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Fostering children orphaned by AIDS in contemporary Uganda

China R Scherz, University of California, San Francisco

By 2005 2.3 million children in Uganda, 14% of all children, had lost either one or both of their parents. 45% of these deaths were caused by AIDS. At present their care depends almost exclusively on informal extended family fosterage. Scholars working across Sub-Saharan Africa have long described voluntary fosterage as a parenting arrangement chosen by parents and foster parents alike. While voluntary fosterage is often associated with an obligation to foster the child in a crisis, empirical research is needed to explore the contemporary practices of voluntary and crisis fostering in Uganda and the effects of the high rates of orphanhood on these practices. This paper will also explore problems presented by interactions between the strain of orphan care on extended family networks, increasing urbanization, shifts in the conceptualization the needs and rights of children, and changes in the ways people prioritize their nuclear and extended families.

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Presented in Poster Session 4