Recently, I talked with some social workers who are graduated from our university and working as social workers in New Zealand. From the conversation, I can find that the high frequency word is funding. Likewise, Döbl and Ross (2013) pointed out that ‘funding matters are of great importance for social services in general and are often a daily reality to be negotiated. This is particularly true during difficult economic times where funding becomes highly restricted’. The problem is that funding limit will lead to the quality of social services becoming low. For example, one of the social workers told me that he has to do many things in his organization due to the people lack. It means that the organization cannot offer enough social workers to work there because of shortage of funding. This situation will increase the workload of social workers. Furthermore, clients would not get the perfected and satisfied services. We still can see some examples from Thinking beyond the contract: A journey to collaborative community social work to find out some problems of social service due to funding limit.
We just want to find suitable ways to get enough social services funding in social work perspectives. One of the suitable ways of getting enough funding for social services from government or relevant organization is that social workers do some meaningful research. The results of the research can be seemed as the evidence to let relevant departments increase their awareness of this problem. Once they see this evidence, they will understand how important funding can have a big function in some areas which they are not noticed before. Döbl and Ross (2013) also discussed the ways of social workers to get the funding to base their own organizational situation and their resources, see the examples from Thinking beyond the contract: A journey to collaborative community social work
Another way of getting funding is ‘creating funding’. It means that we can use the resources which we already have to use them in an appropriate way to create profile which can be used as the funding to enhance the quality of social services. For example, we can launch a café bar in a community which can provide food for clients but the food need to be paid. The staff of the café bar can be volunteers who have been trained, or retired people in the community who are free and keen to do something to serve people. The profile from the café bar can be used as the funding to enhance the social services and help social work to get more chances and resources to serve the community. We can see that all the resources from the community and it will ‘create funding’ suitable used. However, all the activities are not belonging to commercial property. We can see some examples of ‘creating funding’ from the Hong Kong social worker practice model: Social work in Hong Kong: from professionalization to ‘re-professionalization’ .
The government and policy makers should take their responsibility to build our society and enhance the quality of social services. It is true that social workers have the responsibility to let authorities know the voice of people and let them do some changes as well as empower people. However, government and policy makers also need to take an action to consider the funding problems in social services as well as social work areas. It is also vital for them to manage the funding in an effective way to deal with the problems of poverty, social justice and social services, see for example the Mike O’Brien’s blog on the rewrite of the Social Security legislation (O’Brien, 2016).
Döbl, S., & Ross, A. (2013). Thinking beyond the contract: A journey to collaborative community social work. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 25(1), 43.
Lai Wing Hoi, F., & Chan Kam Tong, T. (2009). Social work in Hong Kong: from professionalization to ‘re-professionalization’. China Journal of Social Work, 2(2), 95-108 Abstract here
O’Brien, M. (2016). Poverty, Social Work and The Social Security Legislation Rewrite Bill. Retrieved from: http://www.reimaginingsocialwork.nz/2016/05/poverty-social-work-and-the-social-security-legislation-rewrite-bill/