Social Service Workforce Week Day 3
Development of a National Social Service Workforce Strengthening Strategy: The Ugandan experience
The Call to Action by the Global Social Service Workforce Alliance, signed by 34 organizations, recommends country and global level actions that build on existing efforts underway nationally, including calling on relevant state governments to initiate, lead and engage in dialogue with partners to develop or enhance a national workforce strengthening strategy, based on workforce mapping and through a government-led workforce leadership group. Effective strategies make choices about key workforce elements to strengthen in the near- and longer-term and incorporate actions related to a diversified workforce of para professionals and professionals at community, district, regional and national levels. Including the views and experiences of children, youth and adults who have received services must be part of the development of such a strategy.
In Uganda, recognizing that greater budget allocations are needed for strengthening the social service workforce to achieve SDG 16.2 to end all violence against children, the government is leading the development of a multi-sectoral national social service workforce strengthening strategy.
“While there has not yet been the opportunity to have social work practice as an area of concern discussed at national level, there is growing interest among a cross section of social work professionals and child-focused agencies to work collaboratively with government institutions. Standardizing social work curriculum, setting minimum standards, regulating social work practice and skilling the social workforce at service delivery level will ensure social and economic transformation – a dream we all anxiously look forward to seeing,” said Michael Byamukama, President, National Association of Social Workers Uganda.
In a show of support for the Call to Action, 34 organizations have added their logos. Many are working to strengthen the social service workforce in order to prevent family separation:
Maestral International supports systemic, holistic and cross-cutting approaches to addressing violence, exploitation and abuse of children. Maestral is a member of the Changing the Way We Care consortium that includes Catholice Relief Services and Lumos. The initiative will promote the development and strengthening of the social service workforce and case management assessments and referrals based on the particular needs of each child in Guatemala, Kenya, Moldova and Zambia to strengthen families and reduce reliance on residential institutions for children.
Better Care Network believes that a strong social service workforce is critical to meeting the needs of children without adequate family care. The development of a skilled and well-supported social service workforce is particularly important as countries move toward reforming their care systems and work to reduce reliance on residential care, strengthen families, prevent separation and promote family and community-based alternative care options. To help achieve this, BCN and Save the Children have co-facilitated the Tracking Progress Initiative to enable national-level actors to determine the extent to which their state or region has effectively implemented the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children, and the priorities for change still ahead, through a strengths-based diagnostic and learning tool.
SOS Children’s Villages aims to ensure the best care for children and young people in its programmes in partnership with other stakeholders to ensure every child receives quality care and protection in a nurturing family environment. SOS believes a properly skilled, resourced and supported child care workforce is key in ensuring quality care. To increase recognition, remuneration and training in rights-based gender-sensitive training, SOS is collaborating with international and national partners through two projects: Prepare for Leaving Care (2017-2018) and Leaving Care (2018-2020). The projects included development of a set of national policy recommendations on how training for care professionals working with care leavers can be sustained.
TPO Uganda is a national level organization working with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to support dissemination, uptake and programing based on the VACS findings. TPO Uganda in collaboration with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), conducted a comprehensive mapping exercise to identify actors and structures that interact with children at all levels. They built on the sub-county Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s (OVC) Coordination Committee to include representatives from selected informal structures for a community-led service workforce to champion VAC prevention and response.