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Papers/Reports | October 13, 2016

Factors Related to the Placement into and Reintegration of Children from Catholic-Affiliated Residential Care Facilities in Zambia

To support recent child care reform efforts in Zambia, Catholic Relief Services, in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Zambia, Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare and in partnership with the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods (ZAS), conducted formative research to better understand and document the factors related to children’s placement in Catholic-affiliated residential care facilities in Zambia, as well as perceptions around reintegration and leaving care. This study was part of the GHR Foundation’s Children in Families (CIF) strategy.

The study found that the top reasons for placing children in Catholic-affiliated residential care facilities were: 1) poverty (primarily resulting in the inability to afford school fees and/or food insecurity); 2) death of a parent; 3) disability or chronic illness of the child in care; 4) abuse, maltreatment, or neglect; 5) disability or chronic illness of a household member; and 6) caregivers’ inability to cope with rebellious behaviors displayed by children and youth.

The most common needs cited by caregivers with children in residential care were economic and educational support. Caregivers who did not place children in care were more likely to feel that lack of school support would contribute to placement. Community leaders also stated that economic support was essential.

The research findings add to the body of knowledge that influence the acceleration of childcare reform in Zambia. Notably, the research serves as the basis for shaping the involvement of Catholic-affiliated residential care facilities in particular with advancing the government’s strategy. CRS recommends a purposeful process of change and consensus building among residential care facilities and stakeholders with regards to buy-in to the alternative care movement in Zambia.



  • Abstract

  • Introduction

  • Methodology

  • What does Catholic-affiliated residential care for children look like?

  • Characteristics of the children who live in Catholic-affiliated residential care facilities

  • Alternative family-based care

  • Care leavers

  • Discussion and recommendations

  • Refererences

  • Appendix 1: Sampling