Experiences of child care facilities with child community reintegration in Lusaka district of Zambia.

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Mumba, Joachim Cuthbert
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The University of Zambia
The purpose of this study was to explore the child community reintegration process as experienced by child care facilities(CCFs) in Lusaka. The study endeavored to answer the following questions; 1. What are the child community reintegration models used by the child care facilities in Zambia? 2. What are the successes of Child care facilities in Zambia with child community reintegration? And 3. What are the challenges encountered by the child care facilities in Zambia in the reintegration of children into communities? The study was exploratory and qualitative in nature and employed purposive sampling to select both Six (6) child care facilities and participants that took part in the study. This research approach was most appropriate as the researcher was interested in developing a better understanding of experiences of CCFs with child community reintegration. Data was collected using interview guides which were orally administered and tape recorded through a one-on-one conversation with study participants. Tape-recorded interview data was immediately transcribed verbatim and analyzed thematically using emerging themes. Participants of this study identified extended family (kinship care), biological parents and resettlement (under group or independent living) as the widely used child community reintegration models. It was further established that the extended family or kinship care was the most preferred of the three models. Several factors were identified by the participants as having a positive influence on the reintegration process. The identified factors include the use of technology, community based organizations, support groups, fostering of partnerships with the private sector and spirituality (the church). The major challenges faced by CCFs when implementing child community reintegration include inadequate financial and human resources; discrepancy between the child’s given name during childhood and their given name on the street creating challenges during family tracing; and unwillingness of guardians to accept children with mental and physical disabilities. Inadequate financial and human resources impacted negatively on the reintegration programme as most participants indicated that their donors did not fund them for reintegration, making it difficult to conduct post reunification follow-up visits. The study concludes that extended family, biological parents and independent living were widely used reintegration models as they provided an opportunity for the child to return to a familiar environment. The study therefore argues that kinship care model was the most preferred option for majority children successfully reintegrated and efforts should be made to strengthen extended families. It further concludes that the use of technology during post-reintegration follow-ups, collaboration with community based organizations, support groups, religious organizations and fostering partnerships with the corporate world should be encouraged. The study further concludes inadequate financial and human resources, discrepancy between the child’s given and that of the street created challenges during family tracing. CCFs should be encouraged to facilitate visits by children to their families and vice versa. Additionally, it is recommended that Government should ensure the availability of adequate and sustained funding of the Reintegration Programme as CCFs are merely implementing on behalf of the Government of Zambia.
Thesis of Master of Social Work.