Racism in Social Work

I’ve just listened to an interesting podcast (The Social Work Community Podcast) entitled Racism in Social Work. Ash, a male south Asian Muslim senior practitioner  in child protection social work and Nana, a Black male child protection team manager and lecturer talk about their experiences with Sharmeen Ziauddin. They explain that Black and Asian social workers experience racism both from some of the client families they work with and from within the profession; and that, while awareness about race within the profession has slightly improved since the Black Lives Matter movement triggered by the death of George Floyd, there is still a long way to go. Ash talks about his experience as a newly qualified social worker from London taking a job in a rural local authority where 95 per cent of the work force were white. He found that his cohort of newly qualified social workers, all of whom were in their ASYE year (Assisted and Supported Year in Employment) were all Black or Asian; but that when individuals from the cohort were exposed to incidents of racism, their managers and colleagues had no idea how to respond.

I wasn’t surprised to learn that there is a ‘glass ceiling’ for Black and Asian social workers wanting to progress within the profession. Senior management tend to be white; and do not reflect the families whom social workers are primarily working with.

Another issue of concern is the fact that mostly social workers are expected to conduct home visits to families alone, even when there is a risk of their being attacked. Nana has started a petition aimed at forcing a debate in parliament about the need for a system of protection for social workers carrying out high risk home visits.

This is a podcast worth listening to.

Racism in social work