Masters Degrees (Social Work)

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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.
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    Maatskaplike werkers se sienings oor die uitdagings van dienslewering aan adolessente van geskeide ouers
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-04) Slazus, Almarie; Strydom, Marianne; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Egskeiding word al meer as ’n alledaagse verskynsel beskou en is globaal regoor verskeie kultuurgroepe aan die toeneem. Egskeiding gaan hand-aan-hand met konflik en verskeie uitdagings, maar wanneer daar kinders, veral adolessente, betrokke is, is egskeiding selfs meer ingewikkeld. Adolessensie word as ’n belangrike tussengang-lewensfase beskou waartydens verskeie ontwikkelings plaasvind wat die adolessent vir die volwasse wereld voorberei. Adolessensie self bestaan uit verskeie uitdagings en dit vind soms plaas dat adolessente van dieselfde ouderdom nie op dieselfde ontwikkelingsvlak is nie. Dus kom daar verskeie uitdagings van dienslewering aan adolessente na vore en kan dienslewering aan adolessente nie dieselfde benader word as dienslewering aan kinders of volwassenes nie. Min navorsing is beskikbaar rakende die uitdagings van dienslewering aan adolessente van geskeide ouers. Baie literatuur fokus op jonger kinders, of groepe kinders van egskeiding van alle ouderdomme. Hierdie studie poog om sodanige gaping in navorsing te oorbrug. Die doel van die studie was om ʼn begrip te ontwikkel van maatskaplike werkers se sienings oor die moontlike uitdagings wat dienslewering aan adolessente van geskeide ouers inhou. Tydens die studie is twee navorsingsvrae beantwoord, naamlik, “Wat is die siening van maatskaplike werkers oor die uitdagings van dienslewering aan adolessente van geskeide ouers?” saam met “Wat is die siening van maatskaplike werkers oor die uitdagings wat adolessente tydens egskeiding beleef?” ’n Kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering is gevolg en ’n verkennende en beskrywende navorsingsontwerp is ook benut aangesien daar min literatuur aangaande maatskaplike werkers se sienings oor die uitdagings van dienslewering aan adolessente van geskeide ouers beskikbaar is. ’n Doelbewuste steekproef saam met ’n sneeubalsteekproef is gebruik en agttien maatskaplike werkers het aan die studie deelgeneem. Hierdie maatskaplike werkers het dienste by verskeie organisasies in die Wes-Kaapse metropool en omliggende omgewings soos Overberg-, Helderberg- en Drakensteindistrik aan adolessente van geskeide ouers gelewer. ʼn Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoudskedule is tydens individuele onderhoude met die deelnemers benut om data in te samel. Weens die COVID-19 pandemie het onderhoude virtuele oor “Zoom” plaasgevind om die veiligheid van alle betrokke partye te verseker. Die bevindinge en gevolgtrekkings van die studie is dat dienslewering aangepas moet word aan adolessente. Egskeiding hou verskeie uitdagings vir adolessente in en van daardie uitdagings ontstaan tydens dienslewering aan adolessente. Uitdagings van dienslewering wat geïdentifiseer is sluit in die adolessent se houding teenoor dienslewering wat samewerking en motivering van dienslewering behels, die lewensfase waartydens dienste gelewer moet word, adolessente se impulsiewe denkwyse teenoor dienslewering, adolessente se emosionele intelligensievlak en dat hulle dit moeilik vind om te vertrou. Verder is ’n tekort aan beskikbare tyd van beide die adolessent en maatskaplike werkers as uitdagings van dienslewering geïdentifiseer. Daar word aanbeveel dat meer bewusmakingsprogramme oor die hantering van egskeiding aangebied word, dat vaardighede en opleiding oor die uitdagings van egskeiding verskerp word, en dat ondersoek word hoe effektiewe dienslewering aan adolessente gelewer kan word. Daar word ook aanbeveel dat meer hulpbronne beskikbaar gestel moet word ten einde meer maatskaplike werkers by skole aan te stel sodat maatskaplike dienste meer toeganklik vir adolessente van geskeide ouers kan wees. Voorstelle is ook gemaak vir toekomstige navorsing, veral aangaande die uitdagings van egskeiding vir adolessente in ’n multi-kulturele Suid-Afrikaanse konteks. Ten slotte is voorgestel dat toekomstige navorsing gedoen word oor hoe om egskeiding meer “kindervriendelik” te maak ten einde die uitdagings van egskeiding te verminder.
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    Readiness for practice of newly qualified social workers: experiences of supervisors at social service organisations in the Western Cape, South Africa
    (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2022-03) Wolfaardt, Katelyn Anne; Engelbrecht, Lambert Karel; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Social Work.
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The readiness of newly qualified social workers (NQSWs) for practice appears to be a growing area of research, however, there is little focus on the professional identities of NQSWs, and a lack of relevant literature on the readiness of NQSWs within a South African context. Global research indicates that NQSWs are being prepared in some skills and competencies, however, that they do lack skills and competencies in other regards. Readiness is a concept that is interpreted differently amongst various entities, and thus, it is impossible to satisfy all individuals’ expectations as to what constitutes an NQSW that is ready for practice. NQSWs enter a difficult working environment and experience stress and anxiety as they are new in the profession, posing additional needs and challenges when they are not fully ready for practice. Supervisors are in an ideal position to identify how NQSWs handle this transition into the workplace and whether there are specific tasks or challenges that they struggle with when entering practice. With little insight into this phenomenon within the South African context, it is difficult to understand how NQSWs can be better prepared and assisted in transitioning from being a student to a professional and enhancing their readiness for practice. In light of this, the researcher’s study aimed to gain an understanding of supervisors’ experiences of newly qualified social workers’ readiness for practice at social service organisations in the Western Cape, South Africa. This research followed a qualitative approach with the intent of obtaining insight and understanding into the experiences of social work supervisors on the readiness of NQSWs for practice. Descriptive and exploratory research designs were employed to gain a deeper understanding into the subjective experiences of social work supervisors on the readiness of NQSWs for practice, as there is a lack of research on this topic within a South African context. Social work supervisors as research participants were recruited through both purposive and snowball sampling methods. Fifteen participants were interviewed for this study with the researcher utilising semi-structured interviews via telephonic phone calls when collecting data. The researcher utilised a thematic content analysis approach when analysing the data that was collected during the interviews. Within this research, there are two literature chapters. The first chapter described and explained the global and local context of NQSWs within the realm of the developmental theory of professional identity. The second literature chapter analysed contemporary international and South African research on the readiness (both covert and overt) of NQSWs for practice. These chapters provided the foundation for chapter four which presented the empirical study. Within this, the researcher presented the data that was collected from research participants and analysed their relative narratives against existing global and local research. These results enabled the researcher to draw relevant conclusions and recommendations which were presented in chapter five of this research. The main conclusions that the researcher was able to deduce from the findings was that readiness is a concept understood differently and thus an NQSW will never be seen as ‘ready’ by all individuals in society, due to their variations in perceptiveness as to what constitutes as ‘ready’. As a result, supervisors deem different competencies as necessary for NQSWs to have when entering practice. NQSWs appear to both have, and lack, specific competencies dependent on the Higher Education Institution (HEI) that they attended and, as a consequence, which competencies they focused on enhancing throughout their social work training. Specialised supervision can enhance NQSWs’ readiness for practice and enable them to transition better into the profession, however, supervisors are not always able to provide this more intensive and supportive style of supervision to NQSWs due to their own workloads. HEIs are not preparing NQSWs sufficiently for the realities of practice. Consequently, vast differences in the social work training offered at HEIs are observed in South Africa - supervisors are aware of these differences, which influence their decision as to whether they would employ an NQSW. Ensuring the readiness of NQSWs for practice should, however, not only be the responsibility of one sole entity, but rather, should consist of a collaborative approach shared amongst HEIs, supervisors, social service organisations, social work governing and statutory organisations and NQSWs.