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Cristina Martins President of IFSW Europe

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The standards in social work practice meeting human rights as support to guarantee that the child s best interest is a primary consideration in the social workers decisions Cristina Martins President of
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The standards in social work practice meeting human rights as support to guarantee that the child s best interest is a primary consideration in the social workers decisions Cristina Martins President of IFSW Europe The International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) is a global organisation striving for social justice, human rights and social development through the promotion of social work, best practice models and the facilitation of international cooperation IFSW has been granted Special Consultative Status by the United Nations Children s Fund (UNICEF) Social Work and the Rights of the Child IFSW has published a professional training manual on the UN Convention to provide stimulation and guidance to social workers, social work students and educators, as well as colleagues in related fields, who wished to live up to the high ideals of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and to implement them in their work with children (2002) IFSW initiatives, statements, policies on Children. Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children (2002). Children s right to education (2005). The best interests of the child (2009). Guiding Principles for Social Workers Working with Others to Identify and Protect Children from all Forms of Sexual Abuse (2014) Europe is one of the five regional divisions of IFSW IFSW Europe e.v. is a registered legal body, a member of - the Platform of European Social NGOs (Social Platform) - the Fundamental Rights Platform (FRP) - the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) - the European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) - the European Network for Social ACTion (Ensact) - represents the social work profession in the Council of Europe Joint Actions IFSW Europe has been joining our partners in the European Social Platform and other international bodies by making representations about children s rights to the European Council A Joint open letter to the European Council calling for European commitments on children s rights to be prioritised in future common migration and asylum policies (May 2014) Standards in social work practice meeting human rights IFSW Europe published a set of standards that meet Human Rights, making clear what is expected of social workers and their employers in order to meet their obligations that arise from the various international conventions on Human Rights (2010) Social Work is DVD focusing on Social Work and Human Rights It highlights the contribution that social workers make to the well-being of individuals and groups who require support and assistance to overcome the very difficult situations that many citizens face at some time in their life (2011) Professional Experience in a Health Institution Portuguese Institute of Oncology of Porto Pediatric Service The intervention of the Social Worker during hospitalization and consultations Psychosocial support Information and guidance on Rights and Social Resources Collection of data from the anamnesis for the preparation of the Social Diagnosis Ensure and adequate responses to the needs Mobilize and pool resources to promote continuity care Build partnerships with other institutions Advocating for better social policies that promote the well-being and realisation of the Rights of Children with cancer and their families Supporting Families and Children s Team Team: Have the mission of intervening when the physical, mental and social well-being of any child / young user of a health institution is or may be in danger, so that the legal proceedings are taken, closely with the Project for Family and Children Support (PAFAC - Projecto de Apoio à Família e à Criança). The Team receive guidance from Directorate General of Health s Monitoring Commission for the Health Action for Children and Youth at Risk 1 Doctor Coordinator 1 Nurse 1 Social Worker 1 Psychologist 1 Legal expert Law of Protection of Children in Danger 2 - It is considered that the child or young person is in danger when he/she is in one of the following situations: a) Is abandoned or lives left to itself; b) Suffers physical or mental abuse or is a victim of sexual abuse; c) Does not receive the care or affection appropriate to their age and personal situation; d) Is required to do activities or work that are excessive or inappropriate to their age, dignity and personal situation or harmful to the formation and development; e) Is subject, directly or indirectly, to behaviours that seriously affect their safety or their emotional balance; f ) Assumes behaviours or indulges in activities or consumption that seriously affect their health, safety, training, education or development without the parents, the legal representative or whoever has custody of fact, oppose to remove that situation in an appropriate manner. Case 1: Samuel,3 years old acute lymphoblastic leukemia Social, Family, Economic and Housing status: 3 year old child attending nursery 36 year old father, unemployed businessman 35 year old mother, unemployed bank employee Good family and overall support Good housing conditions Had their own transportation to go to the hospital The parents were immigrants in Switzerland, but stayed in Portugal after their son s cancer diagnosis. Their financial situation became unstable and they started relying on their (portuguese) family s support. Problem: The parents are Jehova s Witnesses, so they do not accept blood transfusions. Intervention: - Psychosocial support Case 1: Samuel,3 years old acute lymphoblastic leukemia - Information on the rights and resources - Guidance for economic support - Raise the awareness for safeguarding the rights of the child to all necessary healthcare Response: NAFC (supporting families and children s team) exposes the situation to the Court, requesting an order from the judge to put the child under the Paediatric Department s supervision whenever there is the need for blood transfusions, keeping the responsibilities to the parents onlywhen the child is discharged from the hospital. Result = positive The parents accept this measure, taking the best interest of the child into consideration. Case 2: Graça,15 months old willms tumor Social, Family, Economic and Housing status: 15 month old child, living for 1 year in an Institution after a decision of the Court (taken from the mother due to neglect of care) Good housing conditions Ambulance transportation to go to the hospital Very problematic life history and non existent relationship with the parents. Problem: The treatment of the pathology implied that the child had a referral caregiver that could actively cooperate in the treatments, not only during hospitalization periods, but also at home. Lack of human resources on the Institution to provide this personalized support Intervention: - Psychosocial support Case 2: Graça,15 months old willms tumor - Information on the rights and resources (to the staff of the Institution) - Articulation with the Institution and Social Security to propose a formal caregiver for the child Response: NAF exposes the clinical situation of the child to the Court, suggesting that the child is put on foster care as an alternative to the Institution by expressing the opinion that the involvement of the caregiver with the child and the entire multidisciplinary team of hospital service is essential for the continuation of care/ treatment that the child needs Result = positive Found a caregiver that, after taking care of the child during the treatment period, and because of the emotional ties developed, definitely and formally welcomed the child. Case 3: Carlos,17 years old hodgkin s lymphoma Social, Family, Economic and Housing status: 17 year old boy with the 6th grade, left school 2 years ago. Recently abandoned his mother s house and is currently living with uncles (maternal aunt) and 3 cousins of 14, 10 and 4 years of age. The uncles are scrap workers and he works with them. 43 year old mother, works in the kitchen of an Institution (Holy House of Mercy) and lives with a partner and a 21 year old daughter that is currently pregnant with her mother s partner s baby. 43 year old father, who is absent and has no connection with the son He has 2 other sisters that were adopted as babies Poor housing conditions They have their own transportation to go to the hospital or he goes by ambulance if needed. Problem:. Very problematic life history, with family conflicts, sexual abuse within the family, alcohol abuse, theft, begging habits of the mother. Lack of family support to ensure the young boy s healthcare. Case 3: Carlos,17 years old hodgkin s lymphoma Intervention: - Psychosocial support - Information on the rights and resources - Gathering of data and investigation, in order to develop the social diagnosis and technical advice for an appropriate response - Meeting with the professionals of the service and the community to support the situation and life project Response: - Hospitalization as a protection measure, in order to ensure basich health care over the inadequate support of the family and poor housing conditions - NAFC exposes the situation to the Commission of Protection of Children and Youth at Risk Result = not positive - Lack of a timely intervetion from the Commission of Protection of Children and Youth that led to his hospital discharge as a decision of the hospital s Clinical Director (it was also the young boy s desire) - As he reaches 18 years of age, he is out of the scope of intervention of the Team and of the Commission of Protection of Children and Youth at Risk Social Political Action Advocating for changes in social policies Up Here! Voice Courage in Social Work Safeguard and Protection Thank you!
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