Mirjana BorenovićPersonal assistance and user experience - Pg. 301 - 317Keywords: disability, independent living, evaluation, empathy, user representatives, disabled
In the 2019, a new Personal Assistance Act came into force with certain amendments and corrections. According to it, the individual’s need for personal assistance is evaluated by the expert commission which produces a shared opinion about the contents and extent of personal assistance. The paper deals with the issue of inclusion and evaluation of user experience in the expert commissions. According to the law and current practice, people with disabilities can participate in the expert commissions as social work experts or as user representatives, if the applicant wishes to have a representative in his/her commission. The research done in 2019 proves that the involvement of people with disabilities in the expert commissions is essential for the success of the assessment, as it reduces the possibility of biased assessment based on prejudices against people with disabilities and the lack of understanding of their real abilities. Due to a similar life experience and knowledge of the field, a trusting relationship is established more quickly, which enables a sufficiently precise insight into the life of the individual so that a realistic assessment of the individual’s need for personal assistance can be made.
Jolanda Stevanović, Katja Ronchi, Aljana Grčko GradišarThe most frequent social problems of people after lower limb amputation at the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia – Soča - Pg. 319 - 329Keywords: social work, rehabilitation, disability rights, team work, biopsychosocial approach, multidisciplinary team
The paper is based on a research study about social work with people after lower limb amputation at the University Rehabilitation Institute of the Republic of Slovenia – Soča, Department for rehabilitation of patients after amputation, where a social worker is a member of a multidisciplinary medicine rehabilitation team. It is the first social work study in Slovenia addressing the most frequent social problems of people after lower limb amputation. The results indicate that the majority of individuals after lower limb amputation and their relatives are poorly informed about the possibilities for help at home and the rights arising from disability, as well as with the possibilities and procedures of obtaining the rights pertaining to social, health and disability insurance. Individuals were facing difficulties in various areas, such as care and support at home, social inclusion into the community, car driving, socioeconomic status and administrative procedures.
Katarina Cesar, Branko Gabrovec, Liljana RihterActive aging from the perspective of older people - Pg. 331 - 346Keywords: demographic change, population aging, health, quality aging
The challenge of a long-lived society is how to provide such support and help that we will be able to age as healthily and independently as possible. The article shows what are the important factors of quality aging, with special emphasis on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and within this, sports and recreational activity and social networks. A quantitative study on a non-randomized convenience sample of 209 people over the age of 65 conducted by a survey found that almost all surveyed older people estimate that they can maintain a healthy lifestyle and that their lives are most affected by age. Almost half of them are engaged in exercise three times a week or more, but more frequent activity is not associated with better health. More than half have three or more people available to whom they can turn for help, and they also better assess their health. However, self-assessment of health is not related to the frequency of socializing. The more educated are more likely to believe that they can influence their health through their lifestyle. Familiarity with activities and events for a healthy lifestyle, however, is weak. To promote a healthy lifestyle, measures are needed at all levels – micro, mezzo and macro.
Nina PlešecCooperation of school counselling service with parents of children with special needs - Pg. 347 - 358Keywords: social work in school, individualised programme, placement procedure, school counselling, participation of children, participation of parents
The paper examines working with children with special needs in regular primary school and focuses on the problem of lack of professional support that parents receive during the procedure of determining their children’s special educational needs. It describes the role of school counselling service and the role of parents in the processes of cooperation and the creation of an individualised programme for a child with special needs. The aim of the research, which was conducted for the empirical part of a BA thesis, was to obtain, through interviews, the perspective of social workers who are working in school counselling service and the aspect of parents about the whole procedure of determining special educational needs. But above all, to highlight the experience of parents on the way to obtaining additional professional assistance. Results obtained through interviews with social workers indicate that social workers have noticed that parents have some prejudices and fears related to labelling their child. Parents consider that greater cooperation with is needed with school counselling service. The findings of research show that in the future bigger attention should be given to the formation and the implementation of individualised programmes in primary schools and their professional work with parents and children with special needs, rather than to the procedure of determining their children’s educational needs.
Katja Verbovšek ZabukovecRole of social work during the transition of young people with special needs into the workforce - Pg. 359 - 372Keywords: active employment policy, occupational rehabilitation, social inclusion, unemployment, disabled
Today's youth progressively face decisions that affect their future employment, confronting major obstacles, especially youth with certain disabilities, which leads to receiving the status of a child with special needs and later the status of a disabled person. Employment has an important societal and psychological function as it enables social and economic independence. The number of changes in this field has pushed employment seekers to fight unemployment and flexible forms of employment. Regarding the search of a solution to a complex unemployment problem of youth with special needs, social workers can be included as a support pillar, co-creating the preparation process for the market for gainful employment together with the young person in transition. Such social work is creative, works through dialogue and is solution-oriented, using social work approaches to encourage the user to take an active role in finding a profession and a workplace where they could demonstrate their knowledge. During this interaction a network of employers is formed, which engages in the process of employing the people with disabilities, and offers them opportunities to gain work experience in a genuine work environment. Such employers are socially responsible and at the same time entitled to subsidies and rewards for the employment of people with disabilities.
Alenka Gril, Mojca ŠemeRole of social work in extreme circumstances - Pg. 201 - 218Keywords: disasters, Covid-19, vulnerable groups, community resilience, social work methods, shared trauma.
Disasters such as natural disasters, environmental pollution, armed conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic, affect the population pushing individual communities or entire societies in a crisis and state of emergency. More or less coordinated measures are used to restrain danger, mitigate or eliminate risks and restore stable conditions in society, in order to enable the normalization of everyday life as soon as possible. In addition to other protection and rescue services, social work plays an important role in helping and supporting people in disasters – in particular the vulnerable individuals, families, groups or whole communities. The article presents a review of scientific and professional literature on social work in eliminating the psychosocial and societal consequences of various types of disasters. Effective approaches and methods of social work in helping and supporting people and communities in emergencies are presented, especially in the current Covid-19 pandemic. Special attention is also paid to provision of support for the social workers, who secure psychosocial help and support to the people affected in disasters.
Ana M. SobočanEthical social work practice in times of the pandemic - Pg. 219 - 231Keywords: ethics, ethical dilemmas, covid-19, values, ethical decision-making, guidelines.
Social work, a profession steeped in ethical dilemmas, faced great challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic as it was confronted with new forms of work, intensifying hardships, lack of material and human resources, etc. This was also reported by the participants of the international research, which is briefly presented in this article. In the research, six fields were identified that were central to the research participants in relation to ethical challenges during the pandemic. Based on the findings of this research, ethical guidelines are presented – for individual practitioners, as well as for collective professional orientations, support for the organizations in which social workers practice, and for recognition of the profession of social work. The paper also includes a brief presentation of a simple heuristic for dealing with ethical dilemmas that can serve as a reminder to think about the processes of seeking ethical solutions. The author concludes with a call for strengthening the ethical character of the profession at individual, organizational and collective levels.
Nina Mešl, Vesna LeskošekFunctioning of social work centres during the first and second wave of Covid-19 epidemic - Pg. 233 - 251Keywords: extreme circumstances, professional autonomy, service users, leadership, crisis management, social workers.
Problems caused by the Covid-19 epidemic are not only health-related, but stretch to multiple levels of social and private life. Social work should play an important role in extreme circumstances and contribute to creating appropriate responses to new social situations. Results of »Social work in time of Covid-19« research, carried out from March 2020 till April 2021 using mixed methods of data collection, show that social work didn't play a visible role in designing anti-Corona measures and that social consequences of governmental measures were overlooked. Social work centres in Slovenia were not ready for a major natural disaster and didn't have appropriate practices in store for dealing with extreme circumstances. Based on analysis of data from the research, and considering scientific framework for doing social work in extreme situations, meaningful guidelines for operating social services in time of Covid-19 epidemic can be formed. Mainly, professional autonomy should be respected and made possible. Leadership style should be horizontal enabling connection and self-organisation of the employed as this increases availability of services to users as well as satisfaction of the employed. The research shows that those social work centres that functioned according to this guideline, were able to conduct their work more openly for service users. As a consequance, more proactive and direct social work with people was possible.
Tadeja Kodele, Klavdija Kustec, Tamara Rape ŽibernaField placement at the Faculty of Social Work during extreme circumstances: experiences of students and mentors during the first wave of Covid-19 epidemic - Pg. 253 - 271Keywords: practical training, mentoring, satisfaction, pandemic, mixed methodology.
Practical training is an important part of social work education. During the covid-19 pandemic, measures to contain the spread of the virus required a number of adjustments (cooperation with users remotely, reducing practice hours etc.) that created new challenges for students and mentors. In the article, the experience of conducting practical training for social work in Slovenia during the first wave of the covid-19 epidemic is presented from the perspective of mentors and students. The results of the research show that the stakeholders have different levels of satisfaction with the implementation of the practice in changed circumstances. Students' challenges were mainly related to the inability to collaborate with users, and the additional burden of adapting the study process, and mentors' challenges were related to how to provide quality mentoring and facilitate the expected experience under such circumstances. Due to the changed situation, students acquired several new skills, both in terms of content and the use of information and communication technology. The findings of the research also show that the support of mentors (from the Faculty of Social Work and field placements) is crucial for students to face the challenges in practice as it equips them with the knowledge of how to respond to challenges.
Cigur Ghaderi, Kristin Sonnenberg, Sigrid Graumann, Luqman Saleh Karim, Ingrid Daniels, Ekaterina TikhomirovaSocial changes and challenges in (post)pandemic times of social professions - Pg. 291 - 297
Darja Zaviršek, Sonja BezjakEthics as a tool against deconstruction of social work - Pg. 99 - 100
Julia WatkinsWelcome address to the opening of the 7th social work congress in Slovenia - Pg. 101 - 103
Ana M. SobočanEthical dilemmas and challenges to humanism in contemporary social work - Pg. 105 - 120Keywords: ethics, neoliberalism, risk, corporativism, welfare state, critical thinking.
Social work is permeated with ethical dilemmas. These also arise from the conflict between humanistic principles and the ethical imperatives of social work with current orientations in social policy and macroeconomic processes. From this point of view, various elements and factors of the neoliberal structure are also relevant for understanding modern social work practices characterized by deregulation, deprofessionalization, privatization, introduction of market principles into services, etc. In this way, social work loses its capacity to analyze and change the systemic, collective and individual conditions that organize and determine our lives. The notion of risk replaces the notion of needs, individual blame replaces the imperative of solidarity, and so on. As the results of research with social workers in Slovenia and foreign literature show, resistance to the demoralizing situation in the profession does exist. Social work needs to resume its advocacy, critical, radical stance, and with the help of critical reflection and other methods defend its mandate for human rights and social justice.
Darja Zaviršek, Sonja BezjakGreen social work and environmental justice in the case of water and hydropower - Pg. 121 - 133Keywords: green social work, hydroelectric power, environmental disasters, Southeast Europe, environmental justice, Kruščica.
Green social work emphasizes that humans and the natural environment (taking into account flora and fauna) should not be separated and that a holistic understanding of human and natural structures is necessary. The goal of green social work is to develop social work practices that promote human-nature interdependence, redistributive justice, and is critical to new social inequalities. Environmental disasters impact people unequally and affect those who are most economically vulnerable more severely; this is also reflected in people's health and mental health outcomes. The article presents an analytical example of environmental justice and environmental grief concerning the water resources and the use of hydropower plants. Despite the latter being understood as “green energy”, the article emphasizes the need to consider studies that see hydropower plants as a cause of environmental degradation. As green social work mobilizes communities and individuals to resist new inequalities, the article focuses on Southeast Europe, where there is much local resistance to the construction of new hydropower plants. The case from Bosnia and Herzegovina is described in detail, where the “brave women of Kruščica” successfully stopped the interests of local and international investors and corporations from building hydropower plants in the local area and strengthened community solidarity. This is a powerful story for understanding green social work.
Srečo DragošIdeology and structural violence - Pg. 135 - 152Keywords: social policy, national character, fascism, National Socialism, civil society.
Unlike ordinary, known, sudden and individual violence, structural violence is more difficult to notice because it is often – by both actors and victims – reduced to unsystematic and sporadic events. The mechanisms of reduction (of causes, consequences) in structural violence are similar to those in ideological thinking, which is discussed in the first part of this article. The other two parts of the paper are empirical. They are intended for the analysis of ideological reductions in the field of social policy in Slovenia, producing the typical effects of structural violence. The target is not just marginalized groups (although they are the most affected), but also the culture of the whole society in terms of the characteristics summarized in the (romantic) expression »Slovenian national character«. The European comparison shows that the Slovene national character is the most problematic in terms of values regarding the attitude towards oneself and in relation to the authorities. When this trait (of culture) coincides with intolerance of others, with authoritarian government, with prevailing radical views on changing society, and with negative trends in social policy, we get an explosive mix.
Shulamit RamonAttending to political conflict in social work today and in the near future: Focus on European social work - Pg. 153 - 166Keywords: migration, illiberal state, authoritarianism, welfare systems, refugees, asylum seekers.
This paper is aimed at looking at how social workers in Europe tackle the inevitable political issues embedded in their work as intermediaries between political authorities (governments and local authorities) and social work clients affected by political conflict. The notion that social work can be a-political is rejected from the outset. The outcomes of armed political conflict for the populations involved, as well as for social workers who are citizens in these countries, and who remain in their country of origin, are briefly looked at. The migration wave of 2015–2017 and its aftermath is used as the key example with which to explore further the issue of clash between social work values and those of the majority of the European member states governments. Key changes taking place since 1980s in political ideologies of these states, including the issues of nationalism alongside neoliberalism and imposed changes in the welfare state which reveal going back to pre 2nd World War perception of poor, disabled, and destitute people are examined. The impact of these changes on attitudes towards refugees, asylum seekers and migrants are investigated. Some key examples of social workers attempting to change the worsening situation for their clients are given. The paper ends in considering the options for social workers wishing to follow the values of social work in their collective and individual practice.
Jelka ZornViolent borders, securitization, and criminalization of solidarity - Pg. 167 - 180Keywords: migration, refugees, autonomy, pushback, social work, activism.
Autonomy of social work is undermined by securitization, which is a form of structural violence against migrants and refugees. Police pushbacks at the European borders are violation of international standards and the right to have rights. In such racist social environment, groups and individuals, who show solidarity with migrants, are also criminalised and threatened. Authorities consider solidarity a crime. The author combines research methods of observance participation and auto-ethnography. These are applied to search the position of social work in order not to reproduce inequalities and violence, but on the contrary, to conceptualize and work in line with professional values.
Hubert HöllmüllerAn Austrian social work project in Western Sahara - Pg. 181 - 186
Sara Pistotnik, Tanja BudaDarja Zaviršek, Natalija Djoković, Laura Radešič, Katerina Meden, Katja Đogić, Maruša Kožman (2019): Romske družine: priročnik za razumevanje etične prakse v socialnem delu in drugih pomagajočih poklicih v podporo slovenskim Rominjam in Romom - Pg. 191 - 195
Lucija KlunTo exclude by including: transformed rasisms of modern educational and social care practices for »inclusion« of the Roma - Pg. 3 - 17Keywords: structural violence, asimilation, inclusion, discrimination, inequality, antirasism.
The Roma in Europe have been targets of violence, punishment, exclusion and patologisation for centuries, but modern, enlightened urge to re-educate was supposed to »help« them to get rid of assigned inferiority, abandon their problematic behaviours and get assimilated. The author proves that modern programmes for incusion are, despite their humanistic flair and obligation to minority rights protection, in accordance with previous structural violence. In most cases, benevolent »inclusion« means social, cognitive, and language assimilation, but for purpuses of multiculturalism the Roma are allowed to retain some exotised cultural characteristics. Such an interpretation paints the Roma as a people whose only problem is not being progressive enough – they are subjected to all the persecution and attempts at »inclusion« only because their point of development is incompatible with the European civilisation. Unreflected »inclusion« of the Roma, mostly by means of educational and social care apparatus, produces new stages of exclusion, discrimination and rasist treatment, keeping the border between Us and Them intact. If re-education and inclusion attempts fail, now the Roma are to blame. Despite the fact that inclusion of the Roma has officially become an imperative, the author points to disputable supranational and national strategies and guidelines on inclusion, and portray them as just a new disguise of an old exclusion.
Živa Humer“It's best to have me under a father”: experiences of gay fathers with implementing their parental rights and child care - Pg. 19 - 35Keywords: fatherhood, caring masculinities, gays, families, discrimination.
In the context of involved fatherhood, we focus in this article on parental stories and experiences of gay fathers in caring for children. Based on an analysis of four interviews with gay fathers, their experiences of fatherhood and fathering, child care, and parenting rights are presented, which show the inequalities and discrimination they’re faced with. Gay fathers' narratives of care practices point to parenting and childcare practices as a key identity point in their lives. Through primary parenting, involvement in the child's life and childcare practices, gay fathers are expanding involved fatherhood and co-create a model of caring masculinities based on intimacy, care practices, relationships and reciprocity.
Eva JambrekChildren's participation in divorce mediation under the Family Code: from concept to implementation - Pg. 37 - 54Keywords: child, involvement, divorce, dispute resolution, family mediation, child\'s voice.
The article analyses the role of a child in divorce mediation through disciplinary integration of the theoretical concepts of mediation, social work and family law. Despite its informal nature, the mediation process shall ensure a comparable protection level of children's right to participation as children can expect from formal family law proceedings. In Slovenia, an important step towards consolidating the position of children in mediation was achieved in 2017 with the adoption of the Family Code, which enables a mediatior to include a child in mediation. The participation of children in mediation pursues several goals: it ensures a child's right to express views freely, enables consultation with a child about their experiences of family separation and supports the empowerment of a child by a trusted person. The article presents a comprehensive concept of child inclusive mediation and its implementation, taking into account the Slovenian normative regulation of mediation and children's participatory rights.
Gaja Černe, Liljana RihterSupport and help for people with anorexia: positive and negative aspects of pro-ana websites - Pg. 55 - 67Keywords: eating disorders, internet, website support groups, social work.
Individuals suffering from eating disorders often turn to virtual communities for help and support, as these are often more accessible than social workers. In social work the so-called pro-ana websites are poorly known. In the paper, findings on the beneficial and harmful effects of pro-ana websites are presented, together with their implications for social work. A qualitative online survey on a non-random convenience sample of 20 pro-ana website users is described. The main function of pro-ana websites is to provide users with the opportunity to anonymously obtain information, receive guidance and emotional support. However, the sense of community and inclusion can also have negative effects, as some pro-ana websites encourage eating disorders. It is, therefore, important that we, as social workers, understand what attracts users to these websites and identify which user's needs are met quicker and easilier through them. This way we can offer appropriate help and support when we meet the users.
Kristina UrhComparison between the processes of national and international adoptions in Slovenia and Croatia - Pg. 69 - 79Keywords: centres for social work, children\'s rights, reproductive rights, abortion, anti-racism, adopters.
A research on social workers with experience in intra- and intercountry adoption procedures in the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia is presented. The purpose of the research was to show the differences and similarities between the two procedures in both countries, to relate to women's reproductive rights, to show the latest statistics, to review the perspective of children and potential adopters on the procedure and, above all, to come up with proposals on how to work more effectively in the field of adoptions.