Experiences of unaccompanied minors: an exploratory study conducted with refugee children
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The main aim of this study was to explore lived experiences of unaccompanied foreign minors in South Africa from a social work perspective. An important goal was to also explore the lack of guidelines on how to assist these young people. This study was conducted in a Children's Shelter, which is situated in the North-Eastern outskirts of Polokwane, where a group of unaccompanied refugee children from Zimbabwe were living. This study was qualitative and explorative in nature. Non-probability sampling was used to select participants for the study. Ten children were selected, ranging from age 14 to 18 years. Semi-structured interviews with the children and a focus group discussion with five care workers were held. Thematic analysis was used. The findings of this study revealed that services by government social workers are limited compared to those from social workers employed with nongovernmental organisations. It is hoped that this study will assist government and other role players in planning, advocacy and policy development related to the issues affecting unaccompanied refugee children.