Masters Degrees (Social Work)

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    The potential scope of social work practice at a Higher Education Institution in South Africa: views of key informants at Stellenbosch University
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12 ) Mdaka, Qaqamba; Engelbrecht, Lambert K.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Based on the global definition of social work, according to the International Federation of Social Work (IFSW) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), generalist social work may be defined as a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people, with principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility and respect for diversities. Within the higher education space, social work is considered to be a specialised area of practice. This is because social work is part of a multidisciplinary team of specialists attached to the education system in order to address and treat problems that interfere with teaching and learning. The White Paper for Post-School Education and Training (2013) recognises services for students as a crucial endeavour in promoting their holistic development, and in providing effective aid for them to meet the demands of tertiary life. As far as this is concerned, higher education institutions have responded to the call to provide student support services. However, there is an overwhelming gap in research that comprehensively studies the scope of social work practice in higher education institutions and the scope in which social work practice could continue as a response to providing services to students. In light of this, the researcher’s study aimed to gain an understanding of the potential scope of social work practice at Stellenbosch University as a higher education institution in South Africa. This research followed a qualitative approach with a combination of an exploratory and descriptive design. Key informant sampling was combined with quota sampling to sample and recruit research participants. This led to 18 participants being interviewed for this study with the researcher utilising a semi-structured interview schedule. The interviews were conducted via Microsoft Teams to ensure health and safety precautions. The researcher utilised a thematic content analysis approach when analysing the data that was collected during the interviews. The primary recommendations deduced by the researcher from the findings are that the role of social workers at Stellenbosch University needs to be expanded. This expansion should encompass diverse student needs, including both preventative efforts in mental health support and interventions that consider the broader familial context. Additionally, there is a pressing need for the establishment of a well-defined policy framework outlining the roles and responsibilities of social workers within the university setting. Finally, advocacy for enhanced funding and resources is crucial to facilitate the integration of social work services across different university departments and initiatives.
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    The scope of information and communication technology (ICT) in the supervision of social workers
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-12 ) Harris, Lee-Ancha; Engelbrecht, Lambert K.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The use of ICTs in the supervision of social workers seems to be a growing area of research, however, little to no literature focuses on the scope of the use of ICTs in supervision both nationally and internationally. Global research suggests that the increased use of ICTs in the supervision of social worker gives rise to a number of concerns such as ethics and the potential factors that impede on the supervisory process. These factors influence social workers experience of the use of ICTs in their supervision. Thus, with little to no insight into this phenomenon in a South African context, this study aimed to gain an understanding of the social workers experienceof the scope of ICTs used in their supervision at social work organisations in the Western Cape. The research adopted a qualitative approach. Furthermore, the researcher employed descriptive and exploratory research designs in order to gain an understanding of social workers experiences of the scope of ICTs used in their supervision as little to no research exist on this topic in a South African context. The research participants were recruited practicing social workers in the Western Cape that has experienced the use of ICTs in their supervision. These participants were recruited through means of non-probability sampling methods, specifically the purposive technique. The data collection process involved interviewing seventeen participants by means of a semi-structured interview via MS Teams. A thematic content analysis approach is employed to analyse the data collected from the semi-structured interviews. This research report contains two literature chapters. The first literature chapter conceptualises ICTs in the social work organisations and practice as well as the use of ICTs within social work organisations and practice. The second literature chapter conceptualises ICTs within social work supervision as well as describes the use of ICTs in social work supervision. These literature chapters serve as the foundation of chapter four which was an empirical study, presenting the data collected from the research participants and analysing their narratives in the context of the existing body of knowledge. These generated findings presented in the empirical study enabled the researcher to make and present conclusions and recommendations regarding the scope of ICTs used in social work interventions and supervision. The key conclusions deduced from this study is that ICTs are used in both social work interventions and supervision and that the frequency, types and experiences of the use differs depending on a number of factors. These factors include the potential factors impeding on the supervisory process, both the supervisor and supervisors’ level of professional identity and ethical concerns. Thus, social work organisations need to take a more transformational approach, adopting new innovative ways of ensuring high quality services to services users. Social workers and supervisors must also undergo training to learn how to effectively and ethical use ICTs in supervision in order to ensure professional development and ultimately high-quality services rendered.
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    Social workers’ perspectives on the support needs of foster parents in cluster foster care schemes in South Africa
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2023-03) Scharein, Margaret; Slabbert, Ilze; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: There is a growing worldwide need to provide alternative care for children in need of care and protection. In South Africa the ongoing socio-economic impacts of poverty, unemployment and violence undermine the ability of many families to thrive, thus increasing the vulnerability of their children. The increasing volume of children in this position has overwhelmed the already struggling foster care system to the point where the exact figures are unknown. Cluster foster care is a relatively new and unknown form of foster care, with scant literature on the topic and questions surrounding its efficacy in meeting the best interests of the child. The employment of foster parents to parent unrelated children in homes run by cluster foster care schemes has hence been a contentious issue. The preliminary literature review revealed a problem in that very little is known about these foster parents, especially what support they need to enable them to perform this crucial role appropriately and sustainably. The goal of the study was, therefore, to develop an in-depth understanding of the support needs of foster parents in cluster foster care schemes in South Africa, from the perspectives of social workers, who provide supervision and support services, with a view to contributing to the development of support systems and best practice principles in the domain that will ultimately raise the level of care of children in need of care and protection. The study used a qualitative research approach with an explorative, descriptive design. Data was collected from twenty-one participants by means of online semi-structured interviews based on the principles of the Circle of Courage. Participants of this study are registered social workers providing services on behalf of eleven social service organisations operating cluster foster care schemes in the South African provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. A hermeneutic line of enquiry, with a theoretical underpinning of the developmental approach to social welfare, was followed and data was analysed using the method of reflexive thematic data analysis. The findings of the study revealed that the cluster foster care scheme system in South Africa is propelled by dedicated, resourceful management and teams that look beyond the dependence on government funding to secure and provide resources that focus on one goal – to secure nurturing, family-like care for children in need of care and protection. It was found that contrary to beliefs that cluster foster care is not conducive to meeting the best interests of the child, the partnership that exists between foster parents, cluster foster care schemes and the department of social development is capable of facilitating nurturing, sustainable care of these children. Nevertheless, it was concluded that for the main purposes of foster care to protect and nurture, promote permanency and respect diversity to be fulfilled, this developing system needs to fill gaps in permanency planning for foster parents and children alike and inconsistencies in developmental and culturally sensitive practices need to be prioritised by social service providers and their community partners. The outcomes thus highlighted that gauging the efficacy of cluster foster care in meeting the best interests of vulnerable children goes beyond assessing the quality of the relationship between the foster parent and child, or monitoring whether the cluster foster care scheme has completed its registration with the department of social development. Significantly, the study found marked parallels between the special needs of foster parents in cluster foster care schemes and the special needs of the children in their care and concluded that these can be a protective factor rather than a risk factor when receiving the hands-on social work support that is a characteristic of this system. A crucial recommendation based on these findings is therefore that stakeholders recognise the worth of quality foster parent-social worker relationships and contemplate placing value on the dual motivations that foster parents have to find employment while answering a calling to fulfil a higher purpose. In so doing, they can secure quality interim family-like care for the burgeoning numbers of children in need of care and protection in South Africa, while empowering marginalised members of society to secure economic and personal upliftment.
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    The nature of social services provided by social workers for women experiencing intimate partner violence in Namibia
    (2023-03) Menesia Panduleni Shikongo; Khosa, Priscalia; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Every country plans how it will ensure the protection of women from intimate partner violence (IPV) and other forms of abuse. Enacted laws and legislations usually contribute to significant ways of protecting women. As there is an increased rate of IPV among women worldwide, this study investigated social services provided by social workers for women experiencing IPV. This study aimed at understanding social workers’ perspectives on the nature of social services provided for women experiencing IPV. The study employed a qualitative research methodology and exploratory research design was utilised. Purposive sampling which is a non-probability sampling was utilised to recruit social workers in Namibia. The participants were employed as social workers at the Ministry of Health and Social Services, and Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare. In this study, ten social workers were recruited and volunteered to partook as participants. The study found that social workers offer services to women experiencing IPV at various levels of the ecological system, namely: microsystem, mesosystem and macrosystem. One of the crucial conclusions drawn in this study was that social workers encounter challenges as they provide social services to women experiencing IPV. The main challenge was that women experiencing IPV need place of safety and/ shelter. Thus, the study recommends that the government should prioritise the construction of more places of safety countrywide. This is because these places offer a more conducive environment for the support of IPV survivors than in wards at referral hospitals.
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    Experiences of social workers in facilitating rehabilitation programmes for incarcerated male offenders
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-12) Zibi, Zonke; Zimba, Z. F.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The motivation to conduct this study in which social workers are the focus was based on the observation that most studies on correctional services focus on offenders and their experiences; the literature reveals limited studies on the experiences of social workers who work with incarcerated male offenders in correctional services. Therefore, this qualitative research was conducted to develop an understanding of the experiences of social workers in facilitating rehabilitation programmes for incarcerated male offenders. The study used a combination of an exploratory and descriptive design. The design necessitated the collection of verbatim narratives from the participants. A purposive sampling method was used, under which certain criteria for inclusion were established. Semi-structured telephonic interviews were conducted with 16 social workers working with male offenders in correctional facilities. An interview schedule (see Annexure 2) was used as a guide for interviewing the participants. The data collected through semi-structured telephonic interviews was transcribed, analysed and interpreted using thematic analysis. The study found that the roles of social workers in the rehabilitation of offenders include assessing offenders, offering individual counselling, family consultation, crisis intervention, supporting offenders, being brokers, providing group work services, engaging in administrative tasks such as report writing, and acting as facilitators, motivators, researchers, research consumers and organisers. The study found that social workers experience both positive and negative aspects of their work as programme facilitators for incarcerated male offenders. The many challenges they face during the course of their work in correctional facilities includes prison overcrowding, high caseloads, lack of prioritisation of rehabilitation services by correctional officials, negative attitudes of correctional officials to the social work discipline, and lack of support from management and other colleagues. It is recommended that social workers be provided with resources necessary to execute their duties, that more staff be made available for this work and that social workers consult and engage with their management in order to address the challenges experienced with working in correctional centres.