Social work in diverse Britain: a special report


Social work in diverse Britain: a special report

street scene“Respect for diversity and different cultures and values” was at the heart of the Social Work Reform Board’s recently published tenets of social work.Not every issue around ethnic or cultural difference is obvious – it goes far beyond skin colour and social workers have to balance this respect with maintaining fundamental practice.Community Care has looked at some of the areas where ethnic or cultural differences may influence practice or on occasion be missed, and at some of the good practice that can be applied.

We report how care services must adapt to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population of people over-65 who come from ethnic minorities, leading to calls for councils to improve planning.

And we reveal a glass ceiling for social care professionals from ethnic minorities which means they hold just 2.5% of adult social care director posts. Cardiff Council’s director of social services Neelam Bhardwaja tells how she beat the barriers to rise to the top and Unison’s Narmada Thiranagama gives advice on how to tackle racism in the workplace.

Child protection experts present advice on how to avoid the culture traps in children’s services, which hindered efforts to protect Victoria Climbié and Khyra Ishaq. We also report on the links between autism and race and tell how support groups are working to improve the success rate of trans-racial adoption.

Elsewhere, the hidden scandal of learning disabled people being forced into marriage is revealed and best practice tips to prevent the issue are offered. We also report on how mental health is believed to be deteriorating among members of the Muslim community as people increasingly feel under siege.

And we also offer tips on how professionals can engage with all sections of a diverse society and present the latest research on reducing inequalities in care services provision.


diversity Research findings on reducing inequalities in care provision.

Humour beats stigma

beyond prisonHow comedy can help prisoners address their mental health issues. More


boyBarriers to gaining support for children from minorities who may have autism. More

Defeating racism

Gurnam Singh Social work’s journey to embrace diversity within the profession and in practice. More

Child protection

climbie How culture and ethnicity can obscure and mislead child protection professionals. More

Forced marriage

rings How people with learning disabilities are often the victims of forced marriage among some ethnic minorities. More

Tackling witchcraft

Ariyo Why the law must be changed to stop children being branded as witches. More

Diversity in practice

diversity Social work reformers look to buttress the profession’s role in promoting diversity. More

Mental health

social work reform Why mental illness is becoming more common among the UK’s Muslim population. More

Transracial adoptions

social work reform How are services responding to the growth in transracial adoptions? More

Tackling racism

Namarda How should social workers respond when they encounter racism in the course of their work? More


Patrick Vernon The barriers preventing people from ethnic minorities from enjoying the benefits of personalisation More

Building links

people The ways in which all levels of social work professionals can build links with multi-ethnic communities More

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