Australian Social Work
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School Social Work in Australia
School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales Published online: 07 Jun 2012.
To cite this article: Jung-Sook Lee (2012): School Social Work in Australia, Australian Social Work, 65:4, 552-570 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0312407X.2012.675343
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Australian Social Work Vol. 65, No. 4, December 2012, pp. 552Á570
School Social Work in Australia
School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales
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Abstract This study explores the current state of social work services in Australian schools. A total of 65 social workers participated in the survey. The majority of respondents had permanent positions and over half of them were working part time. The number of schools serviced was wide ranging and the median was six schools. The major funding source was state governments, the primary referral sources were school staff, and the primary reasons for referral were behavioural and mental health problems. Respondents reported good support from employers and high levels of work efficacy and satisfaction. A large proportion of their hours were spent on counselling, paperwork, case management, and consultations. The major barriers to their work were lack of time, lack of resources, and lack of recognition given to social work perspectives and roles. Given the paucity of literature, findings from this study are expected to lay a foundation for future studies. Keywords: School Social Work; Social Work in Schools; Student Wellbeing The central aim of this study was to understand the current state of social work services in Australian schools. It explored current employment and working conditions of social workers in schools, described their roles and tasks, and identified problems and barriers they encounter. Education has been a major concern for Australian government and for the public because it is so fundamental to the future of a nation. In a competitive world economy, raising children as competent and work-skilled citizens who can face life challenges is a vital condition for the prosperity of Australia. Furthermore, schools are an important place for the socialisation of children to function as responsible citizens. Thus, high-quality education for all children is a key to the general wellbeing of the Australian society. The significance of high-quality education for all children was echoed in the Educational Goals for Young Australians (Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs, 2008). However, the education system faces ongoing challenges to the effective...