Social Work Recap: World Social Work Day, child poverty and Love Island

Our review of the week in social work

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Photo: sebra / AdobeStock Edits: CommunityCare

Social Work Recap is a weekly series where we present key news, events, conversations, tweets and campaigns around social work from the preceding week.

Ramadan Mubarak from all of us at Community Care and happy Social Work Week!

From this year’s World Social Work Day celebrations and a new podcast on the ‘ghost children’ missing from school each year to Love Island’s latest winner, here’s this week’s line-up:

World Social Work Day

World Social Work Day 2023

Photo credit: International Federation of Social Workers

Councils and social work organisations from across the world took to social media on Tuesday to share the various ways in which they were celebrating World Social Work Day.

Under the hashtag #WSWD23, professionals uploaded photos of conferences, doughnuts, art projects, themed t-shirts and educational sessions to honour the profession. Here’s how it went down:

This year’s theme was respecting diversity through joint social action and, alongside the celebrations, the British Association of Social Workers (BASW) held a series of events through March exploring the theme and reflecting on practice.

You can check out BASW’s full programme for their ‘World Social Work Month’ here.

Social Work England’s Social Work Week

Credit: Social Work England

Social Work England ran a five-day programme of online sessions this week for social work professionals, students and people with lived experiences.

The regulator’s second ‘Social Work Week’, which ended today, had three key objectives – learning about social work and people’s experiences in the sector, connecting social workers and others involved with the profession, and influencing the future of social work.

Its sessions ranged from improving LGBTQ+ social care and reflections on social work regulation, co-production and professional identity to report writing, tackling racism in the workplace and practising social work in different settings, such as prisons and hospitals.

BBC podcast series on ‘ghost children’

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (photo: West Midlands Police)

On the back of the tragic case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, the BBC has launched a podcast series in which journalist Terri White, a survivor of child abuse, investigates what has happened to children who are persistently absent from school. Arthur was murdered by his husband’s partner while off school during the first Covid lockdown.

“Unlike some kids, the classroom wasn’t a place I was desperate to escape every day,” White wrote in a BBC article about the podcast. “Instead, the piles of books, stacks of paper and pots of pens were my escape. They were a portal to another world. Another life.”

“I have long wondered what would have happened to me if I hadn’t had school.”

Drawing on her own experience, White launches her own investigation, traveling across the country to “find out where these kids are, why they’re absent and what is being done to address the issue”.

The first episode of Finding Britain’s Ghost Children was published on 22 March. You can listen to it here.

Government to cut £250m from social work workforce funding

Photo: ducdao/Fotolia

Photo: ducdao/Fotolia

The Health Service Journal has reported that the government plans to cut £250m from a £500m fund to support the adult social care workforce in England from 2022-25.

The fund, first announced in the December 2021 white paper, People at the Heart of Care, was designed to provide “investment in knowledge, skills, health and wellbeing, and recruitment policies [that] will improve social care as a long-term career choice”.

This was against the backdrop of severe workforce pressures across adult care, with vacancies of 165,000 as of March 2022 and low wages reportedly driving staff into retail and hospitality.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care told The Guardian, which picked up the story, that they would not comment on leaks and that the “government remains committed to the 10-year vision set out in the People at the Heart of Care white paper and have made good progress on implementing it”.

4.2m children  living in poverty in 2021-22


Photo credit: disha1980/ AdobeStock

Around 4.2m million children were living in relative poverty in the year to April 2022, up 350,000 on the previous year, according to government figures released this week.

The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) said that the rise was largely because of the government scrapping the £20 uplift to universal credit introduced during the pandemic halfway through the year.

Children from Asian and black families were overrepresented, with 47% of the former and 53% of the latter living in poverty compared to 25% of those from white families.

“In the face of today’s grim figures, and with another rise in inflation, it’s inexcusable for ministers to sit on their hands,” said CPAG’s chief executive, Alison Garnham, who called on the government to extend free schools meals, boost child benefit, remove the cap on how much households can receive in benefits and end the two-child limit on additional welfare payments.

Social worker wins Love Island


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A post shared by Sanam Harrinanan (@sanamiee)

On a lighter note, a newly qualified social worker from Bedford has won this year’s Love Island!

Sanam Harrinanan, 24, started her career in the profession in March 2022 and has cited her and fellow winner Kai Fagan’s love for “helping children” as one of the main reasons behind their success as a couple.

However, shortly after her win, the social worker admitted she wouldn’t be able to return to the day job after her time off in the South African villa.

“I can’t go into social work again, I don’t think I’ll be able to,” she told Heat World magazine.

“But I’ve got a meeting about it this week with my social work manager because I want to be able to use this platform to help children locally.

“I still want to do the same thing I was doing but in a different capacity,” she added. “But it’s just finding out what that capacity is and how I can do it.”

 Must Listen: The Social Matters Podcast

Launched in 2018, The Social Matters Podcast is a bi-monthly audio series that sees three friends “who happen to be social workers” give their take on trending social issues.

With the help of various guests, the trio tackle everything from working on sexual abuse cases, anti-racist practices and food banks to virtual reality in social work.

Tweet of the week

Social worker and author Siobhan Maclean has captured the essence of World Social Work Day perfectly in one tweet.

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