CYF Review- great ideas but what about the workers?

The big questions I have about the proposed reviews, on the basis of what we have so far are: will government  invest generously (or even adequately ) in the social services workforce?  Will they take social workers with them in the planning for the new services? Given the past record of poor investment and excluding social workers from the discussion I am very cynical.  Especially about the lack of investment in us. Change without workforce development and proper planning won’t achieve what they want. The history of social work as a profession in Aotearoa New Zealand is one of deficits in real resources. We have heard talk from the minister this week about social work education and registration- ‘calls for social worker registration to become mandatory‘, but no detail. She’s had a year to think about it.  We are waiting and ready to contribute our expertise.
Minister Tolley wants a social  investment strategy  – well invest in us !  And bring us to the table. And make it soon.

One reply on “CYF Review- great ideas but what about the workers?”

Agreed Liz. What I find instructive to reflect upon is the extent to which social work and social workers are marginalised in the report of the “Expert Panel” when compared with similar reports in other jurisdictions. There is a PhD thesis to be had for someone who wants to conduct a detailed narrative analysis but all you have to do is read the contents page to see the contrast in tone and linguistic register. Remove the occasional reference to children, young people and families and the “Expert Panel” report could be about the opening of a new airport, or the restructuring of a business. But then that’s the language of neoliberalism: the language of managers, accountants and investment bankers.

Another illustration of the neoliberal linguistic register is the way in which action to reduce the over-representation of Māori children and young people in the system is framed not in terms of social justice but in the reduction in “forward liability (the cumulative costs across a lifetime)….(and)…the significant fiscal and social benefits of intervening as soon as possible, when problems are less entrenched and damaging.” (p.10). Which begs the question of what this “early intervention” will look like and its impact on whānau care.

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