Exploring the capacity-building needs of social workers to prepare youth leaving child and youth care centres in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng Province

Gamede, Zandile
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One of the roles of social workers employed within Child and Youth Care Centres (CYCCs) is to prepare the youth for discharge by empowering them with knowledge and skills, and provide them with resources so that that they achieve independent living and can reintegrate successfully into mainstream society. However, most youth leaving CYCCs are often not prepared or trained for independent living before being discharged from CYCCs. The study attempted to explore the capacity-building needs that social workers have in preparing the youth to leave CYCCs. Within this study, challenges and successes social workers experienced in preparing the youths for independent living were also described‟. The study applied a qualitative research approach and a collective case study design. Non-probability purposive sampling was used to select twelve social workers who were employed by the Gauteng Department of Social Development and working within Ekurhuleni CYCCs at the time of the study. An interview schedule was utilised to conduct an in-depth one-on-one semi-structured interviews with the participants. The data was analysed thematically. Factors such as lack of formal training in programme design and management, lack of conceptual understanding of Independent Living Programmes (ILPs) and lack of formal ILPs or integrated approaches to preparing youth leaving care centres were identified as contributing towards lack of preparation of youth leaving CYCCs. Secondly, challenges arising from issues pertaining human resources and structural challenges were identified. In addition, the findings revealed that some of the social workers are able to provide services and interventions that aimed to facilitate successful transitioning for care leavers to become independent and self-sufficient. Finally, the findings revealed that social workers need training on designing and implementing ILPs. The main conclusion drawn from the study is that social workers do not implement ILPs because they are not properly capacitated. As such, they lack knowledge and skills to design and implement ILPs
A report on a research study presented to The Department of Social Work, School of Human and Community Development, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree Master of Arts in Social Work, 2020