Life after institutional care: Implications for research and practice

Kabo Diraditsile, Mbongeni Nyadza - Child & Family Social Work


This study sought to investigate the lived experiences of care leavers from institutional care facility in Botswana. The study objectives were to explore the challenges faced by children after leaving the institutional care and to identify services that can be offered to them in preparation for life in a society in general. The study adopted a cross-sectional qualitative research approach, and data were collected through in-depth interviews that were qualitatively analysed. Thirty participants was sampled, and there were divided into 2 sections comprising care leavers and key informants who were part of the institutional care staff. They were selected using purposive and snowball sampling methods. The findings confirm that institutional care has both positive and negative effects on care leavers in the sense that it provides children with educational opportunities, family, and strong interrelation skills. Furthermore, the study findings show that during children's stay in the institutional care, they are sometimes neglected by housemothers that affect their transition into mainstream society. Moreover, the study findings reveal that care leavers encounter many challenges ranging from finance management to unemployment, discrimination from the society, and poverty. Lastly, future research, policy direction, and implications are discussed.