In 1997 the democratic government of South Africa adopted the White Paper for Social Welfare (Republic of South Africa [RSA], 1997) which committed the country to a developmental approach to social welfare. The implementation of the developmental approach to social services is a shared responsibility of the state, non-governmental organisations and the private sector (Patel, 2015:93). Despite the ongoing studies relating to developmental social welfare service delivery, there is insufficient evidence of the shift made towards a developmental approach by government social workers employed by the Department of Social Development.
The goal of the study was to explore social workers? perspectives on the shift towards the developmental approach in social service delivery in the Department of Social Development in the Mopani District, Limpopo.
The study employed a qualitative research approach and a case study research design. The sample for the study was selected purposefully and included thirty-two (32) social workers and four (4) supervisors from four sub-districts in the Mopani District. Data was collected through one focus group interview with social workers and one-on-one interviews with supervisors in the four regions respectively.
The research findings indicate that social workers have made a partial shift towards a developmental approach in service delivery. The shift is more evident in protection and prevention service delivery than in promoting socio-economic development. The shift is reflected in some strides towards a human rights-based approach; social and economic development; participation; partnerships; and efforts to link micro and macro practice. The findings further point out the barriers that hinder social workers from making significant progress towards the developmental approach.
The overall conclusion of this research endeavour is that there is a need in the Department of Social Development for guidelines and capacity building of social workers and supervisors in the developmental approach. The study recommends guidelines to accelerate the progress of implementing the developmental approach in the Mopani District.
Mini Dissertation (MSW)--University of Pretoria, 2016.
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