As international migration increases, the Australian socio-cultural and political context in which sub-Saharan African migrant families are settling is causing tension between traditional sub-Saharan African migrant definitions of child and childhood experiences and host nation definitions particularly when compared with the child protection system. This paper seeks to explore and highlight the fundamental values and differences that determine perceptions and treatment of children within traditional sub-Saharan African communities. Using a qualitative design, this study was influenced by acculturation theory. Four major themes emerged from the analysis: (a) culture and the sub-Saharan African child, (b) moulding good children, (c) family functioning and relationships, and (d) host context: perceptions of Australian mainstream parenting. The study found that in order to successfully make decisions that are in the best interest of sub-Saharan African migrant children that come to the attention of the child protection system, discussions about children rights can only yield good outcomes when the child's socio-cultural environment is considered.
- child protection
- sub-Saharan Africa