What makes kinship caregivers unprepared for children in their care? Perspectives and experiences from kinship care alumni in Ghana

Ebenezer Cudjoe, Alhassan Abdullah, Marcus Y. L. Chiu - Children and Youth Services Review


Evidence from international literature suggests that children in kinship care have more positive experiences than those receiving care in institutions. Kinship care for children is highly used in Ghana as an alternative care option mostly because of the belief that it is important to keep children within their families to continue family relationships, culture and to cement family bonds. However, research in Ghana shows that kinship caregivers may not be prepared to provide care and protection for children in need of parental care. As a result of this, the safety and wellbeing of these children could be at risk. This study reports on a qualitative investigation involving 15 young kinship care alumni in Ghana to explore what kinship caregivers' unpreparedness means and what causes them to be unprepared. Data from the in-depth interviews were analysed following the constructivist grounded theory approach. The study revealed that kinship caregivers' unpreparedness makes it difficult for children's needs to be met. Poverty, unemployment and cultural and religious beliefs emerged as causing caregivers' unpreparedness. Implications of the findings for improving the safety and wellbeing of children in kinship care are discussed.