The Social Service Workforce as Related to Child Protection in Southeast Europe: A Regional Overview

 The Social Service Workforce as Related to Child Protection in Southeast Europe: A Regional Overview

An effective child protection system requires a committed social service workforce with relevant competencies and mandates (Olofsson et al., 2010).

Recently the Child Protection Hub for South East Europe, released the results from a regional overview of the social service workforce as related to child protection in Southeast Europe. This regional overview, which presents information on the social service workforce - with a focus on those engaged in the child protection system – in 8 countries, represents part of a global research movement to map the social service workforce in diverse regions, with the ultimate aim to capture unique elements specific to certain countries, while also identifying common challenges and trends across regions.

Specifically, the main objectives of the study were to:

  • lay out the legislative and infrastructural framework for social service work in southeast Europe;
  • consider the education, training, and professional development opportunities (or lack thereof) for social service workers in the region; and
  • explore how these education and training opportunities are aligned or misaligned with the realities of social service practice.

The study provides insight into the complex realities facing social service workers in child protection. Drawing on this insight, the authors formulate recommendations divided into different levels including: government institutions, academic institutions, professional associations, and NGO and civil society. These recommendations may involve multiple levels of engagement at different levels in order to be effectively implemented.

The results of the study offer invaluable insights which can be used by multiple stakeholders including national governments, professional social service worker associations, NGOs and civil society agencies and educational institutions who train social workers in order to improve the child protection system and benefit the children, families, and communities who are in direct contact with that system.