We strengthen systems that improve health and well-being for children and families facing adversity.
- Through the Alliance’s advocacy and evidence-building initiatives with the key stakeholders, the social service workforce is now better integrated within multiple sectors and initiatives. There is increasing recognition of the key role of this workforce in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; UNICEF is promoting workforce strengthening as a key pillar to achieving their child protection strategy; INSPIRE recognizes the valuable role of the workforce in providing support and services to prevent and respond to violence against children; USAID/PEPFAR have supported data management tools to measure successes of social service systems, including the workforce, and programs for orphans and vulnerable children; and WHO and the Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth are working to better integrate and differentiate the health and social service workforce integral roles in health and social development.
- In an effort to enhance national and community level dialogues and strengthen approaches to care reform processes, the Alliance has published a working paper that explores the topic of social service workforce strengthening as it relates to child care reform drawing from examples in three countries. The Alliance is also supporting several countries in highlighting the importance of the workforce within national policies and supporting national advocacy efforts for care reform and family strengthening.
- The Framework for Strengthening the Social Service Workforce developed by the Alliance and refined at the Social Service Workforce Strengthening Conference in 2010 is now widely considered as best practice in planning, developing and supporting the workforce. It is intended as a guide to support country efforts to strengthen the social service workforce and systems that includes social welfare, child protection, justice, education and healthcare systems, and cultural, legislative, labor market and economic factors that have an impact on all three areas of the framework.
We advocate for workforce-supportive policy reforms.
- 35 organizations have joined us in issuing a ‘Call to Action for Strengthening the Social Service Workforce to Better Protect Children and Achieve the SDGs’. This advocacy resource makes specific country and global level recommendations for strengthening the workforce. In a recent Alliance member survey, 52% of respondents cited using it to advocate nationally. The Alliance is now working to track and document progress toward the actions in the Call to Action.
- 10 current and 8 past Alliance Ambassadors are being supported in developing actions plans to effect policy change at national and regional levels. The Alliance is helping to develop social service workforce strengthening leaders through group convenings to share and innovate strategies. Ambassadors have collaborated with stakeholder groups to draft legislation to support professionalization and recognition of para workers, form social work associations, increase budget allocations from government, engage other sectors, and launch registration and licensing of social workers.
- A new training on how to advocate to government and share common messages with media, particularly on the workforce role in addressing violence against children, is being developed by the Alliance to empower frontline workers with the skills to advocate for their profession. To be piloted in Uganda, it is expected this training will be replicated in other countries and include additional topics to increase the number of workforce advocates.
- In the East Asia and Pacific Region, the Alliance is supporting UNICEF Regional and Country Offices in translating data in advocacy efforts. Utilizing recent workforce mapping data and recommendations, the Alliance is now developing a tool for workforce advocates to seek stakeholder commitments to fulfill country-level recommendations.
We advance knowledge and generate evidence on best practices in workforce strengthening.
- Four Alliance interest groups have increased understanding and support for the workforce through engagement of hundreds of members and other stakeholders in development of new tools. Case management interest group members developed the ‘Core Concepts and Principles of Effective Case Management: Approaches for the Social Service Workforce’ and compiled a compendium of best practice resources. The para professionals interest group developed competencies, functions and principles for several cadres of para professional level workers. An interest group committed to building the evidence base compiled a matrix of existing evidence and made recommendations for future research. A new interest group on advocacy is now gathering resources and assessing needs.
- To continue to increase knowledge of workforce definitions, roles, functions and effective approaches to workforce strengthening, four annual State of the Social Service Workforce Reports have been developed. The reports analyze social service workforce-related trends and lessons learned in more than 30 countries to make recommendations for social service system strengthening. The reports have been cited in research and reports by other organizations, and members are using the data to develop national strengthening strategies, advocate for increased resource allocations, develop new training and curriculums, and increase dialogue among stakeholder groups on integration and collaboration in service design and delivery.
- Through input from workforce mappings and assessments in 40 countries, the Alliance has updated the definition of the social service workforce to provide clarity on who comprises the workforce and the types of varied and important services they provide. This updated definition is now being reflected in the new guidelines from UNICEF on strengthening the child protection workforce as well as a new mapping tool. The Alliance is supporting groups across many regions in contextualizing this definition to influence national registration, licensing, training, remuneration and other workforce-supportive policies.