Host parents' experiences of accommodating children in need of care
Amroodt, Melissa Charlene
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Despite remarkable strides being made in legislation in South Africa, the country still faces immense challenges which directly impact on the care and protection of its children. Many children are removed from their families and placed into alternative care because of high risk factors in the family and community. However, because of the socioeconomic situations of families, many of these children will not be able to return to their family. It is, therefore, essential that in the residential care programme, efforts are directed towards permanency planning for each child in order to ensure long term placement in a family. The host parent programme which has been introduced at Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) acts as a precursor to foster-care placements. Following on this, host parents provide the child in need of care with opportunities to interact and form positive relationships with adult caregivers. This study has explored and described, by means of qualitative research, the experiences of host parents who accommodated children in need of care. Nine host parents were purposively selected from three participating CYCCs in Athlone, Cape Town. Data was collected by means of semi-structured individual interviews. The data was analysed according to the steps by Tesch in Creswell (2009). The findings suggest that host parents are instrumental to those children who cannot return to their natural families. The host parents’ interaction with the CYCC was both positive and negative at times. Recommendations and guidelines in order to develop and improve existing hosting programmes at CYCC’s are provided.