The Big Question

Are social workers doing enough to promote social justice?

Shaun Webster – Change self advocacy group
They could do better. I work with a project to train social workers how to work with parents with learning difficulties. The idea is to catch ’em young, while they’re still at university. That way we can change attitudes because we can be good parents. It’s unfair that our kids are taken into care because providing support costs money.

Angie Lawrence – Single mother
Social workers’ role means they can influence social justice. They often work with vulnerable people who cannot speak up for themselves and they are well placed to recognise where resources are inadequate and practices unfair. It is crucial that they bring these to the attention of policymakers, politicians and the public.

Karen Shook – Disability equality adviser
Social workers could do a lot more to support disabled people and people whose first language is not English in the criminal justice system. Given time and money, they could do more work with young people to provide supportive community opportunities and divert them from criminality.

Len Smith – Gypsy activist
I’ve striven for social justice for 46 years and, sadly, I find that people from any walk of life who will solidly and unshakeably promote the idea are thin on the ground. A few will mouth platitudes but do nothing; some will promote it but only within the sphere of their own particular interest. Social workers seem no better or worse than anyone else.

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