Speaking at the event in the Ballymascanlon House Hotel, Dundalk, Carolyn Ewart, National Director of the British Association of Social Workers Northern Ireland (BASW NI) said:
“Social workers perform a unique and varied, yet often under-recognised role, supporting people from birth through to the end of life. We work with different groups with very diverse needs. While we face the many challenges presented by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, it is vital, now more than ever, that social workers have a shared professional identity underpinning the important role they play in supporting the most vulnerable people in our society. This event is a key step in solidifying this identity.”
‘Promoting the Importance of Human Relationships’ was the theme of this year’s World Social Work Day. Organised by the British Association of Social Workers (BASW NI) and jointly supported by the Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) it was further supported by the two regulators north and south, the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC) and CORU.
The chief social work officers from the Department of Health, NI and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, RoI opened the event. The day’s programme also contained a series of informal workshops, all aimed at discussing professionalism in the social work.
Patricia Higgins, CEO of the Northern Ireland Social Care Council said of the event:
“Celebrating the profession of social work and the positive impact that social workers have on people’s lives every day is vitally important. This has been a unique day of learning and celebration, bringing together social workers from the North and South of Ireland to share their experience and affirm their strong professional identity.
Speaking about the all island partnership approach, Aine McGurk, Chair of IASW, said:
“At this moment, the social work profession on the island of Ireland faces unique and demanding challenges. As the clock counts down to Brexit, it is essential that long-established arrangements enabling social workers from the Republic of Ireland to practice in Northern Ireland, and vice-versa, continue unimpeded. The two Governments must also ensure cross-border cooperation for services, including kinship care for Looked After Children, is not adversely affected”.