Vulnerable children in Africa have traditionally been absorbed and supported by their communities. However, in the context of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and poverty, communities are increasingly stretched, compromising the quality of care available to children affected by AIDS. This calls for an understanding of the processes that best facilitate the capacity of communities to provide good quality care and support. In the interests of furthering debate and practice in this area, we seek to develop an analytical framework that builds upon two inter-linked strands. First, we emphasize the need to acknowledge the active coping and resilience of children affected by AIDS, rather than seeing them as passive victims. It is through taking account of children's and communities' indigenous coping strategies, and the complex dynamics between children and fostering families, that interventions have the best chance of supporting communities so that they can best facilitate resilience and well-being of AIDS-affected children under their guardianship. Secondly, we highlight six social psychological resources that we argue should be promoted in communities to improve the quality of support available to children affected by AIDS, and thereby enhance the coping and resilience of children
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