As Australia enters another recession and job prospects become further limited, the need for qualified and skilled workers to assist individuals in navigating complicated systems and understanding their worth and ability is essential. The Covid-19 pandemic has also had a drastic effect on the mental wellbeing of individuals and it is through competent recovery based work that we will see this trend change. Social workers are the only profession skilled to handle the complicated web this modern world is evolving into by placing the individual at the centre of everything they do.
Social workers provide counselling, advocacy, shape policy, provide education and help with employment issues. Social work needs more funding in Australia, not less. Social workers address health disparity, rising inequality, rights violations and injustice.
I would not be alive today without social work support.
Social workers provide context to an experience - they paint the picture that helps other services understand what happened to a person, how circumstances have led someone down certain paths and to make the choices they have.
Social Workers are the ‘voice’ when clients are unable to speak for themselves and are advocates for their best interests.
Social workers have helped with access to knowledge, recognition of issues and helping find ways to resolve those issues. This has had the flow on benefit of helping us move forward in our lives in a positive manner allowing us to have hope and the knowledge and abilities to cope with challenges. It has been incredibly important to know there is a safety net of help in place. Without having some one around to know what help was available, we would not have made it.
Ruth - Social Worker
Social work is an essential service for the most vulnerable members of our community. I work in the Mental Health field and have experience in aged care and community health, but our discipline also works with vulnerable communities, in child protection, disability sector and the prison sector to name a few. We empower people to have a voice but often we need to be the strong advocate in times of crisis. If social work courses are defunded, we will lose an essential service for the most vulnerable Australians
The values of Social Work align with my professional and personal identity. The profession has created an avenue for me to provide, educate, nurture, and advocate for some of the most vulnerable, at risk children and families. Associating with a change agent related profession is one which facilitates an empowered, equitable and safe society for the current and future generations.
Dr Wendy Bunston
I graduated in 1988 from LaTrobe University and have had a full and I believe, very worthwhile career. I have worked with at risk young people, children and families my entire career. I completed studies in family therapy, organisational dynamics, infant mental health, and in 2o16, a PhD.
My entire working life has been embedded in and exemplified social work values; a commitment to social justice, social cohesion and making a contribution to society. I was impassioned by my social work training to always strive to to do better, be better and to give back to my profession.
Social work is important to me because it saved me from experiencing more child abuse. If there were no child protection social workers, I don't know if I would have the life I have now.
Social work is consistent with my personal values of
helping people and promoting social justice. I also believe
social work involves mutual growth for both helpers and the persons who receive help.
If social work courses are defunded, fewer people would choose social work as their profession, and afterwards, fewer people would get the necessary help they need.
I believe that social work, is the backbone of structure,
growth and empowerment in all communities.
In my time of need, my social worker, Brigid, showed me
ways to overcome my crisis. Also how to live, being a
survivor. Our relationship was based on trust, it had such
a positive, effective influence on myself.
I think that it is imperative that funding continues. There
are so many people in this world, that rely on social
workers. If you take that away, they are left with nothing.
As a university student that is currently in her final year of her Social Work Degree, and who began studying at the age of 47, I know personally that if the costing of this degree was as high as is currently proposed by the Job Graduates Policy, it would have been a significant deterrent for me in pursuing my chosen career. One that I am now thoroughly enjoying and looking forward to joining the employment market once I have graduated. As more than one third of Social Work Students are mature aged (over 35), imagine the impact on student enrolments if all mature aged people were prevented from following their chosen career by the changes proposed by this policy.
I have witnessed first hand how critical the Social Work profession is from not only a personal viewpoint, but also professsionally! Whether we like to admit it, inequality is heavily engrained within Australia’s society and culture and when considering our current crisis, it is guarantees that this inequality will be exemplified in areas of finance, health, family violence, safety, and general well-being.
Associate Professor Wendy Foote
Our future will include many more critical events - such as COVID-19 and bush fires. Social work is a profession well suited to respond to the range of issues arising from these events. The immediate trauma, the need for community rebuilding. The advocacy needed to ensure that the voices of communities are heard.
Associate Lecturer, Monique Cairney
Social workers work well with other allied health providers and they are trained to work in many environments with diverse populations. They are open to doing counselling, casework, advocacy, policy and promotion work.
If social work courses are defunded, many students will not be able to afford this degree.
There is much inequality in our country and many social issues. Many people live below the poverty line and many are discriminated against, when seeking housing, due to race or social status. Domestic violence remains a major issue for women, and the suicide rates are alarming.
Social workers have diversity of expertise and experience to work across all of the social issues in our country. They can work collaboratively in multi-disciplinary teams with the aim to achieve best outcomes for the disadvantaged and vulnerable citizens.
I am a social worker. This was written by a past client. Out of interest, she and her partner were both healthcare professionals, yet struggled to navigate the aged care system. ‘Without Janet’s exceptional aged care knowledge and compassionate approach in helping us navigate and make best choices for our aging parents’ residential care, I don’t know how we would have managed. The sudden hospitalisation, rapid decline and onset of dementia of our beloved parent was traumatic especially in midst of trying to juggle all our own families’ responsibilities. Janet’s insightful case management empowered us to make confident choices of care."
Jacqui - Occupational Therapist
Social Workers provide necessary support and assistance to lots of people in our society. Usually these people are vulnerable due to age or disability and need someone to advocate for them and provide assistance to receive support to be able to live their lives.
I think social work needs to receive continued funding to be able to continue the work in the community and provide support to those who need it.
Brett - Social Worker
Social work has granted me a career at 57 years. Using my life experience I want to help young people who have disengaged with the educational system and help them realise there is a place for everyone within our communities and society.
Being a person who has overcome difficulties in life, I feel for persons in similar situations who now will not have the same opportunity to change their life for the better through achieving an affordable degree at university.
Having worked as a regional social worker for all of my career, I have seen first hand how the profession make a difference in local communities. Social Workers work across Child Protection, Correctional Services, Education, Health, NDIS.
Social Workers make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. They work across all areas of people's lives - one to one - facilitating groups - working on social policy and in research. Australia has seen how social workers respond to crisis during the recent bush fires and during the Covid-19 crisis.
I am currently finishing my social work degree this year. Social work is an essential qualified profession that enhances the lives of many Australians.
Without this profession, where will this leave Australian society in general? Social workers aim to be agents of change from a holistic perspective with the protection and promotion of human rights in mind.
Jess - Social Worker
I am a social worker in child protection within Health. I intervene in families where domestic violence is present and work towards safety and healing for women and children.
Quite simply, less Commonwealth support will mean less enrollments and less social workers in the field. People drawn to social work degrees have often experienced adversity and disadvantage themselves, meaning that they may be more reliant on Commonwealth support to access courses.
Social workers are essential workers that are needed and will continue to be needed during COVID-19 and after. I am a social work student and have personally used social workers during my teens. They also provided myself and my family much needed support during my husband’s cancer and continue to do so.
We absolutely need more funding for human services in Australia! So many reports and inquiries into the social work have identified that the key issues preventing successful intervention in issues such as child abuse and neglect are issues of understaffing and overworking as caused by limited funding. This has been illustrate in the inquiry into child protection services in NSW (aka. Wood report of 2008) which highlights how funding is needed to improve services and the ability of society to protect innocent children. This is ultimately reflected in many other reports and research documents.
Social work is important to me, as it gives me an identity. I have always known that I wanted to work in a helping profession and social work affords me that opportunity. I have a brother with a disability, growing up, I watched the disadvantaged he encountered from a young age. The amazing support he has received by caring professionals, has supported to him get to a point where he has been able to live independently and currently has a full time job.
Social work is a broad umbrella of support services that help make our community a better place. Where legal and financial systems unfairly leave behind those in need, social workers makeup a network of guidance and safety. Social work importantly develops relationships that may have been broken or challenged. Its important to preserve social services in general because it acts to personally engage those with the help they need and improve their quality of life.