Who are we?

Re-Imagining Social Work (RSW) is a collective of social workers, social work academics, researchers and others who share a passion for, and a commitment to the development of modern, progressive, inclusive, democratic, and culturally responsive social work services in Aotearoa New Zealand.  Our work in the collective is voluntary and undertaken with no external support.  The opinions we express are our own and do not represent the views of our employers, or any association to which we belong.  At the moment the RSW collective consists of:

  • Neil Ballantyne, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, Open Polytechnic of New Zealand.
  • Liz Beddoe, Professor in Social Work, University of Auckland.
  • Ian Hyslop, Senior Lecturer in Social Work, University of Auckland.
  • Emily Keddell, Associate Professor in Social Work, University of Otago.
  • Deb Stanfield, Social Work Academic and Supervisor

What is the purpose of this website?

The purpose of this website is to provide a platform to re-imagine social work services in Aotearoa New Zealand. We intend to use this site, and other social media, to raise awareness about the threats to humane social work services in New Zealand and to promote discussion, debate and deliberation about progressive alternatives.

What is the background to the RSW?

Our collective was formed in response to the New Zealand Government’s announcement, in April 2015, of plans to review and ‘modernise’ Child, Youth and Family (the government operated child protection agency).  The review is to be led by an ‘independent’ panel of ‘experts’.  Experts who do not include a single child protection practitioner, manager, academic or researcher. The CYF review is not about the development of creative and innovative plans to support and reform a struggling public service. It is about the continuing roll out of the National Government’s ‘investment approach’ to marketise and privatise health and social services.  The terms of reference of the review include no plans to consult the New Zealand public or any of the many agencies and individuals with a stake in effective child protection services.

What do we want to achieve?

We propose to resist the silencing of our voice by creating a space to discuss, debate and deliberate on the future of modern and progressive social work services in Aotearoa New Zealand. We believe that the CYF Review has implications for all social work services and welcome contributions (blog posts, comments, video interviews, photographs, cartoons, drawings and other media) from colleagues (social workers, social work managers, social work students, policy makers, trade unionists and others) who share our concerns.  Please use the contact form to contact the RSW Collective.

The name of our collective, Re-imagining Social Work, was inspired by the book Re-imagining Child Protection: Towards humane social work with families by Brid Featherstone,  Kate Morris, and Sue White.