• Rosina Mnisi UNISA
  • Petro Botha UNISA


This article describes the factors contributing to the breakdown of foster care placements of adolescents from the perspective of the foster parents and adolescents involved. It was found that all the placements in the sample were kinship foster care placements. Although similar factors were identified, the perspectives of foster parents and adolescents differed. Disruptive behaviour of adolescents, including substance abuse, inappropriate sexual behaviour and involvement in the occult were identified. Physical and emotional abuse by foster parents and the involvement of biological parents were also isolated as contributory factors. Recommendations for practice and further research were made.

Author Biographies

Rosina Mnisi, UNISA
Post graduate Stusent
Petro Botha, UNISA
Department of Social Work


BABBIE, E.R. & MOUTON, J. 2001. The practice of social research (2nd ed). Wadsworth: Oxford University.

BEESLY, P. 2010. Making good assessment: a practical resource guide. London: British Association of Adoption and Fostering.

BEIHAL, N. 2009. Foster care for adolescents. In: SCHOFIELD, G. & SIMMONDS, J. The Placement Handbook Research, policy, and practice. London: BAAF Adoption and Fostering, 159-177.

BOOYSEN, S. 2006. Exploring the causal factors of foster placement breakdown. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

BRINK, H. 2006. Fundamentals of research methodology for health care professionals (2nd ed). Cape Town: Juta & Co. (Pty) Ltd.

Children’s Act (Act No 38) of 2005, see SOUTH AFRICA, 2006.

CLARK, C.M. 2007. Clinical assessment of adolescents involved in Satanism. Adolescents, 29(114):461-468.

CONE, J.D. & FOSTER, S.L. 2002. Dissertation and thesis from start to finish: psychology and related fields. Hyattsville: PAD.

CRESWELL, J.W. 2007. Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches (2nd ed). London: Sage Publications.

CRESWELL, J.W. 2009. Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods approaches. London: Sage Publications.

DESCOMBE, M. 2010. The good research guide for small-scale social research projects (4th ed). New York: Two Pen Plaza eEducation.

DUDLEY, J.R. 2011. Research methods for social work (2nd ed). Boston: Pearson Education.

FARMER, E. & MOYERS, S. 2008. Kinship care, fostering effective family and friends placements. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

FARMER, E., MOYERS, S. & LIPSCOMBE J. 2004. Fostering adolescents. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

FLICK, U. 2002. An introduction to qualitative research (2nd ed). London: Sage Publications.

FOX, A., FRASCH, K. & BERRICK, J.D. 2000. Listening to children in foster care: an empirical based curriculum. Berkeley: University of California.

GELDERS, B. 2011. South Africa’s children: a review of equity and child rights design and typesetting: South Africa handmade communications. South African Human Rights Commission, South Africa: UNICEF.

GOODYER, A. 2011. Child-centred foster care: a rights-based model for practice. London: Kingsley.

HALKETT, R. 2003. Enhancing the quality of life for children without parents in the South African context. South Africa: National Council for Child and Family Welfare.

KAYE, S. 2007. Internalizing and externalizing behaviours of adolescents in kinship and foster care: findings from the national survey of child and adolescent well-being. College Park: University of Maryland.

KAYROOZ, C. & TREVITT, C. 2005. Research in organisations and communities: tales from the real world. Australia: Allen University.

KOHLENBERG, E., NORDLUND, D., LOWIN, A. & TREICHLER, B. 2002. Alcohol and substance use among adolescents in foster care in Washington State: results from the 1998-1999 adolescent foster care survey. Washington: Washington State Department of Social and Health Services.

KREFTING, L. 1990. Rigor in qualitative research: the assessment of trustworthiness. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 45(3):214-222.

LIPSCOMBE, J. 2004. Testing the limits of foster care: fostering as an alternative to secure accommodation. London: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

LÓPEZ, L.M., DEL VALLE, F.J., MONTSERRAT, C. & BRAVO, A. 2011. Factors affecting foster care breakdown in Spain. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 14(1):111-122.

MAHERY, P., JAMIESON, L. SCOTT, K. & JANUARY, K. 2011. Children’s Act guide for child and youth care workers (1st ed). Cape Town: University of Cape Town.

MAKHITHA, T.S. 2013. Sexual activities at school: teenagers’ experiences and social work support. Pretoria, South Africa: Unisa.

MALUCCIO, F.A., KERMAN, B. & FREUNDLICH, M. 2009. Achieving permanence for older children and youth in foster care. New York: Columbia University.

MARSHALL, C. & ROSSMAN, G. 2011. Designing qualitative research (5th ed). California: Sage Publications.

MERRIAM, S.B. 2009. Qualitative data analysis: an expanded sourcebook (2nd ed). CA. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

PAPALIA, D.E. & FELDMAN, R.D. 2011. A child’s world infancy through adolescence (12th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

SCHOFIELD, G. & SIMMONDS, J. 2009. The child placement handbook. London: Great British Athenaeum Press.

SILVERMAN, D. 2010. Doing qualitative research: a practical handbook (3rd ed). London: Sage Publications.

SINCLAIR, I., WILSON, K.G. & GIBBS, I. 2005. Foster placements: why they succeed and why they fail. London: Jessica Kingsley.

SOUTH AFRICA. 2006. Children’s Act (Act No 38) of 2005. Government Gazette, 492(28944), June 19:1-217.

THOMAS, N. 2005. Social work with young people in care: looking after children in theory and practice. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

THOMAS, M. & PHILPOT, T. 2009. Fostering a child’s recovery: family placement for traumatized children. London: Jessica Kingsley.

THOMPSON, R.G. & AUSLANDER, W.F. 2006. Risk factors for alcohol and marijuana use among adolescents in foster care. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 32:61-69.

VAN DER RIET, K.E. 2009. Foster care: the experiences of birth children. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

WENGRAF, T. 2011. Qualitative research interviewing (1st ed). London: Sage Publications.