Support for Non-Relative Female Foster Parents in South Africa: Quality of Care and Placement Outcomes


  • Samuel Emovon University of Zululand
  • Priscilla Gutura University of Pretoria
  • Ngenisiwe Ntombela North West University



children, female, foster care, foster parents, non-relative, support


Caring for and protecting vulnerable children in foster care continues to be an important realisation of the rights of children in South Africa. The weakening of the extended family and the increasing number of orphaned and vulnerable children give rise to the relevance of non-relative fostering. This article discusses the different sources of support used by female non-relative foster parents when caring for the children. The findings come from a broader doctoral study that explored the experiences of non-relative foster parents. The data were collected using semi-structured interviews and a focus group discussion. The findings indicate that the participants received the same support as relative foster parents, including financial support from the government in foster care grants, support from faith-based organisations, and support from nuclear family members. Most participants were self-supported through personal incomes and savings, which differed from relative foster parents who relied solely on the foster care grant. The participants received limited or no support from social workers or agencies. This article concludes that the type of support available to non-relative foster parents is the same as that for relative foster parents, and it influences the quality of care and placement outcome. With adequate support, the burden of caring is lessened therefore improving the quality of care. Therefore, it is necessary to provide holistic support to non-relative foster parents to secure their willingness to continue caring, thus improving the quality, recruitment, and retention of foster parenting.


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How to Cite

Emovon, Samuel, Priscilla Gutura, and Ngenisiwe Ntombela. 2021. “Support for Non-Relative Female Foster Parents in South Africa: Quality of Care and Placement Outcomes”. Southern African Journal of Social Work and Social Development 33 (1):17 pages .



Received 2020-01-06
Accepted 2021-03-30
Published 2021-06-04