I listened with interest to Lyndal Greenslade’s podcast and read the related paper with a mix of excitement and concern (Greenslade, McAuliffe, & Chenoweth, 2014; Podsocs, 2014). Both of these items were kindly posted on this website by Liz Beddoe. The podcast and paper described radical ways in which social workers in Australia work covertly to the advantage of their clients. For example, turning a blind eye to behaviour that was contrary to care plans, in order to avoid a more arbitrary use of power by other professionals. This covert activism must be considered in the context of the social workers’ ‘deep critical reflection’ on their practice, and an organisational climate experienced as being increasingly hostile to the professional values held by social workers.
Following Anne Tolley’s (Minister of Social Development) announcement last week of the formation of an ‘independent expert panel’ to review Child, Youth and Family (CYF), there has been an avalanche of responses on social media. Having read and reflected on this material I found myself wondering, as a social work educator, what it is that front line social workers in CYF actually need to complete their job in a competent, timely and safe manner?