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Social Work

On-line version ISSN 2312-7198
Print version ISSN 0037-8054

Social work (Stellenbosch. Online) vol.57 n.4 Stellenbosch  2021 






Prof Sulina Green

Department of Social Work, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa



The topics in this issue of Social Work/Maatskaplike Werk take stock of the innovative use of measurement instruments, visual methods and assessment tools for investigations, and also cover research on the inclusion of a rights-based approach in social work and the effectiveness of programmes for employees and foster children.

The first article shares the reflections of social work academics on how they traversed the higher education space during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and makes recommendations for reimagining and reframing learning and teaching for student-institution relationships, boundaries and support.

The next three articles deal with the use of measurement instruments, visual methods and assessment tools for investigations in social work. One article concentrates on the development and use of an instrument for measuring the educational supervision needs of a group of child protection social workers in a provincial government Department of Social Development, and concludes that the results of the study could be used to address deficiencies in that province and also further afield. Another article uses visual methods to explore the internal interactional processes between non-human systems and young adults raised by alcohol-abusing caregivers in Lesotho, and emphasises the need for a greater focus by social workers on young people's interactions with non-human systems for resilience building. A third article presents the child assessment tool (CAT) and discusses how it creates a child-friendly environment that facilitates effective communication with, and participation of, children during social work assessments.

The common theme of the following pair of articles is the inclusion of a rights-based approach in social work practice. The first article examines how social workers could apply the principles of ubuntu to re-inscribe homeless people's human rights. The second article explores the Vatsonga people's perceptions of what constitutes child protection rights and concludes that to understand child rights in Africa, African people should be given the opportunity to contribute to the construction of an indigenised and contextualised perspective on child rights.

The last two articles investigate the effectiveness of social service programmes for employees in the workplace and children in foster care. The first article reports on the under-utilisation of internal Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) services in the South African Police Services (SAPS) in a selected provincial district, and recommends that the format and rendering of these programmes should be reviewed and adjusted to encourage and enhance their utilisation. The second article reveals that some foster children are not protected in foster care and finds that they are being neglected and abused on account of co-existing and interrelated factors associated with foster parents and the foster care system itself, and suggests that these findings can assist social workers in taking steps to prevent this situation from arising.

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