The concept of a child within sub-Saharan African migrant homes: reconciling culture and child rights

Hilda Tafadzwa Mugadza*, Brian Stout, Blessing Jaka Akombi, Vera Williams Tetteh, Andre Renzaho

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)519-528
    Number of pages10
    JournalChild and Family Social Work
    Issue number4
    Early online date24 Jan 2019
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


    • child protection
    • childhood
    • childrearing
    • culture
    • migrants
    • sub-Saharan Africa


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