In South Africa, rates of adoption remain low while the number of fostered children continually rises.
Little is known about the public perceptions, beliefs and experiences that inform decisions to either foster
or adopt in South Africa. This qualitative research explored these issues among a national sample of
childless adults, biological parents, kin and non-kin fostering parents and prospective and successful
adopters. Fostering is driven predominantly by access to subsidies but is also informed by socio-cultural
beliefs. Low adoption rates are influenced by an absence of subsidies, poor access to quality adoptive services
and a lack of information about adoption.