Home Institution

Bethel University

Publication Date

Fall 2006

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health


This study is a brief introduction to the cluster foster care model of care for orphans and abandoned children as it is implemented at three organizations in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, including God’s Golden Acre, the Kenosis Community, and the Pietermaritzburg SOS Children’s Village. This study provides an over view of the histories of these three organizations, their structure and networking systems, the role of foster mothers and volunteers working in each organization respectively, the methods of education employed, medical services offered and prevalence of HIV, histories of abuse and neglect amongst the children being cared for, inclusion of Christianity and culture in the lives of the children, connections with the children’s communities of origin, a discussion of funding and sustainability of the cluster foster care system, and teenage rebellion amongst the children and how they are assisted in adapting to adult life. An evaluation of the cluster foster care system follows, based on supportive or critical statements made in reference to cluster foster care by local experts in the field of childcare. An introduction to another alternative form of childcare called the Isibindi model is included as a suggestion of one local child care expert. The main source of information for this study was provided by personal meetings with members of leadership at God’s Golden Acre, the Kenosis Community, the Pietermaritzburg SOS Children’s Village, Wylie House, and iThemba Lethu conducted by the author during the month of November, 2006. Through these interactions, it was found that the cluster foster care system is implemented in varying ways at the above three organizations and that there is some disagreement among child care experts in KwaZulu Natal as to the benefits and validity of the cluster foster care system. This study concludes that further investigation is necessary to determine the value of the cluster foster care system, but that it seems to the author that while implementation of the system may be flawed in some circumstances, the system itself is not invalid.


Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


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