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African Journal of Social Work

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The time for reflection: foster care as a child protection model in Zimbabwe

George A. Muchinako, Memory Mpambela, Taruvinga Muzingili

Abstract


With continued child vulnerability in Zimbabwe, many alternative forms of child care systems need to be strengthened to enhance the plight of vulnerable children in the society. Foster care remains one of the child care systems which is yet to get much attention in Zimbabwe’s child protection discourse. Against this backdrop, the study sought to identify the opportunities of foster care as an alternative child care model. Using qualitative research design, the study collected data through exploratory tools such as in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The results of the study confirmed that foster care had many benefits which included deinstitutionalisation and was much cheaper as compared to institutionalisation. The article concluded that foster care, if wellcoordinated, can be a substitute of the biological family in child protection endeavors in Zimbabwe. In order to make the system vibrant, government as a chief custodian of children can work with other child protection players to improve the visibility of foster care in Zimbabwe.

Keywords: hope, foster care, child protection, Zimbabwe




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