This week we celebrate the hard work, commitment and accomplishments of social workers during National Social Work Week. Each year the BCGEU’s approximately 2,600 social workers provide services to about more than 150,000 children, youth and their families.
“Social work is demanding and fulfilling, but too often it is also deeply frustrating,” said Doug Kinna, BCGEU vice president social, information and health Component 6. “We can’t talk about the valuable work they do without talking about crushing workloads, staffing shortages, chronic technical problems and constant restructuring. Our social workers do very fine work, under very trying circumstances.”
“Too often social work goes largely unnoticed, which is why it is so important for us to let them know we appreciate social workers’ contribution to our communities and our province,” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU president. “Our social workers also deserve recognition for their enormous efforts to make meaningful improvements to the services they deliver. They played a key role in the BCGEU’s Choose Children campaign. Our union cast a bright spotlight on the chronic problems in the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The campaign was informed by our social workers’ day-to-day frontline expertise. The campaign also provided a roadmap to the future and their efforts brought about important changes.”
Funding for the Ministry of Children and Family Development will increase to allow the hiring of an additional 100 social workers and 30 support staff. This is in addition to the 200 workers MCFD committed to add in its November 2014 announcement, for a total of 330 additional service delivery staff by the end of fiscal 2016/17.
“These staffing increases are significant and will make a difference,” said Kinna. “However, we still need to address the retention problem. We are losing too many skilled social workers to other provinces that pay significantly higher wages.”
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