By Anglican Family Care | Posted: Monday November 28, 2022
What is this thing we call social work? Social workers work in many contexts. They must have a tertiary qualification in social work or be able to demonstrate they are competent to the Social Work Registration Board.
Social workers work across a number of fields and apply their practice in a variety of ways and roles including clinical work, community development, advising, education, supervision, facilitation, advocacy, management, policy development and leadership.
They are about change. Whether supporting people to make a change in their life by addressing the challenges they may be facing personally or by promoting social change amongst the systems they live in, be it a family system, a work/education system or a community or government system. Principles of social justice, human rights and respect for diversity are central to their work.
In the Anglican Family Care context, what that means is an opportunity to come alongside a family and understand their situation in order for change to occur. Relationship building is the platform so mutual trust can be established. Child centred practice is paramount. Though we primarily work with parents, we are always endeavouring to look at the world through a child’s eyes.
We work with a family, in their home, in a negotiated and planned way. A partnership is developed that recognises not only what skills and knowledge a social worker brings but also what strengths and skills a family already has. This sets the scene for a partnership where there is not only an opportunity for parents to learn what their children need to flourish, but also an opportunity to develop insight into their own needs, as parent wellbeing is interlinked to child wellbeing. Stress that is occurring for parents can have an impact on their children.
Jane Addams who is sometimes quoted as the mother of social work said “what after all, has maintained the human race on this old globe despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of mankind, if not faith in new possibilities and courage to advocate for these."
To be able to hold hope for a family, particularly when they cannot hold it for themselves at times of distress, is a powerful contribution to the worker/family partnership. Always with the knowledge that there will be a time that they can hold that hope for themselves.
Vicki McDermott (Team Leader Central Otago/Queenstown Lakes)