Is kinship failing? Views on informal support by families in contact with social services in Ghana

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

13 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)617–624
Journal / PublicationChild & Family Social Work
Issue number4
Online published25 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


Traditionally, Ghanaian families facing difficulties address their problems by engaging kin, with the State being the last point of call. However, in recent times, more families facing difficulties are contacting social services to seek redress. So what contribution are kin and other informal social support networks providing to the care and safety of children of such families? This paper presents findings from 15 families receiving services from the Department of Social Welfare in Sekondi, Ghana. Through semistructured in‐depth interviews, the families shared their views on the roles played by their kin and informal social networks in contributing to the care of their children. The study findings suggest that kin still plays a vital role in the support of parenting through imbibing of norms and values; whereas the provision of casual support is provided by nonkin in one's social support network on the basis of reciprocity. Therefore, it was concluded that in developing social welfare policies to ensure better outcomes for children in Ghana attention also has to be placed on the supportive role of the community for families in danger of disruption as there is likely to be limited familial safety net for support in child care.

Research Area(s)

  • child care, kinship care, parenting/parenthood, social services departments, social support