Family Support Services in the Context of Child Care Reform: Perspectives of Ghanaian Social Workers

Kwabena Frimpong-Manso - Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal


Conventions safeguarding children such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children require that every child has a right to live with their biological parents. However, in Ghana, different factors such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, parental and child disability, often lead to children becoming separated from their parents. As part of the current childcare reform, the system is focusing on preventing the institutionalization of children through family support services. However, there is little research evidence on the provision of family support services in Ghana and other lower-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Using a qualitative design, I interviewed 12 social workers to explore the benefits of family support services and challenges that inhibit the gains from the services. The findings of the study suggest that the provision of family support builds up the capacity of vulnerable families to care for children, promotes children’s wellbeing and academic outcomes. Challenges that inhibit the impact of the family support services include inadequate funding, clients’ attitudes and poor interagency collaboration. Implications of the findings for practice are discussed.