Psychosocial deficits underpinning child headed households (CHHs) in Mabvuku and Tafara suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe

A. Makuyana, S. P. Mbulayi, S. M. Kangethe - Children and Youth Services Review


Debates around the psycho-social deficits experienced by children in child headed households are necessary for the transformation of child welfare policies, philosophies and practices in Zimbabwe and beyond. This qualitative study used a case study design to explore the manifestations of the core psycho-social deficits associated with children domiciled in child headed households. The study was conceptualised around the following research question: What are the manifestations of psychosocial deficits among children living in child headed households of Mabvuku and Tafara suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe? A total sample of fourteen participants including twelve children and two key informants were interviewed using pre-designed interview schedules. Findings revealed that psychosocial deficits among children from child headed households manifested through poor personal grooming, indecision and avoidance of challenging situations by the children; sexual violence and unplanned teenage pregnancy; familial and societal neglect, discrimination and isolation and vicarious bereavement. The study recommended moral regeneration, refinement and realignment of child welfare policies and practices; and an extension of grief counselling services to children in child headed households.