Social workers want politics to be left out of social work

The content originally appeared on: News Americas Now

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox urged social worker to remain steadfast and focussed on their jobs. –

SOCIAL WORKERS called for less outside influence in assessments and more measures to tackle burnout as the world celebrated World Social Worker Day on Friday.

A social worker who did not wish to be named told Newsday she believes social work can be the solution for most of TT’s issues if it is applied properly.

“Political will often times gets in the way of the work that can be done. Because in this country we have a bad habit of believing more in how it will look rather than how it is. You find that a lot of times there is an agenda that gives us a time frame that is narrow-minded and short-sighted to the depth of the problem that you’re trying to have an impact on.”

She said the two challenges that social workers face are burnout and ignorance.

Noting that social workers have a natural inclination to fix a problem, when it may not be a problem that is easily fixed, and hence could become overwhelmed, she added that because many social workers suffer from burnout, they tend to get defensive about the decisions they make.

“Where there is burnout, most of the time it is because there is a lack of resources and many other problems.

“Social workers need to have that level of therapy. They need to seek personal therapy and personal time so they could stay grounded.”

“Assessment is also a serious issue,” she added. “Many communities that we are in are high-crime areas, where there is a lot of incest and these things.

“But we are not actually getting in there and finding out why these problems are being created so we can address them based on truth. What we are doing instead is taking assumptions from other countries and trying to apply it here.”

Other social workers on the Children’s Authority’s Facebook page explained why they entered into the field.

“Social work helps me advocate for people and help them improve their lives,” said Lisa Francois St Bernard.

Joanne Hall added, “Social work is the promotion of social change. I love to see when I provide a client with resources and they are able to become agents for social change in their own lives.”

The Ministry of Social Development also celebrated the day with an interfaith service at Government Campus, Port of Spain.

Social Development Minister Donna Cox encouraged social workers to remain steadfast and focused, assuring them that their efforts are not in vain.

Their work might be “challenging and even discouraging at times,” she said, but was “ultimately meaningful and worthwhile.”

Cox urged them: “Continue to see yourselves as change agents and key players in leading inclusive social transformation in our country. Now more than ever there is a need for social workers to take different approaches even as you are guided by the principles of social work. Let us add to these values with self-awareness, empathy and compassion.”