Perceptions of social workers regarding life story work with children in child and youth care centres
Gutsche, Kathrine Helen
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This study focuses on social workers‟ perceptions regarding life story work with children in child and youth care centres in South Africa. Life story work is an established form of intervention utilized by social workers with children in care mostly in the United Kingdom. Limited research has been conducted on the subject in South Africa. The research hoped to discover how social workers perceive life story work as a therapeutic intervention technique to be utilized with children in child and youth care centres. Qualitative descriptive design was conducted inductively, through semi-structured interviews and one focus group discussion. A total of six registered social workers at registered child and youth care centres in the Northern and Southern suburbs of Cape Town in the Western Province of South Africa were purposefully selected to participate in this study. All of the interviews and the focus group were audiorecorded. Recordings were transcribed by the researcher to ascertain certain emerging themes and categories. Thematic data analysis was utilized to transform the transcribed data into meaningful information. The principles and strategies for enhancing the trustworthiness of the data were done through crystallisation. The findings of the study revealed that social workers initially perceive life story work as time-consuming and are unaware of what the concept truly entails, but once examples were shown to the social workers, they recognised that they were using some of the activities already and perceived life story work as valuable, effective and essential in child and youth care centres. Life story work was perceived as useful for identity formation, a sense of belonging, relationship-building and family reunification services, for example. It was discovered that the social workers were utilising aspects of life story work, but that there is a shortage of social workers to act as facilitators to possibly complete life story work processes with each child in child and youth care centres. The recommendation was, therefore, made that childcare workers be trained in life story work in order for it to be implemented in child and youth care centres effectively. Further research studies were, therefore, recommended to ascertain how life story work could be practically implemented as a holistic programme with the children in child and youth care centres.
- Humanities