Children and youth including those with impaired body function or structure, in under resourced areas, can be disadvantaged in terms of education and health care, and can experience social hardship. Within South Africa, personal, health and education support to individual children and their families in under-resourced areas is provided by care workers from the National Association of Child Care Workers. This organisation also provides training and support to their care workers to take on the role of Disability Facilitator, to extend their services to children with impaired body function or structure. This study established the views of Disability Facilitators about their work. Fourteen participants (aged 25–54years) were individually interviewed at their own worksite. Two themes were identified from the data - Empowerment and Burden of responsibility.The theme of ‘Empowerment’ encapsulated how participants viewed disability more widely than as it relates to impaired body function and structure. Disability Facilitators empowered children and their families in a holistic way, and advocated within their community to address negative perceptions about disability. They supported the wellbeing and participation of children with disability within their local communities, and perceived their work as motivating and worthwhile. However, the second theme ‘Burden of responsibility’ encapsulated the challenges in feeling solely responsible for disability support in their community and in providing care and support for children living in dysfunctional families. They recommended all care workers receive training about disability issues to reduce the burden of responsibility on themselves. This study has demonstrated the worth of Disability Facilitators to address the challenges inherent in disabling environments. This approach to service provision offers useful insights that could be adapted into other countries and contexts.
Children and Youth Services Review – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2017
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