Dr Rika Swanzen

Programme Manager: Social Science


Tel: +27 11 950 4279

Prior to academia I worked in child and family welfare, adolescent mental health, community development, residential care, foster care training and practice model development. During my professional practice I obtained my master’s degree in clinical social work, cum laude, and completed my doctoral study by the age of 31. The outcome of my doctoral study was the ChildPIE©; a classification system for describing childhood social functioning problems. During 2008 I served as the project manager on national- and provincial level research projects. The focus of the studies was supporting orphaned and vulnerable children in the community and the effectiveness of diversion programmes for youth in conflict with the law, respectively.

I have been developing curriculum and teaching in the field of Child and Youth Care (CYC) since 2009 and served as postgraduate supervisor and external examiner since then. I am the recipient of various campus awards and have been one of the editors for the Relational Child and Youth Care Practice journal since 2015. From 2015-2018 I held the position of Adjunct Associate Professor with the Caulfield campus of Monash University. For mid-2016 to mid-2022 I served as ministerial appointee on the South African Council for Social Service Professions, to represent education and training.

Since 2007 to 2021 I authored 19 peer-reviewed publications, with another journal article currently in the peer review process on children with visual impairments. Between 2006 and 2021 I conducted 20 international conference presentations with one on critical service-learning approved for 2022.

Social Science, Office C.2.26

  • 2022 PG Diploma (Paediatric Palliative Care) – University of Cape Town (expected completion in November)
  • 2006 D. Litt et Phil (Social Work) – University of Johannesburg
  • 2000 M.A. Soc Sc (Clinical Social Work) – University of Jhb – cum laude
  • 1996 B.A. Soc Sc (Social Work) – University of Johannesburg (RAU)
Research profiles
Research Interests

My interest in research involves the development and standardization of measurement scales within the Social Service professions and specifically Ecometric measurement scales (measuring person in environment fit). Currently I am researching the integration of Paediatric Palliative Care in the treatment offered by child and youth care centres. Other interest areas include topics related to the optimal development and social functioning of young people as well as risk and protective factors in childhood development. From 2007 I conducted research and published on youth in conflict with the law; restorative justice; intermediary services; the implementation of service-learning in Higher Education, teaching the 21st century student; child and youth care practice and residential care; and professional supervision within the social service sector.

all researchers