Archive for March 2012
March 20th is World Social Work Day. This is the time to acknowledge the significant role of social workers around the world. In every country Social Workers work in the most complex and difficult situations to enable people to be healthy and happy. In some countries the role of the social worker is supported by governments and legislation, in other countries, social workers must struggle to support the people they work with. But all over the world their jobs are bound by the same principles: The belief in social justice, human rights, social interdependence, and self-determination.
By Arlin Ness, former president of AIEJI:
On February 14th 2012 the friends of AIEJI lost a special colleague. Herb Barnes died in Florida, U.S.A., from a massive heart attack which he had experienced a few days before his passing.
Herb served on the AIEJI Board for a number of years. During this time he was a tireless advocate for bringing the” Educature” philosophy of a “holistic” approach to the U.S. to strengthen services to young people. In this regard he had established the ILEX program a professional exchange between the U.S. and Europe. Numerous professionals from Europe over the years experienced a year or two in child care facilities across the U.S modeling the holistic approach for their American colleagues. Herb was courageous in taking on “systems” that he believed were not serving Children and families in their best interests.
ON a personal note as his wife, Liese, wrote about Herb “His zest for life was infectious and he always was ready to take on a new challenge”. Arlin Ness, former president of AIEJ writes, Herb Barnes was not only a personal friend but a colleague who enriched you by his friendship and his creative mind. Emmanuel Grupper, Israeli AIEJI board member, writes “Herb was a unique and fascinating personality, always so optimistic on the one hand and realistic on the other. We will always remember him as a great humanist and professional and especially a devoted friend to so many who already miss him so much”.
We have mentioned earlier the project of Fair Start, which is an online training programme for people working in children’s homes. The programme is part of the European Union’s Lifelong Learning Programme. Although the project has now ended, the website continues to be a platform of information where you can also find the material of the project.
Read more about Fair Start.
Here is another interesting article about social work in the UK. In the UK, this also includes the care and support given to persons with developmental disabilities, but not people working in child services.
The article discusses the fact that a lot of social work is now being transferred to “social health assistants” who do not need the same level of education as social workers. So they do not have the same kind of expertise.
Another issue is the fact that there is such a tight focus on tasks carried out and the time spent – what is referred to the “care management straitjacket” – meaning social workers spend more and more time in front of the computer rather than with the citizens with needs.
To get an insight to social work in the UK, read the article here.
On the website of the British newspaper The Guardian, there is an interesting article today about how the online network, Netbuddy, came to life. Netbuddy is a “special needs Mumsnet” (a network for mums) where “users submit and search for tips – from bed-wetting to respite care – download information packs, make online contact with resident professional experts and take part in discussions on the forums” the article reports.
The network was set up and is managed by Emma Sterland whose older brother Ben has Down’s syndrome. “We wanted to capture that wealth of expertise and knowledge that parents and carers have. It’s not just for other parents, but also for professionals working with people with learning disabilities”, says Sterland in the article.
Just 18 months after it saw the light of day, Netbuddy attracts 6,000 new visitors a month.
Read more about Netbuddy and its success here.
Go directly to Netbuddy.
In the UK there is a new and very interesting development going on concerning social pedagogy. Social pedagogy in the UK covers child and youth care work and has become a subject of focus for researchers, practitioners, teachers and other professionals working in the field as a way to understand and improve the life of children, especially those in public care.
To read more about what our colleagues in the UK are up to please go to the following websites where you will also find references to articles and relevant publications:
ThemPra – Theory Meets Practice
Jacaranda Recruitment – Helps professionals from Europe find social care work in the UK
Social Pedagogy UK, ThemPra and Jacaranda Recruitment are the three forces that together push the development in and interest of social pedagogy in the UK forward.