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‘There is not much we can do’: The roles and challenges of Nigeria's child protection social workers

Research on the challenges child protection social workers (CPSWs) face has increased remarkably in developed nations with the goal of finding sustainable solutions. There is a significant number of vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), yet little is documented and known about the role of CPSWs in supporting the children, and the challenges they face that must be addressed to ensure effective and efficient service delivery. The study presents findings from in-depth interviews with 11 certified social workers recruited from five non-governmental organizations in Lagos and Kano states, Nigeria. A realist thematic methodological analysis was performed on the data. Findings were organized and discussed around two major themes including child-focused remedial work and challenges encountered. Providing essential remedial services such as food, clothing, shelter and counselling/therapeutic services emerged as the primary responsibilities of Nigerian child protection social workers (NCPSWs). Their work-related challenges include frustration due to limited resources and resistant children, shortages of social workers and high caseloads, whereas systemic challenges include the non-adoption and non-implementation of the 2003 Child Rights Act (CRA), the lack of legal recognition for the profession and government support. Implications and recommendations are drawn for practice, policy, and research.

Stanley Oloji Isangha, Tosin Yinka Akintunde, Wai Man Anna Choi, Tam Cherry Hau Lin
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Journal article - abstract only
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