The role of social work in the protection of vulnerable children

Lessons from Zimbabwe

Authored by: Mildred Mushunje

The Handbook of Social Work and Social Development in Africa

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781472468512
eBook ISBN: 9781315557359
Adobe ISBN: 9781317029380


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This chapter discusses contemporary child protection in Zimbabwe and the role of social work. It argues that colonial welfare-based social work, in which the social worker is central to the process, no longer suffices for the wellbeing of vulnerable children. Rather, the multisectoral, rights-based child protection model requires participation from multiple stakeholders, including the state, community, related professionals, and the family. In demonstrating the value of this model, the chapter draws on the experiences of the Family Support Trust (FST), a registered nongovernmental organisation (NGO) working with multiple partners (including the victim-friendly police unit, social welfare department, and educational and psychosocial support services) to provide holistic care for sexually abused children in Zimbabwe.

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