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A child from a special care centre in Cape Town celebrating international kite day. In South Africa mental health services are not a priority. Epa/Nic Bothma

South Africa isn’t managing mental illness, particularly for the poor

While the global health community has made mental healthcare a priority, South Africa is not following suite. The impact is felt most acutely by poor people suffering from mental health disorders.
Social workers can successfully work with most families that find themselves in trouble without taking their children away. Nadezhda1906/Flickr

Child protection: how to keep vulnerable kids with their families

After a long period of expansion in the number of children living in out-of-home care, most modern child protection systems around the world have been labouring to prevent such placements. Instead, they’re…
Working out what’s going on isn’t as easy as it looks. Social worker by Shutterstock

Social workers should be paid and trained like doctors

Social workers deal with messy, complex and ambiguous situations where off-the-peg solutions are often irrelevant. Take a mother who wants to feed a hungry baby, but her fridge is empty because she can’t…
Government is looking for a new ‘officer class’ to run privatised social services. John Giles / PA.

Creeping privatisation leaves social work fighting for its soul

Social work is at a crossroads. As the next election cycle begins, the country’s social workers are caught between two completely different visions of their profession. One is based on the ideal of a democratic…
Former Haringay director Sharon Shoesmith was awarded a six-figure sum for unfair dismissal. PA/Dominic Lipinski

Blame game rippling through social work fails kids at risk

Child protection social workers appear in the media for all the wrong reasons. Most of the time, after a child abuse inquiry, they’re blamed for not doing enough or for acting too hastily and removing…

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