Social Workers embrace new challenges to better respond to children and families in need
Helping families to stand on their feet again
Passionate, motivated, loyal, empathic, and professional commitment are some of the characteristics of social workers that you may seek for their support when in trouble. As we celebrate World Social Worker Day 2022, we recognize the important role of the Social Service Workforce in creating a sustainable social world that will Leave No One Behind.
The social service plays a central role in supporting children and families in communities by alleviating poverty, identifying and managing risks, and facilitating access to and delivery of social services to enhance child and family well-being. As in many countries around the world, in Albania, the pandemic has put a spotlight on the gaps in social services such as the exposure of vulnerable families to sudden economic shocks.
“A well-developed social service workforce is also key to promoting social justice, reducing discrimination, challenging and changing harmful behaviors and social norms,” - said Edina Kozma, Deputy Representative.
The social service workforce is critical also to the implementation of the UNCRC, the European agenda for human rights and children’s rights, and the achievement of the SDGs in the Europe and Central Asia region. But translating political will into action requires proper commitment from the Albanian government to increase public investment in the sector. The law on Social Care Services approved in December 2016 establishes for the first time ever the foundations of an integrated social care services delivery at the local level.
Since then, the Albanian Government has committed to an integrated Social Protection System that is able to integrate cash and care aiming to reach out to all vulnerable children and families. Due to strong advocacy, key sectors such as health and education also recognize the need to place social workers Municipalities now have the obligation to hire one social worker for 6,000 – 10,000 inhabitants and one child protection worker for 3,000 inhabitants. In response to this, UNICEF in partnership with the University of Tirana, Faculty of Social Sciences, has contributed to strengthening the social protection workforce through pre-service and in-service curricula for social workers.
It is for that reason that UNICEF has invested a lot of resources and efforts into reforming social work and presenting a new model of a social worker. The future social worker is not an administrator who assesses cases and fills a form, but a person who manages the situations until the family and child are able to stand on their own feet again.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/albania.