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Social work as a practice is of recent origin and attempts to meet the needs of people especially those in urban areas. In essence, it is a professional activity of helping individuals or communities enhance or restore their capacities to a social functioning and to create societal conditions favorable to their goals. It aims to improve the quality of human life as well as show commitment towards social justice (Ryan and Hughes, 1998). Individuals, families, communities and organizations are able to attain their full potential by seeking social work related services. The need for such services has been extended to cater for children as they are currently facing challenges that hinder their proper development. This has become the main focal point of this document.
First of all, as mentioned above, social work is aimed at improving the livelihoods of people and engaging them constructively to attain their full potential. This cuts across all generations including children. Several reasons have contributed to my desire in working within the Public Child Welfare system. The system is driven by the aim to promote the safety, wellbeing and permanency of children as well as families (Ryan and Hughes, 2006). Most children experience situations such as being deprived of parental care, abuse ranging from physical, sexual, emotional to neglect, marital conflicts, stigma related issues, unfavorable socioeconomic conditions (Weaver et al., 2006) that expose them to scenarios such as opting for prostitution.
Qualities Of A Good Child Protection Services Worker
For one to be a Child Protection Services worker, one has to meet the basic requirements which include a Bachelor’s degree in social work or a Master’s degree in social work, maintain substantial knowledge of current affairs pertaining to children’s welfare and be able to apply the knowledge acquired into structured settings.
One should be aware of the ethics and values which describe in detail the code of conduct. A commitment to the ethics and values of a Child Protection Services worker should be fully adhered to, be able to apply basic helping skills where one is able to respond to individual, group and community needs, engagement skills, observation skills, communication skills, empathy skills, resistance intervention and assessment skills. With these strengths I am able to carry out my duties as Child Welfare Protection Officer effectively and efficiently.
Challenges To Effective Child Welfare Service Provision
However, even with the above strengths, several challenges exist that compromise service delivery on the part of the child welfare services worker. Ryan and Hughes (1998) expound on these challenges to include; poor public perception of the Child Welfare Social worker. Service delivery is compromised by high staff turnover as well as lack of competent personnel in the social work institutions; vulnerability of families with complex needs thus requiring time bound complex solutions. This cannot be tackled by the few workers available; poor working conditions result in the workers having to bear with increasing caseloads without proper remuneration and flexible routines; increased caseloads with complex needs. These stem in part from the vulnerability of families where breadwinners are unable to provide sufficiently for their dependants. Complexity of these needs requires complex actions in their solutions which further demands time to solve them; reduction in the number of foster care parenting. Increased caseloads face a backlog of foster care parenting as less individuals sign up into foster care systems due to increased expenses and bureaucracies involved.
Proposed Changes To Improve The Public’s Perception Of Public Child Welfare Services
In order to improve the public perception of public child welfare services, adequate training and employment should be done to increase the number of competent personnel in these institutions. This would effectively take into account the need to improve service delivery to cater for increasing cases related to child welfare (Weaver et al., 2006).
Secondly, institutional changes that encompass policy development and implementation need to be adequately addressed to ensure systematic co-ordination in securing resources for affected families and children. Further more, compensation should be incorporated to promote foster care parenting o that foster families do not feel overburdened in taking care of the adopted children. Staff should also be compensated in situations where they have incurred extra expenses of both time and money in their quest to address underlying issues brought to them.
Weaver et al., (2006) defines permanency planning as a guiding principle intended to minimize the exit, entry and time spent in home care. It includes both legal and social efforts aimed at securing viable families for children. It further describes where a child will live after foster care.
Foster Care System
Foster care system refers to a system where a minor is taken up in a caregiver’s home. Such a caregiver is certified by the state and is referred to as a foster parent. The state and a child welfare institution engage in legal decisions affecting the minor while the foster parent contributes to the daily care of the minor and is compensated for extending such services by the state. This system is mostly short term in nature as the minor awaits permanent adoption or reunification (Ryan and Hughes, 1998)
Five years after my graduation, I intend to become a social worker with a bias in child protection services. I will focus my attention mainly in child labor and female genital mutilation cases for the first three years. I will then establish an organization whose main mandate would be to address the above issues.
Ryan, J. and Hughes, R. (1998), Field Guides to Child Welfare (Vol II-XIII). Washington: CWLA Press
Weaver, D. et al., (2006), Retention of Public Child Welfare Workers. Berkeley: California University
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