Problems and Solutions when Dealing with Street Children

Problems and Solutions when Dealing with Street Children

A qualitative study based on experiences from Social Workers’ in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

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Based on qualitative interviews with social workers is the aim with this study to examine a social worker’s perspective concerning their work and development with street children in Bloemfontein, South Africa. The interviews were analyzed thematically focusing on how social workers describe the problems and their work/strategies with street children. The result is divided in two themes; Problems and Solution. Problems refer to how the local context concerning street children in Bloemfontein are described by social workers. Solutions refer to how the social workers describe their work and which solutions that are available in Bloemfontein. According to the participant’s street children are viewed as victims, thief’s and naughty by the society. The social workers stated that the main approach of effort in social work with street children are trustful-relationships, negotiation and support. Therefore, a relationship of trust must be gained before the children can receive help. The participants divided children of the street in to types, the ‘manipulative’ child and the ‘naive’ child. The social worker’s tasks are to work with both types of children in order to create change and to restore trust. The findings from the result are analyzed from one of Helen Fuchs Bach’s theoretical concepts from The Exit Process. This concept is called the Turning Point and refers to that there comes a point where a change is needed which affects the former identity and role for a person. Understanding the results using the Turing Point has helped us understand the importance of creating trusting relationships and making each street child feel special in order to enable change in a street child’s life.

Keywords: Street children, South Africa, Social work, Social work process, Qualitative study, Bloemfontein