Transforming child and family services in urban communities in South Africa: lessons from the South

Leila Patel, Jeanette Elizabeth Schmid, Hendrik Jacobus Venter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Post-apartheid, South African agencies have been required to shift their services in fundamental ways, including offering services in previously un-resourced areas, honouring the rights of children and families, ensuring that users, staff and governing bodies are representative of the population and providing developmental social welfare services in place of child protection-oriented interventions only. A study of urban South African child welfare agencies provides insight into the complex task of managing and leading change. In view of overloaded change agenda and resource constraints, managers focused on effecting incremental change and prioritized the most ‘rewarding’ change efforts. Transforming practice towards a developmental approach was less successful. Structural interventions were also not prioritized. Child welfare agencies internationally face demands to transform in response to the effects of local change and globalization. The study's insights might resonate with agencies working for change in other societal contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)451-460
Number of pages10
JournalChild and Family Social Work
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • change management
  • child and family services
  • leaders
  • lessons from South

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health (social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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