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  Subjects -> SOCIAL SERVICES AND WELFARE (Total: 224 journals)
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Journal of Comparative Social Work
Number of Followers: 3  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 0809-9936
Published by Universitetet i Stavanger Homepage  [1 journal]
  • Special Issue on Social Work in the Time of COVID-19

    • Authors: Mary Dallas Allen, Debbie Gonzalez, Lennart Sauer
      Pages: 1 - 6
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.553
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the social work client base

    • Authors: Kim Bastaits, Inge Pasteels, Michiel Massart, Bart Put
      Pages: 7 - 36
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has rampaged through the daily life of individuals, increasing existing vulnerabilities and bringing about new ones. Social service workers act in close proximity and connection with these vulnerable groups, and measures taken to decrease the COVID-19 contamination rate — such as working from home, reducing social contacts and most of all lockdowns — negatively affect the core tasks of social service workers. Consequently, these professionals have had to find other ways to reach out to clients. This may potentially change the type of clients who have been reached and prioritized during the pandemic. Moreover, the profile of clients may have changed due to the pandemic. With this study, we address three research questions: (1) Which clients were prioritized by social service workers', (2) Which clients were not able to be reached by social service workers'; and (3) Do social service workers expect a new vulnerable client base to emerge as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic' To help answer these questions, we used data from the Social Work COVID-19 Survey, obtained from 2,815 social service workers and collected in April and May 2020 during the first Belgian lockdown. The results indicate that urgent cases in need of essential, vital care were prioritized, with social service workers relying more on their gut instincts than on the customary procedures. Second, clients who could not be reached were those with limited access to modern communications, or with lower levels of digital skills. This often coincides with more vulnerable groups (such as people with mental health issues, financial issues, a small social network, the homeless and the elderly). Third, with regard to possible new clients, social service workers anticipate a ‘less standard’ and ‘more temporary’ client base, with more ‘middle-class families’ who have become vulnerable due to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, social service workers expect the pressure in the private life of individuals to increase, and have observed several mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.389
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
  • The inclusive, social space-oriented participation of people with
           disabilities in the Bavaria–Tyrol border region during the COVID-19

    • Authors: Lukas Kerschbaumer, Sascha Gell, Ajla Nesimovic, Philipp Weinkogl
      Pages: 37 - 69
      Abstract: Background: Although some individuals in Germany’s and Austria’s Bavaria–Tyrol border region live in one country but work, study, shop and/or access healthcare in the other, realising that lifestyle can be difficult for people with disabilities (PWD). Limited cross-border services currently available to PWD not only suffer from poor awareness and adoption but also fail to meet PWD’s manifold individual needs. Thus facing restricted individual social space, especially in rural areas, the region’s PWD experience various constraints to self-determined lives, which the COVID-19 pandemic’s isolation and heightened border control have only aggravated. Against that background, we sought to identify factors that have enabled or constrained PWD’s individual agency in the Bavaria–Tyrol border region both before and during the pandemic. Methods: Beginning in April 2020, we conducted 34 semi-structured interviews with PWD, their relatives and employers and various institutional, political and administrative personnel regarding the use of cross-border education, housing, leisure and occupational services during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bavaria, Germany, and Tyrol, Austria. In qualitative content analysis, we summarised the most pressing results into eight abstracts that we later compiled into a qualitative online survey completed by 51 of 229 interviewees and other participants (22.27%). Results: Pandemic-associated developments and policies have been external shocks to an already fragile (cross-border) support system for PWD. Added to pre-pandemic obstacles including a lack of information, consensus and options regarding cross-border activities, new deficits in mobility, housing and funding for support along with prejudices and the effects of digitalisation have further intensified challenges for PWD.
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.391
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
  • ' Maybe I can go back to school in a few weeks'

    • Authors: Hulda Mjøll Gunnarsdottir, Samita Wilson, Elisabeth Enoksen
      Pages: 70 - 93
      Abstract: This study explores everyday life from the perspective of children during school lockdown in Norway. The outbreak of Covid-19 greatly impacts societies on all levels. Studies have revealed a drastic change in children’s routines through home-schooling and reduced access to physical activities, as well as increase in contact with parents with subsequent potential friction or positive interactions. Children’s own perspective of their experiences during Covid-19 restrictions, nevertheless, appear to be scarce.  This study provides a unique insight into ten children’s experiences through examination of their diary entries during lockdown. Our theoretical approach is based Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model of child development, and protective factors and risk factors in child development. Our findings indicate that children’s everyday life experiences during Covid-19 lockdown can be sorted into three different arenas: The home and family life, The school and learning activities, and The social and digital interaction with friends. These three arenas represent important micro-systems in the children’s lives. However, the shutting down of school and society has disrupted the overall ecological systems surrounding the children, increasing the potential weight of risk factors such as loneliness and stress. All arenas and system levels moved inside the children’s primary micro-arena; their homes and family life.  Further, all forms of social interaction, both at school, among friends and in family life seem to depend on digital platforms, as the children respond to the new situation by using digital meeting places. Utilizing Bronfenbrenner’s systematic approach, the digital arena appears to manifest a new khrono-system in the children’s lives. The digital screens being what binds all eco-systems together. An important question for further studies is what consequences this has for the future development of childhood, and how do the children cope with this kind of disruption of their everyday lives.
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.403
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
  • Ethical challenges in gerontological social work in Finland during the
           Covid-19 pandemic

    • Authors: Tyyne Ylinen, Vera Ylinen, Laura Kalliomaa-Puha, Satu Ylinen
      Pages: 94 - 122
      Abstract: Our study focused on identifying the ethical challenges employees of gerontological social work have faced during Covid-19 pandemic. The ethical guidelines, based on international ethical principles of social work (IFSW), play a key part in Finnish social work. Still, even in normal times social workers face situations in which they are forced to work against professional ethical principles. Covid-19 pandemic changed the working conditions of social work dramatically and employees of gerontological social work have been in the front line working with elderly, who are vulnerable to the virus but also to the social repercussions of the pandemic. This qualitative interview study, based on 14 semi-structured interviews of employees of gerontological social work from different parts of Finland, was conducted between November 2020 and February 2021. Data was analyzed by using qualitative content analysis. The results showed that the employees’ biggest ethical challenge was related to the shutting down of elderly people’s services and the reduced possibilities to meet their clients. The participants described feeling helpless because they could not respond to their clients’ needs. Also, the unclear instructions given on how to respond to the threat of Covid-19 were making ethical practices difficult. In addition, the participants were worried about the increased loneliness and depression of their clients and were anxious on how to respond to the growing service needs of elderly with very limited resources. As times were rough, the participants would have needed of their colleagues’ support, which they now lacked because of remote working. They also described the lack of acknowledgement by their employers.
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.397
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the work of social workers

    • Authors: Ines Schell-Kiehl, Melissa Laurens, Nicole Ketelaar, Peter Sommerfeld, Nadja Hess, Sarah Bühler, Nikolaus Meyer, Sebastian Franz
      Pages: 123 - 152
      Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on everyone’s life. Like many other professionals, social workers have been forced to adapt to these new working conditions and new challenges in order to support clients during the pandemic, as new needs have arisen. Together with professional associations from three nations (Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands), we used a coordinated approach to explore the consequences of the pandemic for social work professionals. This study was conducted during the most severe contact and hygiene restrictions of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the winter of 2020/2021. The data addresses the changes perceived by social work professionals in relation to their contact and communication with clients, the use of digital technology in the context of work, the professional response in terms of innovation, the working conditions and the psychosocial risks they face. Methods
      Cross-sectional data was collected from 7,241 social workers in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands through online surveys. Results
      The results show an increase in the workload of professional social workers and compounding problems of clients, together with a negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communication and contact with clients. All of this takes place within the framework of changing working conditions and contexts. Our data shows that the use of digital technologies does not cause bigger problems for most of the participating social workers. It should in fact be noted that professionals have many positive associations with the use of digital technology in general. Conclusions
      There are both remarkable and alarming results concerning the mental health of social workers and their working conditions, as well as the position of the social work profession in general.
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.390
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
  • When crisis strikes

    • Authors: Jeanette Pedersen, Guro Øydgard
      Pages: 153 - 175
      Abstract: When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Norway in March 2020, comprehensive action was taken by the government, leading to the lockdown of welfare institutions, schools and kindergartens, and strict restrictions on physical meetings. This had severe consequences for Child Welfare Protection services (CWP). The restrictions stopped child welfare protection home visits and professionals in other welfare institutions, which usually observe children and notify child welfare protection services, were no longer able to identify children at risk. This article, drawing on interviews with 10 social workers, explores their experience during COVID-19. Applying Lipsky’s concept of street-level bureaucrats and theories of professional identity, the article documents how COVID-19 not only restricted, but also modified social workers jobs, and led to self-reflection on their professional identity. In turn, the findings suggest the potential for beneficial changes in practices in the aftermath of COVID-19.
      PubDate: 2022-08-15
      DOI: 10.31265/jcsw.v17i1.392
      Issue No: Vol. 17, No. 1 (2022)
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