Community-based care and support programmes for orphaned and vulnerable children and their families are a critical component of HIV prevention and treatment efforts worldwide. The challenges of evaluating community-based programmes for HIV-affected families limit the evidence base for effective social work programming. Addressing these challenges can improve the validity of evaluations to provide better direction for the programme under study as well as promote best practices generally. This chapter describes lessons learned from five evaluations of care and support programmes for HIV-affected children and families in South Africa – home to the world’s largest HIV epidemic. Lessons learned include how to successfully collaborate with service providers, strategies to enhance the rigour, relevance and utility of evaluations, and to carefully consider the ethical issues of conducting research with this highly vulnerable population. These lessons may be applied internationally to strengthen the quality of evaluation research to more effectively guide social work practice.
Citation: Thurman, T. R., Luckett, B. G., Taylor, T. M., Nice, J. K., Carnay, M. & Spyrelis, A. (2017). Best practices for evaluating care and support programmes for HIV-affected families: Lessons learned from South Africa. In Henrickson M., Chipanta D., Lynch V., Muñoz Sanchez H., Nadkarni V., Semigina T. & Sewpaul V. (Eds.) Getting to Zero: Global Social Work Responds to HIV. Geneva: UNAIDS & IASSW.