Dr Rika Swanzen

Description: Dr Rika Swanzen

Senior Lecturer and Course Coordinator: Child and Youth Development

Tel: +27 11 950 4279

Email: Rika.Swanzen@monash.edu


  • B.A. Soc Sc (Social Work) - University of Johannesburg
  • M.A. Soc Sc (Clinical Social Work) - University of Jhb - cum laude
  • D. Litt et Phil (Social Work) - University of Jhb

2013 Teaching Commitments

  • AZA 2763: Child and Youth Assessment
  • AZA 2765: Child and Youth Intervention
  • AZA 3772: Field placements in child and youth care
  • AZA 4450: Researching for Social Sciences and Humanities


  • 2012 Recipient of the Most Engaged Staff Member, School of Social Sciences by the Community Engagement Office of Monash South Africa
  • 2011 Winner of the Monash South Africa PVC Award for Distinguished Teaching.
  • Recipient of a prize for outstanding academic achievement by the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Johannesburg
  • Accepted as part of the Network of Excellence for Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences: Sub-Saharan Africa. This initiative is funded by the EU’s EDULINK program and coordinated by The Forced Migration Studies Programme (FMSP) at WITS University and the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
  • Invited on various radio programmes to talk about issues related to children

Research Interests

Dr Swanzen’s interest in research involves the development and standardization of measurement scales within the Social Sciences and specifically Ecometric measurement scales. She utilizes mixed methodology, intervention and applied research methods. Of particular interest are research topics related to the optimal developmental and social functioning of children as well as risk and protective factors in childhood development.

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Swanzen, R. and Rowe, C.D. (2013). Community engagement as a form of social entrepreneurship in higher education curriculum, Journal of Community Positive Practices, 13 (4): 55-70. ISSN 1582-8344 (print) 2247-6571 (electronic). http://www.jppc.ro/reviste/JCPP%20Nr.%204%202013/articole/art04.pdf
  • Swanzen, R. (2013) Elements needed for service-learning in an international higher education institution, in Smith-Tolken, A. and Du Plessis, J. (Editors) 2013, Paper Series 5th International Symposium: Service-Learning across the globe: From local to transnational, by the Division for Community Interaction, Stellenbosch University, pp. 9-19, ISBN: 978-0-620-59299-4
  • Swanzen, R. and Marincowitz, L. (2013) Mimetic Theory and the Use of Daily Life events, Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 26 (2): 57-63
  • Swanzen, R. and Harris, T. (2012) Restorative Juvenile Justice in South Africa, The Social Work Review/ Revista de Asistenta  Social, anul XI, nr. 3/2012, pp. 5-23
  • Swanzen, R. (2011) Relational child and youth care involves emotional intelligence IN Relational Child and Youth Care Practice 24 (1 & 2): 72-81, ISSN: 1705625X
  • Swanzen, R. (2011) The adoption of the ChildPIE© classification system in social service practice IN: The Social Work Practitioner-Researcher 23 (2): 243-261, ISSN: 1011-2324
  • Swanzen, R (2011) The co-existence of the social work and child and youth care professionsIN: The Social Work Review / Revista de AsistentaSociala, anul X, nr. 2: 19-38, ISSN: 1583-0608
  • Jonker, G.J. and Swanzen, R. (2007) Intermediary services for child witnesses testifying in South African criminal courts IN SUR International Journal on human rights 4 (6) 91-114, ISSN: 1806-6445 (digital format on www.surjournal.org)

Books and Chapters in Books

  • Jonker, G. J. and Swanzen, R. (2009), Intermediary Services for Child Witnesses Testifying in South African Criminal Courts IN: Gayathri, V.V.L. (Ed), Child Witness: Legal Wrangles, India: The Icfai University Press. ISBN:978-81-314-2516-9

Research reports

  • Project Manager for a study by Afri.yze for the Department of Social Development on services to youth in conflict with the law (focus group interviews and youth surveys). The study identified gaps in service delivery to inform policy making and was conducted across Gauteng.
  • Main researcher for HoJalaPeo’s research project aimed to establish support around orphaned and vulnerable children (situational analysis and community audit). It included the design of various fieldwork tools and the study contributed to a referral database for needed services. The study was conducted in informal settlements in two predetermined areas in Gauteng.

International Conference Presentations

  • 2013 5th International Symposium Service-Learning (SL): Service-Learning across the globe: From local to transnational, Title of paper: Elements needed for the implementation of SL in an International Higher Education Institution
  • 2013 Child & Youth Care World Conference: Connecting at the Crossroads in Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada, Title of Workshop: "The application of the ChildPIE© classification system in Child and Youth Care practice"
  • 2012 The International Child and Youth Care(CYC-Net) Conference: Innovations and Inspirations in Child and Youth Care in Paisley, Scotland, Title of Paper: “Relational Child and Youth Care involves Emotional Intelligence
  • 2010 ASASWEI TLC Social work educators and Practitioners: partners in teaching and learning, Cape Town, S.A., Title of paper: "Can a social services fracas be prevented in South Africa?"
  • 2010 31st FICE International Congress, Title of paper: "The Social Service Profession Puzzle: Can And Should Our Services Be Measured?"
  • 2009 9th Triennial International Child and Youth Care Conference in Florida, USA, Title of paper: "Utilizing a user-friendly child temperament sorter to address parenting and discipline concerns (with H. Brittz)"
  • 2009 9th Triennial International Child and Youth Care Conference in Florida, USA, Title of paper: "Mobilizing church teams to meet the need of orphaned and vulnerable children (with T. Webster)"
  • 2008 IASSW International 34th Global Social work Congress in Durban, South Africa, Title of paper: "Introducing a Practice Model in Child Welfare for delivering goal-directed, measurable services towards the enhancement of person- in-environment fit"
  • 2006 ASASSWEI conference – Crisis in Welfare in Venda, Africa, Title of paper: "The ChildPIE©: an innovative and comprehensive tool for the assessment of children (with W. Roestenburg) "

National Conference Presentations

  • 2012, ASSWA: Social work: towards inclusion, social justice and human rights in White River, Mpumalanga. Titled of paper: “Designing Curriculum for Service Learning Within a Community Engagement Framework”, co-presented with Lizane Wilson (North-west university)
  • 2011, SAHECEF Inaugural Conference - Community Engagement: The Changing Role of South African Universities in Development in East London, South Africa, Title of Paper: “A research initiative in service learning, internationalisation and curriculum development”
  • 2009 NACCW 17th Biennial Conference – Complementary Social Service Professions Integrating to serve children in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Title of paper: "The use of a unifying system for classifying the social functioning problems of children. "
  • 2009 NACCW 17th Biennial Conference – Complementary Social Service Professions Integrating to serve children in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Title of paper: "Utilizing a user-friendly child temperament sorter to address parenting and discipline concerns (with H. Brittz)."

Other Professional Activities

  • Peer reviewer for the The Social Work Practitioner-Researcher Journal (ISSN: 1011-2324) – from 2007
  • Serve on the governing body of a primary school in the community surrounding MSA – from 2009
  • Serve on the Board of Reference for The Bethany House Trust – from 2010
  • Acting on the Editorial Advisory Board for The Journal of International Research in Early Childhood Education (IRECE) – from 2010 (http://www.education.monash.edu.au/research/irecejournal/about.html)
  • Advisory Board member for the Child and Youth Care Programme at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) – since 2011
  • International Advisory Board Member for the World Child and Youth Care Conference, June 2013 in New Foundland, Canada
  • Member of the National Association for Child Care Workers (NACCW)
  • Member of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW)
  • Registered with the South African Council for Social Service Professions (SACSSP)