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Minister Celebrates National Social Workers Day

Embargoed 24th September 2008

Minister Celebrates National Social Workers Day

New Zealand will celebrate National Social Workers Day on Wednesday 24th September. The day acknowledges the contribution of Social Workers and raises the visibility of the profession, building professional pride and professional identity.

"Social Workers have a challenging role that requires dedication, compassion, intellectual and analytical skills and personal commitment," said Ruth Dyson, Minister for Social Development.

"Social workers make a huge difference to the lives of individuals, families and communities and today, we recognise their profession," said Ms Dyson.

"They work in the health, education and non-government sectors as well as in Child, Youth and Family making a positive difference to many families.

In 2003, the Labour-led government introduced the Social Worker Registration Act to support high standards of practice and professional conduct among Social Workers. Over 2,000 Social Workers are now registered. This high uptake demonstrates a commitment to accountability and an aspiration to raise national standards," said Ms Dyson.

"Other new initiatives such as Social Workers in Schools have made professional assistance now accessible to children and families in an educational environment.

"As these professionals are often the first port of call for vulnerable families in our communities, the government has made it a priority to develop strong partnerships between the community sector and government agencies. One step in this process is Pathway to Partnership which will deliver full funding for essential services over the next four years.

"I ask New Zealanders to take the time and say a huge thank you to these hardworking professionals that contribute so much to our country", said Ms Dyson.

Editors Notes

In the 2006 census:
- there were 13,170 social workers, up by 64% from 8,048 social workers in 1996
- 75% were female, 25% were Maori and 9% were Pacific
- 40% worked in the community care services industry, 13% worked in the government administration industry, and 12% worked in the other health services industry

Child, Youth and Family
- CYF employ over 1,200 field social workers
- CYF has registered more than 1,100 social workers since introduction of the Social Workers Registration Act 2003
- There is now a Children’s Charter to explain children’s rights, and a Service Charter to outline the service the organisation wants to provide
- This year a new complaints process has been launched

Social Workers Registration Board
- The Social Workers Registration Board was established in 2003
- The Board provides public assurance that registered social workers meet professional standards of competent practice, are accountable for the way in which they practise and that they undertake ongoing professional development.
- It actively promotes registration, high standards of practice and professional conduct among registered Social Workers.

Social work in the community and voluntary sector
- Pathway to Partnership will build the capacity and capability of community organisations through sustainable funding arrangements.
- The investment will increase until every essential service is fully funded in 2012.
- The sustainable funding model will give providers better ability to plan ahead, attract and retain qualified staff, improve service effectiveness and achieve good outcomes for New Zealand families.


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