The AIDS epidemic has created an unprecedented number of orphans. While largely absorbed by extended family, this additional responsibility can weigh heavily on their caregivers. The concept of caregiver burden captures multiple dimensions of well-being (e.g., physical, social and psychological). Measuring the extent and determinants of caregiving burden can inform the design of programmes to ease the negative consequences of caregiving. This study uses the baseline data from a study assessing interventions for orphans and vulnerable adolescents in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

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Children and families affected by HIV are at considerable risk for psychological distress. Community-based home visiting is a common mechanism for providing basic counseling and other services to HIV-affected families. While programs emphasize home visitor training and compensation as means to promote high-quality service delivery, whether these efforts result in measurable gains in beneficiaries’ well-being remains largely unanswered. This study employs a longitudinal quasi-experimental design to explore whether these kinds of investments yield concomitant gains in psychological outcomes among beneficiaries.

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Child maltreatment is a serious concern in South Africa and significantly undermines the development and wellbeing of children affected by it. This study aimed to explore the types of abuse that were reported for children brought to the Sunlight Safe House; an after-hours service for abused and abandoned children based in Johannesburg. The sample consisted of 1 461 cases opened at the Sunlight Safe House between January 2006 and June 2012 and included children from birth to 18 years of age.

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There is concern that orphans may be at particular risk of HIV infection due to earlier age of sexual onset and higher likelihood of sexual exploitation or abuse; however, there is limited empirical evidence examining this phenomenon. Utilizing data from 1694 Black South African youth aged 14–18, of whom 31% are classified as orphaned, this analysis explores the relationship between orphan status and sexual risk. The analysis found both male and female orphans significantly more likely to have engaged in sex as compared to non-orphans (49% vs. 39%).

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Child and youth care workers (CYCWs) are a crucial and growing component of South Africa’s national response to HIV and AIDS and other problems affecting children and families. CYCWs use the community-centred Isibindi model of care to reach the most vulnerable with key services including psychosocial, health, economic and education support. Understanding how to support retention in the CYCW workforce is vital to programme quality and sustainability.

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Effective strategies for HIV prevention among adolescent orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in South Africa, particularly girls and young women, are critically needed. To date, adolescent-only educational and behavioral interventions have underpinned prevention efforts with mixed success. Addressing a broader array of adolescent risk factors may help to lower HIV prevalence in this priority population. Let’s Talk is a structured adolescent HIV prevention intervention that goes beyond standard knowledge and skills-based programming to address family dynamics and mental health.

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Many children in South Africa live outside of parental care, due to orphanhood, parental labour migration, unemployment, and for other reasons. Family members and other adults thus play an important role in providing substitute care. Non-parental caregivers have been found to experience high levels of psychological distress and burden, potentially leading to poor outcomes for children. The present analysis examines whether these and other potential risk factors are associated with caregiver-perpetrated physical aggression towards adolescent girls living outside of parental care in the Free State province.

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Early bereavement is common in South Africa, where almost a fifth of children have lost a parent and many more have experienced the death of another family member or friend. However, little is known about young people’s psychological responses to loss in this setting.

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Almost one-fifth of children in South Africa have lost a parent; many have experienced multiple losses. Bereaved children are at increased risk for psychological health problems including maladaptive grief and depression. Despite the scale of need, evidence for effective psychological support services is limited.

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Children and adolescents affected by HIV are at elevated risk for depression, yet research on related interventions in this population is scarce in sub-Saharan Africa. This study sought to examine the effects of interpersonal psychotherapy for groups (IPTG) on depressive symptomology among orphaned and vulnerable adolescents in South Africa—home to the world’s largest HIV epidemic.

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Community-based care and support programmes for orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) and their families are a critical component of HIV prevention, care and treatment efforts worldwide. Addressing the challenges that confront programme evaluators in these contexts can help promote robust evidence for effective programming.

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Home visiting is a popular component of programs for HIV‐affected children in sub‐Saharan Africa. Many programs are staffed by volunteers whose training and compensation is minimal, raising questions about whether investing in paraprofessional workforce development might yield measurable gains in beneficiaries’ well‐being.

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Cash transfers for low‐income families are an effective investment in children’s health and well‐being. Identifying ways to increase social grant uptake among orphans and vulnerable children and their families in South Africa is therefore a priority. Home visitors may be particularly well‐positioned to connect families with the highest grants for which they are eligible.

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HIV counseling and testing underpin sustainable epidemic control, and international guidelines call for all children in generalized epidemic settings, such as South Africa, to be tested routinely. Identifying effective strategies for expanding pediatric uptake of HIV counseling and testing services is therefore critical.

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Adolescent orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) are at heightened risk of HIV infection. Effective preventive strategies are therefore urgently needed. While behavioural interventions are the cornerstone of HIV prevention, psychological interventions may also hold promise as part of a coordinated effort to decrease sexual risk‐taking.

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This brief describes the findings and program implications from a study designed to develop critical knowledge on “what works” to improve the well-being of children affected by HIV and AIDS.  Community-based home visiting, in which care workers provide a range of support services during regular visits to the child’s home, is an increasingly popular service delivery approach in South Africa. However, there is enormous variation in how home visiting programs are implemented.  The aim of the study is to evaluate the relative impact on child wellbeing of a range of home visiting models.

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Focusing on 13 program sites in KwaZulu-Natal, this report describes the support offered by Isibindi Child and Youth Care Workers (CYCWs) to beneficiary families as well as changes in key measures of children’s wellbeing over a two year period. We further examine differences in the provision of care and support services and changes in wellbeing between beneficiaries at high- and lower-functioning Isibindi sites, according to NACCW’s own site assessment process.

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This report concentrates on the physical and emotional maltreatment of orphans and other vulnerable children by adults living in their households. While OVC programs have begun to prioritize child protection interventions, little is known about the prevalence of child maltreatment among the OVC population in South Africa or what factors place children at higher risk.  The findings presented here are drawn from the baseline assessment of a longitudinal study designed to assess the efficacy of a range of interventions for vulnerable children (study methodology and sample characteristics described in greater detail above).

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Youth who have been orphaned or otherwise made vulnerable by HIV or AIDS are also at elevated risk for acquiring HIV themselves. Adequate HIV-related knowledge is a critical tool for prevention, and nowhere more so than in the context of a high-prevalence epidemic such as South Africa’s.  Yet, a recent survey found that less than one-third of youth in South Africa had accurate knowledge of HIV.  A particular imperative exists to educate children who are already at increased risk, including those who are socially vulnerable.

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Youth who have been orphaned or otherwise made vulnerable by HIV or AIDS are also at elevated risk for acquiring HIV themselves. Adequate HIV-related knowledge is a critical tool for prevention, and nowhere more so than in the context of a high-prevalence epidemic such as South Africa’s.  Yet, a recent survey found that less than one-third of youth in South Africa had accurate knowledge of HIV.  A particular imperative exists to educate children who are already at increased risk, including those who are socially vulnerable.

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