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Social Policy & Advocacy 2020

Social Policy and Advocacy

NSW Branch is committed to engaging with critical policy, advocacy and social justice issues that impact NSW member social workers and their clients.The Branch has a strong voice on matters of social inclusion, social justice, human rights and issues that impact upon the quality of life of all Australians. We invite our members to contribute to the development of submissions and to participate in a range of policy and advocacy actions throughout the year. If you would like to get involved, please contact the NSW Branch at aasw.nsw@aasw.asn.au.

NSW COERCIVE CONTROL SUBMISSION

Our submission has been published at
https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/ladocs/submissions/70619/Submission%20-%20129.pdf

NSW CHILD PROTECTION SUBMISSION

Our submission has been published at https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/ladocs/submissions/69812/Submission%2014%20-%20AASW%20NSW.pdf

AASW - EDUCATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT

WOULD PUT STUDENTS AT RISK

The Australian Association of Social Workers, NSW Branch President, Jack Whitney is calling on the New South Wales Government to reject the Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020, as it undermines the professional service delivery of social workers in schools and will put vulnerable students at risk.

Mr Whitney said the Bill’s intent to silence the professional practice social workers in schools, is undermining the mental wellbeing of students and their families.

“Having social workers in schools is a well-established specialist area of social work practice and an example of the unique contribution that social work can make to the mental wellbeing of young people. Social workers have been employed in Australian schools for more than 65 years and in UK and US schools for more than a century.”

“Our members have told us that students who are struggling with their sexuality and gender identities often seek counselling services at school and are referred to specialist services if required. This service model plays a key component in reducing the soaring youth suicidal rate in NSW and is recommended by the recent publication of Productivity Commission’s report ‘The Social and Economic Benefits of Improving Mental Health’.”

“If the Bill is passed, this jeopardises the professional practice of social workers in schools and further marginalises LGBTIQ students and families,” he said.

Mr Whitney said that among mental health professions, the person-in-environment approach of social workers in schools is unique.

“The person-in-environment approach maintains a dual focus on the student and on the school environment, in order to facilitate successful learning outcomes through the relief of distress, the removal of barriers or inequities, and the development of a safe and inclusive school and community.”

“We are concerned that the passage of this Bill can create public health concerns, considering that LGBTIQ students are more vulnerable to youth suicide. Therefore, we highly recommend the legislation be rejected,” he said.

The Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) is the professional body representing more than 13,000 social workers throughout Australia. The AASW sets the benchmark for professional education and practice in social work and have a strong voice on matters of social inclusion, social justice, and human rights and issues that impact on the quality of life of all Australians.

AASW CALLS FOR REFORMS TO NSW CHILD PROTECTION

Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) have called for a systemic overhaul of the New South Wales child protection and social services systems to better to protect vulnerable children and families.

The AASW submission for the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the child protection and social service systems includes 32 recommendations that would address the fundamental problems across the child protection and the social services system.

These recommendations include strengthening the child protection workforce, adopting a comprehensive approach to wrap services around vulnerable families, as well as ensuring primary intervention and prevention programs are adequately funded.

AASW Chief Executive Officer Cindy Smith said the child protection system and family support services in NSW need to promote the best interest of a child across the entire social service system.

“Families come into the child protection and social services system, due to a complex set of circumstances and it is vital that they receive supports from highly trained and skilled professionals.”

“The social services system needs to embody the human rights values and approach of the social work profession, so that it leads to better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and their families.”

“The statutory registration of social workers is one of the AASW recommendations that we would like to see adopted in NSW. It is a significant public safety measure to reduce the risks to vulnerable people by assuring education, practice and professional development standards across the NSW child protection and social services system.”

“Importantly the South Australian government will vote on the statutory registration of social workers in February 2021. The report to the Social Work Registration Bill 2018 (SA) has demonstrated the potential for every other state, including NSW, to legislate a social work registration scheme,” she said.

NSW Branch President Jack Whitney said child protection is incredibly complex work, with some of the most vulnerable children and families in the community.

“That is why greater focus needs to be given to how the workforce is recruited, managed, and adequately funded to ensure that a child’s best interest is in the forefront of every worker in the system. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in NSW.”

‘An inconsistent and isolated workforce, alongside their risk averse approach to child protection, contributes to a significant failure to wrap support services around vulnerable children and their families in NSW,” he said.

Review of the New South Wales School Curriculum - AASW NSW Branch Submission (30 October 2020)

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/lcdocs/submissions/69451/0079%20Australian%20Association%20of%20Social%20Workers.pdf

Submission to Joint Select Committee on the Anti-Discrimination Amendment (Religious Freedoms and Equality) Bill2020 (18 August 2020)

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/ladocs/submissions/68866/Submission%2062%20-%20Australian%20Association%20of%20Social%20Workers%20(AASW).pdf


Past Actions

Submission regarding The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019

AASW NSW made a submission to the NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues regarding the Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill 2019.

Read our submission (August 2019)

Contact us

NSW Branch

P: 03 9320 1000 or 1800 630 124 (toll free alternative)

For information or support please contact the NSW branch office on the above number or by email at aasw.nsw@aasw.asn.au

Website: https://www.aasw.asn.au/new-south-wales

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AASW - Australian Association of Social Workers