International Kinship Care Arrangement: Ethiopian Children Applying for Australian Orphan Relative Visa
The study is about international kinship care arrangements in Ethiopia, focusing on Ethiopian children who applied for an Australian Orphan Relative Visa. A qualitative case study research method was used. Study participants were nine children between the ages of 13-17 years and nine parents/guardians of those children. Other participants were five experts from the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth Affairs, and Federal First Instance Court. In-depth interviews were conducted using semi-structured interview guides. Additional data were also derived from observations and document reviews. Thematic data analysis was used. Data from all sources were triangulated and categorized under the themes that emerged from the data. This study identified two categories of children: those who cannot get proper care either due to the loss of parents or due to incapacity of parents to take care of them, and those children who use international kinship arrangement as a mechanism to access a better life in Australia. Children expressed their expectations to get a better education, employment, material benefits, and living conditions after placement abroad. They also expressed concerns about how well relatives abroad will treat them. The findings further revealed that the Ministry of Women, Children, and Youth Affairs was not appropriately documenting pre-placement and post-placement information. Since international kinship care is different from international adoption in its nature, there was a lack of clarity on the legal protection that should be given to children, which puts them in a precarious socio-legal situation. This study can be used as a starting point to understand and consider international kinship care arrangements as one important alternative child care option.
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