Maatskaplike werkers by gesinsorgorganisasies se perspektief op gesinsinstandhoudingsdienste aan hoërisiko-gesinne

Strydom, Marianne (2008-12)

Thesi (DPhil (Social Work))--Stellenbosch University, 2008.


According to South African policy documents social workers are encouraged to implement a developmental-focused policy regarding social work service delivery. This implies that social work service delivery should focus firstly on preventive services, then on early intervention services and lastly on statutory services. In terms of the delivery of family preservation services this prerequisite requires that preventive services should be aimed at the provision of family preservation services by integrating the parents of high risk families in informal and formal sources in their communities. Early intervention services require that family-centred and intensive crisis services should be delivered to high risk families to prevent statutory services or the removal of children from their families. This study explored the perspective of social workers on the state of family preservation services provided by three non-governmental organizations in the Western Cape Metropole and surrounding areas. The study also identifies social workers‟ perspective on the obstacles experienced during the implementation of developmental-focused policy according to policy documents. A combined quantitative and qualitative research methodology was used to involve social workers employed by three non-governmental organizations in the Western Cape Metropole and surrounding areas in an exploratory study. Findings derived from the empirical study on the state of family preservation services show that social workers are unsure of the exact meaning of the term family preservation services. As far as family-centred preservation services (early intervention services) are concerned, the study found that limited concrete services are delivered, and that there is a stronger focus on educational and therapeutic services. With regard to family-supportive preservation services (preventive services), findings indicate the existence of limited services or sources at family organizations with which parents can be integrated on a continuous basis to expand their informal and formal networks, in accordance with the viewpoints of family support. With regard to the implementation of policy documents, it seems that there is still a stronger focus on delivering statutory rather than preventive services. Obstacles influencing the delivery of preventive services are, inter alia, large case loads, where especially statutory services are delivered, as well as a lack of human resources. A lack of funding to initiate and maintain projects is a further obstacle to the delivery of developmental-focused services. Another important aspect is the fact that social workers are unsure of what preventive and early intervention services comprise, in terms of family maintenance. The most important recommendations resulting from the study indicate that family organizations are incapable of implementing a developmental-focused policy if the State does not attend to the obstacles that exist at non-governmental organizations in the form of inadequate human resources and funding. Social workers should also receive thorough inservice training regarding the content of family preservation services. The non-governmental organizations should also investigate ways of delivering more comprehensive family-centred services like concrete and enabling services, since there is currently an imbalance between, for example, the delivery of concrete and therapeutic services. With regard to family support services, the study recommends that family organizations should try to initiate more services and resources, in accordance with a development-centred policy, that can be available continually to high risk families in the community, and that can be used as a resource. The development of appropriate support services, for instance home visit programs, can reduce the workload of social workers and simultaneously increase the networks available to high risk families, so that social exclusion can be counteracted, in accordance with the viewpoints of family preservation services.

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