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Brave New World for Social Work

21 November 2019

Social work in Aotearoa New Zealand has entered a pivotal period, providing unprecedented opportunities for collaboration and the enhancement of practice across the sector.

As the professional body for social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand, ANZASW welcomes these changes and will continue to lead from the front to build on the momentum for progress.

“2019 has been a catalytic year, in which we’ve seen, among other things, the passage of legislation requiring mandatory registration; the publication of a new, cutting edge Code of Ethics by ANZASW and the adoption of new best practice standards at Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children,” Lucy Sandford-Reed, Chief Executive of the Association, noted today.

“At such a moment, practitioners, employers, professional associations and unions should come together to deepen the integrity and competence of our profession. At the end of the day, all the stakeholders want the same thing: safe social workers practicing at the highest standards,” she added.

OT review a reminder to come together and step up

A landmark practice review published by Oranga Tamariki, Ministry for Children, this month is a timely reminder of the need for the profession as a whole to “be the change we wish to see,” ANZASW President Sharyn Roberts said.

"ANZASW supports the call for Oranga Tamariki to step up and create the type of Child Protection service that is expected by the people of Aotearoa New Zealand and proclaimed in the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989, especially in the section “Duties of chief executive in relation to Treaty of Waitangi (Tiriti o Waitangi)”; to see actions, not just hear or read words.

“While we commend the CEO and the Minister for taking responsibility for the Ministry's shortcomings, we want to see the actions that back up the words. It has been over 30 years since the release of the groundbreaking report, Pūao-te-Āta-tū and we are still having the conversation about Māori children being over-represented in care. It is time for us all 'to put our money where our mouth is and step up,” the President observed.

Employers also need to be involved

The Association will continue to lead in this space by supporting members through advocacy, advice and CPD services. We will also engage in advocacy at the government, collegial and public level.

“However, employers also have a responsibility to ensure that the organisational environment is one that supports competent, ethical social work, where any gaps in practice are identified and closed quickly,” Chief Executive Sandford-Reed said.

ANZASW looks forward to working with peers and colleagues to ensure that practice standards evolve to deliver the best results for all.

ENDS

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