Children's perceptions of interactions with their caregivers in child and youth care centres
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In South Africa, alternative care solutions such as foster homes, child-headed households, placements with relatives and Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs), are under pressure to provide for the large numbers of children who need care. Child and Youth Care Centres include facilities such as children’s homes, places of safety, secure care facilities and schools of industry or reform schools. South African legislation offers guidelines towards the fulfilment of children’s needs in CYCCs by providing them with Children’s rights. Unfortunately, not only is literature on children living in CYCCs limited both internationally and locally, existing literature regarding children’s care in CYCCs in South Africa points towards a gap between legislative guidelines and practice of care provision. For example, apparently, children in CYCCs are not afforded opportunities to voice their opinions, and many CYCCs in South Africa are not legally registered. As a result, an obvious indication of the care and interaction taking place between caregivers and children in CYCCs is not available. This inductive, qualitative study aimed to explore and describe the views of children living in Child and Youth Care Centres in the Vaal Triangle area, Gauteng, South Africa, in an effort to gain a better understanding of children’s perceptions of their interactions with their caregivers. One-on-one interviews with children from three CYCCs were conducted. Interviews were voice-recorded and later transcribed. While being interviewed, participants were asked to take part in a role-play exercise and to make a collage of their interaction and relationship with their caregivers. Data was analysed using Creswell’s spiral of analysis and Thematic Analysis by Braun and Clarke. The findings revealed four themes, which encompassed the perceptions of interactions with caregiver: 1. Daily activity with caregiver; 2. Special time with caregiver; 3. Behaviour management strategies; and, 4. Relationship with caregiver. The key findings indicate the valuable insight that was gained by affording children in CYCCs the opportunity to voice their perceptions on their interactions with their caregivers. This not only empowers children and fulfils their right to be heard, but also provides a better understanding of whether needs are being met or not.
- Humanities