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Challenges in the management of support and care programmes for child‐headed households in South Africa

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human s.p. & van rensburg g.h. (2011) Journal of Nursing Management 19, 959–966

Challenges in the management of support and care programmes for child‐headed households in South Africa

Aims  The present study reports on data collected in a larger study on ‘A situational analysis of child‐headed households in South Africa’. The purpose of this study was to explore the management and control of available and required services, resources and safety nets for children in child‐headed households.

Background  The significance of having a better understanding of the challenges, limitations but importance for government structures to manage and control programmes will enhance the implementation and maintenance of focused and sustainable support structures and programmes which will effectively address the needs of child‐headed households.

Method  An exploratory and descriptive, quantitative survey was conducted to provide information on government structures at a national level and the nine provinces in South Africa. The population consisted of the Departments of Social Development, Education, Health and Agriculture, at both national and provincial levels.

Results  The main findings included a lack of clarity regarding the concept and definition of a child‐headed household, lack of empirical data, a diversity of needs and challenges in terms of location and geographical distribution of available infrastructure and support systems; programmes that are not inclusive and integrated; and contradictions in the stipulations and implementation of existing policies and capacity and human resources shortages.

Conclusions  It was concluded that the magnitude, uniqueness and complexity of the phenomenon necessitate effective and sound scientific management principles. This is achieved by providing legal clarity of the concept; developing relevant policies and ensuring effective implementation thereof; rigorous monitoring and evaluation based on comprehensive empirical data; and protecting the rights and safety of these children and ensuring an enabling environment for all stakeholders to address needs and challenges.

Implications for nursing management  The role of the nurse manager is to ensure a holistic approach to children living in child‐headed households by acting as a facilitator, advocate, leader, coordinator and consultant.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Professor 2: Associate Professor, Department of Health Studies, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Publication date: October 1, 2011

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