Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Please note that all times are shown in the time zone of the conference. The current conference time is: 6th Dec 2021, 11:24:40pm EET

Session Overview
Paper Presentation Session 18: Social Work Program/Curriculum II
Thursday, 17/June/2021:
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Diletta Mauri
Location: Parallel Session 3

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Higher Education of Social Workers in the Czech Republic - Time for Change?

Tatiana Matulayová1, Oldřich Matoušek2

1Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic; 2Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the higher education of social workers was restarted after 1990. Over the past 30 years, it has gone through various stages of development. The aim of the paper is to critically reflect on the current situation. The paper is based on the results of a nationwide research of the state of professionalization of social work. Another source is a set of job descriptions for 36 most frequent job positions, occupied by social workers in the Czech Republic. Research was based on mixed methodology. A questionnaire survey (N=698) and 13 focus groups (N=78) were conducted. The respondents were social workers. The research results show that it is desirable to profile education according to the defined professional qualifications of social workers, innovate existing education standards and reform the field education. At the end of paper, we propose recommendations for educators and the others, involved in higher education policy.

The Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Program at the University of Texas at Austin

Diana M. DiNitto1, Bethany Wood1, Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Leadership Team N/A2

1Steve Hicks School of Social Work, UTAustin, United States of America; 2UTAustin, United States of America

This presentation describes the Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars (IBHS) Program at the University of Texas at Austin (USA), an innovative, interdisciplinary, cross-campus collaboration of Dell Medical School, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work, School of Nursing, Department of Psychology, and Texas Child Study Center. Its goal is to build a diverse behavioral health workforce with expertise in delivering culturally sensitive, integrated behavioral care, particularly to those who are underserved. Integrated care focuses on addressing both physical and mental health conditions to significantly improve overall health, and social workers have a key role. Scholars also learn to identify social, economic, and environmental factors that contribute to major health disparities and are prepared to become leaders in better serving patients/clients and the community. Currently, the program has a Standard track and an Addiction and Recovery track focused on prevention, treatment, and recovery for individuals with substance use disorders, and in particular, opioid use disorder. In addition to meeting the requirements of their respective degree programs, IBH scholars participate together in an evidence- and competency-based curriculum including a seminar series and additional training focused on developing skills in integrated care (e.g., Motivational Interviewing), interprofessional practice (team-based care), and culturally relevant services (to meet the needs of diverse populations). An essential program component includes hands-on practicum/internship training. Practicum sites include federally qualified health centers that meet needs in underserved communities and substance use treatment programs. The IBHS program receives funding from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health. Scholars receive a stipend during their field practicum. The program appears to increase scholars’ knowledge of and skills in integrated behavioral healthcare, interprofessional practice, and cultural sensitivity/humility across disciplines. Graduates generally go on to work in underserved communities.

Implementation of Service - Learning in Social Work master´s degree program

Pavlína Jurnickova, Tatiana Matulayová, Natasa Matulayova

Palacký University Olomouc, Czech Republic

Service-Learning teaching strategy is widespread in many countries of the world in the field of higher education, not only within education of social workers. In the Czech Republic, however, it is essentially unknown strategy. Based on the knowledge and experience gained within the project Erasmus + Service-Learning in Higher Education - fostering the third mission of universities and civic engagement of students, we began with the implementation of this strategy in the master's degree program in Social Work. The aim of the paper is to present the results of a research reflection on the benefits of Service - Learning from the perspective of both the students involved, teaching organizations and clients. For these purposes there has been used a mixed - methods design. The results of the research show that all stakeholders involved consider Service-Learning to be beneficial. The main benefits are as follows: the development of partnerships between the university and organizations in practice, the co-creation of new knowledge and the opportunity to verify the possibilities of introducing social innovations in practise. Students confirmed when doing the final assessment that they perceive they made some progress in many key competencies. The development of competencies and the benefits for teaching practice were also claimed by the teachers involved as very useful.

Social Workers as Agents of Social Change: Factors Influencing the Political Participation of Social Workers in Switzerland and the United States

Tobias Kindler1, Jason Ostrander2

1Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences - School of Social Work; 2Sacred Heart University - School of Social Work

A primary characteristic of the social work professions across the globe is its dual emphasis on the individual and the environment; including the social, political and economic structures and actors that impact clients daily. However, the understanding of social work practice with clients varies greatly. A few researchers have used standardized methods that provide some comparison between countries, such as in Egypt, the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and others. But still: There is a significant research gap when it comes to the political engagement of social workers, especially in a comparative approach. This presentation will compare the United States (US) social workers to those in Switzerland (CH) regarding their political behaviors and attitudes. Two surveys were administered at a similar time (US N=2756 and CH N=1242) in 2018 and use common measures to compare these two similar but different countries. The three research questions this presentation will address are:

(1) How does political engagement differ between US and CH social workers?

(2) How does political efficacy (internal and external) differ between US and CH social workers?

(3) How does political ideology differ between US and CH social workers?

Several major findings were discovered: US social workers have higher levels of internal (t(4014)=13.076, p=.000) and external political efficacy (t(4005)=19.234, p=.000). Also, US social workers engage in many types of political participation at higher levels than their CH counterparts, such as vote higher in state (t(3739)=5.008, p=.000) and federal (t(3733)=14.324, p=.000) elections; work for pay on political campaigns (t(3744)=6.216, p=.000); and voice their opinion to the media (t(3740)=13.294, p=.000). However, CH social workers discuss current policy at significantly higher levels (t(3734)=-23.341, p=.000) and are more left/liberal (t(3844)=12.385, p=.000) than their US counterparts.

When care leavers become teachers. A project to enhance chances of participation for children in care

Diletta Mauri, Silvia Fargion, Angela Rosignoli

Università di Trento, Italy

Recognizing and giving space to children’s agency is a crucial and highly discussed issue in the context of child protection: in this area children are often involved without having a choice and sometimes, at least initially, against their will. Research has shown that the relationship with the social worker can play a crucial role in opening spaces for participation, but even evidenced that for this to happen professionals need to develop a new attitude towards children.

The training project we present aimed at improving the meeting between children and social workers, through a program led by care experienced young people. In this presentation we will illustrate the potential of such a project but also the problems that can arise, as they have been identified by the project team formed by a group of care leavers, social workers and academic.

The first and main issue we have identified is connected to the fact that this training is an emotionally intense experience for all participants as its goal is precisely to question ideas and prejudices that often guide the professional practice. At the same time social workers facing the narratives of care leavers, could feel for the umpteenth time criticized and blamed and there was a risk that this would enhance defensive attitudes instead of more open ones. From the side of care leavers the main risk we saw was connected to the fact that they were exposing themselves, their stories and vulnerable sides and this could became a cathartic experience or a disturbing one depending on how it was conducted.

These reflections have prompted a thorough organization of a preliminary phase involving on one hand focus groups with social workers exploring their expectations and feelings towards such a project, on the other hand a training session with the care leavers who would become teachers.

The feedback from participants illustrate how these trainings can play an important role in the development of truly emancipatory interventions, and at the same time the need of organizing regular initiatives of this sort to have a stronger impact on social workers competences supporting children participation.

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