very essential for adoptive families to function properly and this give them an opportunity to share their burdens with other parents. Many adoptive parents who participated in this study belong to the Rainbow Support Group in Johannesburg, and most adoptive families also rely on the support of their families and friends.