Grenada social workers connect with thousands of social workers world-wide in celebrating World Social Work Day – under the Global Agenda theme- ‘PROMOTING THE DIGNITY AND WORTH OF PEOPLES.’
World Social Work day is the annual opportunity for all social work organisations to promote the significant, valuable and important role of professional social workers in society.
In Grenada, structured social work is at its infancy. However, there have been a number of legislations that enable social work to move forward in a more formal and structured manner. For example, the 2010 Child Protection and Adoption Act – focuses on the care and protection of all children.
The operatives are such that if it deems that a child is at risk, the Act gives Social Workers power to act in the best interest of the child. Nonetheless given these legislations there is still much work to be achieved.
Globally the major stumbling blocks to achieving what is best for service users are the lack of resources, appropriate and adequate systems to keep vulnerable people safe, and to maintain optimum well-being.
Notwithstanding these blockages, Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers INC (GAPSW), since its inception in March 2007, has worked tirelessly with the aim of influencing change. For example, in the area of inequalities amongst vulnerable people in society; GAPSW created a platform whereby it takes a stand in speaking out for justice.
When we talk about injustice we are also talking about Grenada’s compliance to a number of United Nations Conventions for example, The Rights of the Child, and Persons with Disabilities.
The issues facing Social Work in Grenada are the lack of accountability, inadequate training of social workers and other relevant supporting professionals such as child and family consultation services.
For example, the basic requirement of having Child Psychologist and Psychiatric Adolescent care within the services provided is absent. In light of this, how is it possible for Social Work in Grenada to say that it offers a dignified service? Furthermore, how can we promote well-being and rehabilitation in the absence of these vital services?
One way in which we as professionals could move forward at a faster and much more productive rate is investing in shared services. By this we mean instead of working in isolation where each individual agency pursue their own goals we can collaborate our efforts and work together in order to achieve best practise and good results for ‘vulnerable people’ and the nation as a whole.
In so doing we are helping our individual professional development.
Collaboration is a win-win situation; no one loses. In essence to work in collaboration means that we would be striving to meet the Global theme of promoting the dignity and worth of peoples.
Social Work in Grenada is experiencing a crisis. The crisis is this; that every which way needs outstretch resources. Accordingly, social workers face numerous challenges which impacts negatively on service delivery.
The challenge of people living on the margin is paramount. The question is how can we turn a blind eye to unsafe practices when we have created a culture of marginalising those who we deem unacceptable citizens in our society simply because they have an illness or disability?
GAPSW places its neck on the block and stresses that people who are in need of specialised care are our responsibility and kin. The onus is on the state to provide adequate resources that would support their basic needs thus enabling them to have a comfortable life that is free from abuse, neglect and being labelled as a second class citizen.
WE ARE OUR BROTHERS/SISTERS KEEPER
The reality is this! It could be anyone of us. There is a thin line between marginalisation and inclusion. It all depends on circumstances beyond our control.
As a Christian society the old Biblical adage ‘WE ARE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER is our best practice. This is what God requires of those who uses and are called by HIS NAME.
A CHANGE OF ATTITUDE
We need a change in attitude. Should we move forward and not backward in caring for vulnerable people in our society, it is urgent that all of us work together at developing an attitude of inclusion and acceptance regardless of needs!
Society urgently needs to educate its citizens on approaches and care for vulnerable persons. Society needs to challenge its citizens to respect and protect the basic human rights of all, but more so the vulnerable members of our society.
Working together and sharing resources, skills, finance and best practices are vital in order to move forward and not backward.
There is a crucial need for professionalism in terms of confidentiality, code of ethics, and in fact GAPSW believes that a code of best practice and guidelines ought to be discussed, researched and published as a reference bible for all service providers.
It ought to be stressed that service providers must adhere to the guidelines of the code. To brush it aside would be unethical; thus warranting due investigation.
INVESTMENT IN PEOPLE
Let us continue to champion the cause by advocating for vulnerable people in Grenada’s society. They have a voice. We must listen to their voice. We must hear it and include it when strategising, developing and providing services that would meet their needs. Why? Because they are the recipients of the service! Most importantly, we are dealing with the issue of rights, dignity and worth of a human being.
As social workers we should be very proud of our profession. We hereby take this opportunity to wish all social workers a wonderful day.
The Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers (GAPSW)