RECOUNTING STORIES IN SOUTH AFRICAN CHILD WELFARE

Jeanette Schmid

Abstract


In order to proactively bring about change, it is critical in a post-apartheid context for South African social workers to appreciate how colonial and apartheid forces have shaped the inherited welfare priorities, structures, legislation, policies and practices. It is as necessary also to identify stories of resistance as these offer hope and alternative possibilities. Authors such as McKendrick (2001), Patel (2005) and Loffell (2000) have tracked many aspects of South African welfare history. In its submission to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission – a body set up to formally acknowledge past injustices with the goal of bringing about political reconciliation – the welfare sector set out how it had contributed to historical discrimination and wrongs (Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 1999). While these narratives provide the framework for the development of child welfare in South Africa, relatively little is known about its particular history, especially its earliest roots. Beukes and Gannon (1999) and Allsopp (2005) have attempted to explore the origins of that profession in the child and youth work field. Badroodien (2001) examined the extensive impact of one institution, the Ottery School of Industry, on “coloured” youths and their families. Scordillis and Becker (2005) recount briefly the history of adoption practice in South Africa. Some of the child welfare societies have been able to provide sketches of their agency history. In this article the author attempts to add to the child welfare record, gathering the existing strands of literature and inserting the stories that emerged in her doctoral research (Schmid, 2008b

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15270/49-3-48

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