Delegates hear the global view at LIVE

The message which came most clearly out of Community Care Live
this year can be summed up by the user movement slogan: “Nothing
about us without us.”

Children’s rights, independence and advocacy for people with
learning difficulties, and the impact of service users and
practitioners on the future of social care were just some of the
topics debated at Community Care Live at the Business
Design Centre in London last week.

Approaching 2,000 social workers came to the event this year, to
hear more than 70 speakers in 30-plus debates, seminars and
workshops, as well as visit our exhibition with nearly 100

Speakers gathered from all over the world as the event went
international to mark its move from December to May. Giving the
keynote speech was Dr Zola Skweyiya, the South African minister for
social development, who launched a day of debates about rights and
life chances for children with his talk on how rights-based
approaches to children and young people are transforming youth care
and development in his own country.

Delegates also heard that Australia has been going through a
quiet revolution in the way it handles children’s rights. Pat
Ambikapathy, who became Tasmania’s first children’s commissioner in
1999, and Robin Sullivan, who took up the corresponding post in
Queensland in the same year, spoke of the “great shift” in policy
which had accompanied the elevation of rights above old-fashioned

Similar processes are at work in central Europe, where the
rights of ordinary people to any kind of welfare at all are slowly
gaining a foothold as became clear in our debate Tackling Poverty:
International perspectives on the role of social work. Milena
Jaburkova, head of the personal social services unit in the Czech
Republic, was among a succession of central European speakers who
said that it was only after the fall of communism that anyone even
began to take seriously the role of social work in alleviating
human suffering.

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