MPhil study projects

An evaluation of child and youth care workers’ experiences in providing psychosocial support services to orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/Aids in Nkomazi Local Municipality

Student: Lindiwe Fortunate Ngomane

Country: South Africa

Child and youth care workers (CYCWs) have played a pivotal role in delivering psychosocial support services (PSSs) to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in communities. They ensured that essential life skills are imparted, monitored the healthcare needs of OVC and facilitated referrals to appropriate service providers.

In response to the need for standardised services and professional accountability, the professionalisation of child and youth care work became imperative. The National Association for Child Care Workers developed the Isibindi model, tailored to equip CYCWs with the skills to deliver quality PSSs to OVC in their communities.

This study evaluated CYCWs’ experiences, practices, work environments and self-efficacy in providing PSSs at three Isibindi sites in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Employing an exploratory qualitative research design, the study utilised focus group discussions for data collection, embracing a naturalistic approach by observing CYCWs in their work environments.

The findings revealed the dedication and passion of CYCWs, despite resource constraints and operational challenges hindering effective PSS provision. The study concluded that the Isibindi sites harboured the potential to serve as beacons of hope for vulnerable children and youth.