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An evaluation of the bereavement programme for adolescents at Durban Children's Home.

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Many children are affected by the loss of a parent. In South Africa this is exacerbated by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Therefore the Durban Children's Home responded by developing a Bereavement Programme for children who lost a loved one through death and where in its care. Hence this study was conducted at the Durban Children's Home which is a residential care facility for children in Kwazulu-Natal. The Bereavement Programme offered to adolescents at this facility was evaluated. The main aim of the research was to assess the implementation of the Bereavement Programme and to determine whether the Bereavement Programme was useful in helping children cope with grief. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. McKendrick's (1989) model and Marsden, Oakley and Pratt's (1994) model of evaluating programmes provided the framework for this study. The process entailed administering questionnaires to a purposive sample of 18 children between the ages of twelve and seventeen years who have experienced the death of a loved one and who have attended the Bereavement Programme offered at Durban Children's Home. Twelve children also attended the focus group. Data that was collected from the specialised child care workers, child care workers, a focus group with the children as well formal reports of the Bereavement Programme triangulated information, thereby enhancing the trustworthiness of the study. Information on the adolescents' background was also gathered to reflect the complexity of the children's experiences. The findings of the study indicated that the Bereavement Programme was beneficial in meeting the needs of grieving children within a controlled therapeutic environment. The findings also suggested that the Bereavement Programme had a healing effect on children hence, helping them to gain closure as well as improve their behaviour and academic performance. The findings further pointed to the Programme being cost effective for Durban Children's Home. Further to this the study showed that interventions on a Microsystems level and mesosystems level were effective in meeting the needs of children who needed to grieve. Emanating from the findings, recommendations have revolved around enhancing the therapeutic component of the Bereavement Programme, ways of making the Programme more inclusive for sick children and increasing the support and training for staff implementing the Programme. Recommendations were also made in respect of funding, monitoring and evaluation and replication of the Bereavement Programme.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, 2009.


Bereavement in adolescence., Bereavement--Psychological aspects., Theses--Social work.