South Africa shifted from the residual approach to adopt a developmental approach to
social service delivery through adopting the White Paper for Social Welfare (RSA,
Ministry for Social Welfare and Population Development, 1997). This mandated the shift
from social welfare services to developmental welfare services. Included in these
services is the foster care service; this is a child protection service which addresses
section 28 (1b) of the South African constitutional endorsement, which states that
“children have the right to family, parental or alternative care” (Constitution of the
Republic of South Africa, 1996). In April 2010, the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 was
initiated and implemented as legislative policy on the matter, with guidelines concerning
the delivery of foster care services within the developmental approach.
The goal of the study was to identify and describe barriers in the implementation of the
foster care services within a developmental approach in Nkangala District,
Mpumalanga. The research followed a qualitative approach whereby data was collected
through focus group discussions. The participants were 13 social workers from seven
child protection organisations in Nkangala District, Mpumalanga.
From the key findings it was gathered that the majority of foster care social workers
have no conceptual or contextual understanding of the delivery of foster care services
within the developmental approach.
The researcher recommends the formation of training manuals for Nkangala District
foster care social workers, which clearly define developmental foster care services and the role of social workers. The researcher also recommends that social workers in
Nkangala District take up the responsibility of being up to date with new developments
that arise in social service delivery. The researcher further recommends that the
Department of Social Development should consider reviewing the amount of money
allocated to Non-profit Organisations for developmental statutory services, so as to
ensure effective service delivery.