The map of social group work in Spain. Group initiatives provided by the registered social workers.
1Faculty of Social Work. Complutense University, Spain; 2Department of Social Work. Alicante University. Spain.; 3Department of Law. University of La Rioja
In this piece of work we analyze the initiatives of social work with groups led by professionals of social work associated with the 37 Spanish professional associations of social work. With the help of the Spanish General Council of Social Work, an online survey was distributed in which 1588 social workers participated. 367 completed and valid responses were obtained in which participants reported on the group projects they had led or have had noticed. The results show that the practice of social work with groups in Spain is infrequent, fragmented and not continuous over time, and that informative groups and non-systematic practices abound. Few professionals have received adequate practical training to plan, carry out and evaluate social group work projects in a satisfactory manner. The consequences of all of this are explored and a series of recommendations are offered with some keys about the modification of the curriculum and teaching necessary for schools of social work to contribute to the improvement of the future practice of social work with groups.
Impact Assessment of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Albanian social workers' practice
Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali (DSPS), Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
The pandemic has highlighted the centrality of the principle of equity in all life spheres, as well as the increased need to protect fundamental rights: the right to health, to a social-economic well-being, to education and to access to social services. New democracies with underdeveloped Welfare systems experienced major problems in granting these fundamental rights during the current crisis. In the Balkan region, Albania was the first country to introduce lockdown measures (Dyrmishi 2020). The spread of the pandemic contributed to emphasizing the long-lasting problem of poor governance of social protection system in the country (Dauti et al. 2020) and revealed the need to reinforce the social and professional role of Social Workers.
The paper presents the first results of an action research that aims at investigating the self-perception of Albanian Social Workers during the Covid-19 emergency and at reflecting on the urgent need to invest in their professional education and in the promotion of their role in the Albanian society. It will do so by: i) presenting the results of 15 in depth interviews and of 6 remote focus groups with Social Workers of the municipalities of Tiran, Shkoder and Elbasan (planned between January and March 2021; ii) reflecting on the need for a co-construction of a new professional awareness, also in the light of the emerging literature on the challenges of the Social Work in Albania (Dauti et al. 2020).
The research has been carried out within the activities of the Erasmus+ Capacity Building Project T@sk Towards Increased Awareness, Responsibility and Shared Quality in Social Work in Albania (2017-2020). The project supported a reinforcement of the Higher Education Institutions in Social Work in Albania and promoted a professional networking between social, political and education stakeholders. The data presented in the paper highlights that this investment is even more urgent at times of crisis. A widely recognized role of Social Workers, along with a growing level of professionalization and an increasing investment in their professional skills, is a precondition to face the current Covid-19 crisis and new challenges that might affect the Albanian society in the future.
Social services in Pandemic era. Voices from Italian frontier social work professionals
University of Cassino e Lazio Meridionale, Italy
In a very short time the infection from SARS-CoV-2 spreads throughout the world, Italy is reached on February 21, 2020. The pandemic has significant health and social consequences as it disrupts daily life and collective identity by generating a fracture in the balance of each person. Therefore, the Social Services in Italy have activated initiatives to support and respond to the needs of frail people; they have strengthened already existing professional experiences by modifying, in a flexible way, their methods of intervention in a social innovation path.
In this paper, we will present the first results of semi-structured interviews carried out with social workers from central Italy, from the health sector and local authorities, on the issues of their professional experience in the pandemic era, with specific focus on the organizational side and on the risk management issues.
Among the most interesting results, the collected narratives have identified the social workers who, like small silent spiders, have slowly but inexorably woven the web that today allows people to ensure the continuity of emergency interventions. By reorganizing their services, they have implemented innovative forms of closeness to individuals, families and the local community by creating and strengthening social networks. In networking, social workers have a connecting role in creating links and synergies between various formal and informal resources in order to promote the well-being of the person. The modus operandi of social workers is constantly evolving, promoters of the change process, and architects of new best practices that shape, with new professional awareness, the social and historical context marked by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catastrophe intervention and the approach of social work
Throughout the human history, catastrophe and sceneries of exception, nature-based as well as (more and more) human-based, have been a constant presence in the life of societies. Today, facing the impacts of such events, we might understand ours as a risk society. These risks are connected and have a different impact according to specific vulnerabilities and social inequalities, requiring a specific intervention from social workers.
Not until recently, social intervention have filled a space in this field as a response to the growing global risks and its impacts over polity, economy and society. These context poses new challenges to social intervention, regarding the uncertainty and the unpredictability of the events causing suffering and needs upon people.
Within such a context, it gains relevance the development of a sound knowledge base to frame the social intervention approach. As it is widely accepted today that different agents of civil protection should be considered to act in sceneries of exception, it makes sense the development of a framework for the role of social intervention at this regard, its contributions and potentialities.
The presentation aims at establishing the steps of social intervention in context of catastrophe, identifying phases and designing the cycle of catastrophe (prevention-preparation-response-recovery) in order to contribute to a model of action in this field.
To this end, an analysis of the existent legal frameworks and organizational structures in this area will be carried out for understanding the field of professional work, how it is performed, which constraints and strengths are identified, what are the aims of the intervention processes and what kind of problems are tackled.
A series of interviews will be conducted and analysed with social workers in this field, other professional actors and decision-makers. We expect to conclude with clues for education and training for this new important field of intervention for social workers.
Stress-Related Coping Strategies as Contributing Factors to Turnover Intentions among Social Work Student Supervisors: A Longitudinal Study
1University of Haifa, Israel; 2Bar-Ilan University
Objectives: Social work profession is based upon theoretical studies and practical experiences. The literature shows a widespread recognition of the importance of the supervision process in the professional socialization of social workers, and research have shown the main role of supervision and the skills required to implement it. Despite it, there is a high supervisors' turnover rate each year, approximately 15%-20% every year in Israel. The highest dropout rate was found to occur at the end of the first year of supervision. This phenomenon is encouraging academic institutions to invest resources to identify, recruit and train new supervisors. This reality has led to a situation where the quality of supervision is threatened by the high supervisors’ dropout rate. Therefore, this study intent to examine stress-related coping strategies as contributing factors to turnover intentions among social work student supervisors in their first year of supervision.
Method: A total of 168 social work supervisors in 10 academic institutions in Israel, during their first year of supervision, answered questionnaires at the beginning (T1) and the end (T2) of their supervisors’ training course.
Results: Findings indicate that the most significant predictor of supervisors' turnover intentions at T2 was turnover intentions at T1. This interesting finding shows that the supervision course does not necessarily address the issue of long-term commitment to supervision, and it is crucial to pay more attention to this issue. Furthermore, we also found a significant contribution of organizational climate at T1 and of role overload at T2.
Conclusions: The main concern is that the basic forming of beneficial or positive attitudes among supervisors or potential supervisors is not being adequately addressed in current courses and social work agencies. This issue requires much more attention during the first year of supervision, and also in regard to social workers who intend to become supervisors in the near future. In the supervision courses, most of the methods and theories address students’ educational, developmental and personal needs, but not enough is taught about supervisors’ more complex issues, such as feelings, overload, dissatisfaction, dilemmas and perceptions.
Local networks in response to the crisis context: Collaborative and integrative approaches in Social Work
1ISCTE, Portugal; 2ISCTE, Portugal
The COVID 19 pandemic triggered a need for responses to emergency that is articulated with the local level. It reflects the tendency towards the territorialisation of social policies.
Hence, it is essential to reflect on the relevance and actuality of integrated and collaborative approaches in Social Work as enhancers of concertation of individual and collective interests, with social workers being key players in promoting communities not only in intervention in the context of crisis, but also in responding to territorialisation of social policies.
The location, its specific context, the specific relationships to each community, are all inputs to be considered in the design of alternative responses to social problems, with a special focus on the networks of formal and informal actors and the urgency and emergency of governance practices that coordinate this multiplicity of actors in favour of common objectives.
So, throughout an exploratory study and a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of response employed by third sector entities for the COVID 19 pandemic in the city of Lisbon, It is intended to promote a constructive and critical reflection on the practices of a Social Service. Especially on its implementation / concretization and elaboration of social policies, the development of programs / intervention projects to promote personal and social empowerment (Carvalho, 2015). It will consider the case study method but above all value a collaborative and integrated intervention, being a “democratic process of acting on concrete reality, acting on the means, mentalities and behaviours of the most disadvantaged” Mouro (2006: 173) with a reinforcement of the relationships individual-context, immersion-intervention and the collective dimension of the problems. Amaro (2012); Gonçalves (2018; 2017).