Keeping families afloat: Foster carer’s parenting experiences during COVID-19 in Ghana and implications for practice

Abstract

Formal foster care is a relatively new phenomenon in Ghana. The practice is in conformity with international and national policy guidelines to deinstitutionalize and strengthen family-based care for children without adequate parental care. In addition to the known challenges of foster par enting in Ghana (stigma, financial challenges and emotional strain, inexperience of the foster parents), the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 restrictions may worsen caregivers’ burden and negatively affect children in care. This study explored how foster parents are meeting their caregiving demands during the COVID-19 pandemic in the face of existing and new challenges. Following a participatory practice research approach, a co-constructed interview guide by the researchers and a practitioner was used to conduct in-depth telephone interviews with 13 foster parents. Findings from thematic analysis of the interviews showed challenges, including increased cost of caregiving and multiple caregiving duties as challenges facing foster parents whereas chil dren’s knowledge about the virus, informal support and religious beliefs collectively enhanced caregiving during the pandemic. The findings provide learning about ways to alleviate parenting challenges for foster parents during and after the pandemic. Specifically, interventions that view children as actors for change and strengthen community and religious bodies to deliver psycho social services would be useful to improve foster parenting.

Description

Research Article

Keywords

Children in care, foster care, Ghana, parenting in COVID-19

Citation