Alliance calls on leaders to provide political and financial support to social service workforce
During a keynote address at the People’s Global Summit, Director of the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, Hugh Salmon, is calling on governments, donors and private and civil society organizations to provide the necessary political and financial support to strengthen the social service workforce.
To achieve a world in which all children, families, individuals and communities experience equity, respect, dignity and justice we must have effective, well-resourced social-service systems. At the heart of those systems must be a strong social service workforce, argues Hugh Salmon, delivering a keynote speech to the Summit.
A professional, trained social service workforce not only provide support, care and protection to those facing adversity but they play a central role promoting social justice, reducing discrimination, challenging and changing harmful behaviours and social norms, and preventing and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.
“A well-coordinated, efficient, and well-resourced social service workforce is essential to address the needs of some of the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities,” Salmon states. “However, the impact of their work depends on governments, donors and private and civil society organizations coming together and committing to provide the necessary political, financial and moral support. It also requires commitments to plan, develop and support the workforce.”
Salmon further highlighted the essential role of the social service workforce in addressing and responding to some of biggest issues impacting our world today, including COVID-19 and other public health emergencies, displacement of people as a result of armed conflict, migration, climate-related disasters and violence against children.
Throughout COVID-19, the social service workforce carried out many essential functions, including educating communities on safety and prevention, delivering remote psychosocial support services, providing protection and support to children during school closures, and identifying the most marginalized and vulnerable households in need of additional support. At a time when individuals and communities, as well as workers themselves, face heightened challenges, the social service workforce has remained at the heart of building connections and ensuring the continuity of critical services.
In recent decades, escalating and protracted conflicts, natural disasters and extreme weather events often exacerbated by climate change have resulted in rapid increases in the numbers of people and communities in need of emergency social assistance and support.
“Social service workers play a critical, but often unreconized role, in helping people and communities prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies,” Salmon notes. “They have the skills, knowledge and commitment to identify, reach, assess and engage with the most marginalized members of communities…They have the skills and values needed to support communities as they cope with emergency-related stresses and changes.”
In addition, over one billion children worldwide experience violence each year, with devastating consequences for their well-being, health and development. To help prevent such violence, and to provide adequate protection and support in response, a well-functioning child protection system is required, which in turn needs a qualified social service workforce with a clear mandate to protect children.
“Social service workers are often the first line of response for children and families,” Salmon explains. “They play a critical role in identifying, preventing and managing risks and in responding to situations of vulnerability and harm.”
Watch the full keynote address during the People’s Global Summit: Co-building a New Eco-Social World: Leaving No One Behind, taking place 29th June to 2nd July 2022: https://newecosocialworld.com/speaker/hugh-salmon/
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