Notes on radical social work conference

The Conference was sponsored by the students at the School of Social Work at Carlton University. It was billed as the first radical social work conference in Canada.

The first workshop was presented by several people involved in the provision of alternative social services including a crises.counselling and community development service, rape crises centre, distress centre, and a live in house for women and their children who have left their previous home.

They were providing a service which few if any, traditional agencies were willing to take on they operated with non-traditional staff structures they were hampered by lack of funding and felt some pressure to change their operations from UCF when UCF dollars are involved. Each recognized that they were providing band- aide and had limited effect on the political and economic system, but that their work was personally rewarding, necessary, and did give political experience.

The second workshop was presented by people active in the Canadian Organization of Public Housing Tenants, National Anti-Poverty Organization, Committee to Abolish Training Schools, Mother-Led Union and CLSE in Montreal. I found the community people very interesting on a person to person level, but dull in their presentations. They gave historical backgrounds of their organizations and described the pressures their constituents were up against, but they said little about their tactics or struggles for changing the situations.

Sunday morning I attended a workshop sponsored by the Association of Social Service Workers. They reflected on the necessity of workers in the social services to see themselves more as workers and less as professionals. This would help breakdown the barriers between-clients and workers, create a focus for organizing the workers and promote necessary change in the social service system and in the individual agencies. There was quite a bit of enthusiasm for the idea from the group present, and at the time I left discussion was centered on the advisability of forming a National Association of Radical Social Workers.


About mielniczuk

Community, systems, design, collaboration, change, evidence, Intelligent Accountability(c)
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