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The CISCFS is an interdisciplinary entity that aims to advance knowledge production and critically engaged scholarship on children, families, and society.

Specifically, the CISCFS aims to provide an holistic understanding of the interplay between the South African family (and its members) and the diverse contexts and societal structures wherein it is located to enhance development, health and well-being.

To this end we apply evidence-based and participatory practices in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, translating knowledge to practices, which are embedded within the realities of children, families and society.

Over the past 10 years, the focus of CFS has been to establish a critical mass in the field of family science, to build evidence for the need for guidelines and subsequent interventions. The attention to the parent-child relationship has provided impetus for partnerships with community-based organisations, the Department of Social Development (DSD), Provincial Government, The City of Cape Town and Department of Health to recognise the need to include the family in their programmes, the need for research and to collaborate with CFS and with UWC. Hence, provincially, there is an awareness of the programme and the nature of its efforts towards strengthening families and building communities. For example, the Department of Health has a drive to focus on the First 1000 Days in ECD and CFS has been the choice of partner to host activities in this area. Furthermore, CFS had a long-term partnership with the DSD to build capacity of social workers in practice as a form of continuous education, while the Western Cape Provincial Government has provided funding to conduct a study on the parent-child relationship in the region.

Awareness at a national level, in terms of the DSD, has also developed over time. Partnerships with higher education institutions in the USA (centred on hookah use in the family and identity of Coloured people), Belgium (directed at psychological well-being, the parent-child relationship and Self-Determination Theory), the UK (focusing on ECD and Higher Education), the Netherlands (exploring hookah pipe use), Australia (research on developing responsible individuals and families linked to a local NGO), as well as a Brazil/Cuba/UK ECD Consortium and Africa (examining the family and behaviour of children), has raised the profile and increased awareness of the nature of the work conducted in and by CFS.

CFS, over a 10-year period, has produced more than 100 peer reviewed articles in national and international journals; two books and 16 book chapters; conference presentations both locally and internationally; has hosted its first family strengthening conference on parenting interventions in collaboration with Parenting in Africa Network (May 2017); and has hosted seminars and workshops on family strengthening and building partnerships. The aforementioned publications have been cited internationally and are used to enhance the teaching in CFS by including South African perspectives on family, and contextual, cultural perspectives. These publications have also afforded capacity building with other colleagues in the faculty through writing for publication and co-authoring. Honing skills in research methodology has also been foregrounded with training on how to conduct systematic and scoping reviews.

Vision and Mission

The vision of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies of Children, Family and Society is to provide highly skilled human capital in the field of child, youth, family, community and society development, health and well-being and thus build important bridges of learning with regard to the acquisition and application of knowledge to ultimately benefit individuals and communities everywhere.

The CISCFS is an interdisciplinary entity which aims to study families (including children and youth) and society (including communities and other environmental and contextual factors which may affect the family). Specifically, the Centre aims to provide a holistic understanding of the interplay between the South African family (and its members) and the diverse contexts and societal structures in which it is located and with which it interacts for the purposes of development, health and well-being as well as decision-making processes affecting each of these domains.