As part of efforts to improve social work provision, INGO EveryChild commissioned Dr Andrew Bilson, Professor of Social Work at the University of Central Lancashire, UK, to complete a literature review on the role of social workers in responding to children without parental care.
The literature review, published in January 2012, explores the differing approaches and functions of social work around the world, and identifies gaps and challenges in current provision. It argues that, in order to better support social services, it is first important to determine which approach should be taken in a given setting. It also argues that governments and social work service providers must carefully consider the priority functions that social workers should fulfil in order to be most effective, and the kinds of training and support that these professionals need.
Following on from this literature review, Family for Every Child, together with Dr Andrew Bilson, has been working to develop a tool which aims to:
- build on strengths in the social work system
- identify feasible improvements
- develop a vision for high-quality social work
- build a movement towards implementation.
The tool uses an Appreciative Inquiry (AI), action-based research approach which aims to identify and build on strengths in existing social work systems. The tool is designed for use by NGOs, UN agencies or governments in order to strengthen social services provision at national or sub-national levels.
Brazilian member of Family for Every Child, Terra dos homens-ABTH,is the first to test the tool, with the support of Dr Andrew Bilson. The tool was used in Brazil from March to May 2012.
This report provides an overview of the main results of the investigation. It outlines the context of children without parental care, alternative care and social work in Brazil found in a literature review, desk-based research, focus groups, and in-depth interviews. We hope the findings enable a consideration of how to improve social work, and are used both to improve local practices and to promote wider changes in social work policies.