About this blog

This blog is all about the voice of social work students in Aotearoa. These are the views of  a group of final year social work students at the University of Auckland. This year there were two assignments: the first to write a post on some of the big social work issues of the moment, including: new policies in child protection and youth services, mental health resource and service issues, mis(use) and use of ‘big data’, abuse in state care and social investment.  Continue reading

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Self-care, an overlooked core competency in paediatric social work

By Lucy Warner

Contrary to popular belief, not all social workers in New Zealand work for Oranga Tamariki, nor are they all “middle-aged, grey haired woman in bright coloured but comfortable clothes, wearing a Māori pendant and comfortable shoes” (Staniforth, Fouché & Beddoe, 2014). Continue reading

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Reflecting on the ‘work’ of health social work

By Jane T

Social work has a long and respected history within health care settings (Giles, 2013). Within New Zealand, health social work has a sixty year history, marked by a number of key changes (Beddoe & Deeney, 2012). Social work in health care, which takes place in hospital and other health settings, aims to facilitate good health and support patients and their families to resolve the social and psychological issues they face related to illness (Dziegiellewski, 2013). Continue reading

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Meeting at the crossroads: community social work and preventative practice

By Riley Pearson

Social work is a unique discipline which allows practitioners to be involved in the lives of the community in a multitude of ways. While key fields include Child Protection and Health, we will explore Community Social Work, in relation to child development and parenting education. Continue reading

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The mental health social worker

By Sarah Daniel

Mental health is a topic of great debate in the current climate, and, if we’re honest, it has been for many years. As a budding social worker interested in engaging in the field of mental health, what exactly does this desired future profession entail? Continue reading

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What could social workers do in China for mental health?

By Ke

Mental health issue is more than a medical problem. Newton (1988) sets three factors that contributes to mental disorder. These are predisposing or vulnerability factor (i.e. genetic components and previous mental health history of individual and family), social causative factor (e.g. social exclusion, unemployed, racism, bias), and psychological factor (e.g. loss, threats, highly critical relationship, low self-esteem) (Golightley, 2014). Continue reading

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Health social work: No day the same

By Jennz

It was Day 1 and I was entering the hospital as a student social worker, in acute allied health.  This is the area of practice where I had always envisaged myself working.  What was in store for me and would my expectations exceed the reality?   I needn’t have worried; what I found was a fast-paced, stimulating, environment, where no day is ever the same.  Within the hospital, the social worker considers the needs of the patient from a multidimensional point of view, by assessing their medical, social environment and emotional resources. (Beder, 2006).  Social workers undertake assessment, assist in goal setting, provide some counselling and make referrals to community services and ongoing resources (Giles, 2013).  Continue reading

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Serving those ignored by the State: Social work with internally displaced persons

By Noella Edwards

My path to a social work degree has in part been influenced by experiences of being, for several years of my life, an internally displaced person (IDP) in my country, India. An identity based political movement in my hometown, Darjeeling resulted in people of a particular political affiliation, including my family, being forced to flee out of our homes and from everything that was familiar. Continue reading

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Older and wiser? Social work with older adults

By Faith Gatsby

When we think of front line social work practice, the first thing that immediately comes to mind is the important work that is carried out on behalf of vulnerable children and their families. I want to however draw on a population group within our current society that is equally as vulnerable and is often left forgotten. The field of practice that I am referring to is the role of a social worker with older adultsContinue reading

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Care and Protection – giving voice back to our whānau and tamariki

by The Social Worker

 I recognise that the core role of the Care and Protection (C&P) social worker is helping children and young people to feel safe and to be safe in their family. The New Zealand C&P is deeply rooted in the British model which focus on evaluating risk and keeping children safe from potential abuse and neglect. In contrast, European countries pay more attention to keeping children within the family of origin and providing families with support through community-based activities and programmes (Parton, 2009). To be frank, the Anglophone system that New Zealand adopts, which is adversarial and rights based, does not tally with legislation and practice or stated values of New Zealand indigenous people. Quite the opposite, this system keeps snuffing out Maori voices or at the very least, keep it on the side. Continue reading

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