The international literature (Cree, Davis 2007; Adams, Dominelli, Payne 2009; Melville, Harrison 2010; Payne 2011 – in Romanian) confirms the preoccupations with the development of social work research in order to consolidate the knowledge both of theory and practice. As social workers and practitioners with social education background, our goal is to reflect continuously on our role concerning the improvement of living conditions for people in need on the basis of cooperation and solidarity in the whole society. In a world affected by economic crisis the social workers as agents of change have an important role in promoting social equalities while working with limited resources. The increased number of people in need constitutes a challenge for the social workers whose role is to respond by offering proper professional support and advice in order to empower their beneficiaries to overcome difficult situations. On the other hand, the socio-economic evolution of every society draws attention not only to the classic social problems or social groups but also to the contemporary social problems such as ageism, violence in school, child labor or human trafficking.
“Social work is about human beings in their social worlds” (Adams, Dominelli, Payne, 2005, 1) and “a word that expresses these linkages between people and their environments is ‘connectedness’” (Adams, Dominelli, Payne, 2009, 1). Thus the complexity given by multifaceted vulnerable situations experienced by services users requires partnerships between practitioners from different public and private institutions along with interpersonal skills, core practice skills (communication, assessment and intervention) and respect for social values.
At the European Union level, social protection is of general interest, its aim being to provide protection against the risks and needs associated with different social problems or situations. Through the 5 targets for the EU in 2020 (“Europe 2020” – the European Union’s ten-year growth strategy) we meet also the reduction of population at risk of poverty or social exclusion.
At Romanian level the social work profession has developed significantly after a long period under the communist regime when it was not recognized. The economic evolution of Romanian society created the premises of social services development but under the last years of economic crisis the social exclusion became a reality and a challenge for our social work system. Along with other vulnerability due to the lack of education, social deprivation or lack of government involvement in order to respond the social problems of excluded groups, we can argue that Romanian society faces risks and social inequalities which require professional interventions adapted to the current realities (see for instance Preda (ed.) 2009, Buzducea (ed.) 2010, Neamţu (ed.) 2011, Durnescu (ed.) 2011, Buzducea (ed.) 2013, which analyzed the needs of various social groups at national level).
The Social Work Review strives to provide a space for rigorous debate, theory and practice development aimed to contribute to a deeper understanding of the complexity of our field of interest. The current issue brings to the fore papers from various areas of social work (e.g. child and family protection, foster care, HIV/AIDS, drug consumption, probation service, immigrants integration, human trafficking)including interdisciplinary approaches (health and social work, psychology and social work) aimed to reveal its complexities at individual, family, group and community interventions. The response rate to this issue was much higher than we had anticipated the evidence being the large number of submitted articles. All the papers included in this issue showed deep understanding of social work process while trying to promote and develop good practices in service packages provisioning on behalf of service users, underlying the specific nature of the social work profession.
To conclude, we are confident that all articles included in this issue bring further significant knowledge to the social work field.
Adams, R., Dominelli, L., Payne, M. (eds.) (2005) Social Work Futures: Crossing Boundaries, Transforming Practice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Adams, R., Dominelli, L., Payne, M. (eds.) (2009) Social Work: Themes, Issues and Critical Debates. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Buzducea, D. (ed.) (2010) Asistenţa socială a grupurilor de risc. [Social Work of Groups in Risk]. Iaşi: Polirom.
Buzducea, D. (ed.) (2013) Economia socială a grupurilor vulnerabile. [Social Economy of vulnerable groups] Iaşi: Polirom.
Cree, V., Davis, A. (2007) Social Work: Voices from the inside, Routledge: London and New York.
Durnescu (ed.) (2011) Probatiunea. Teorii, legislatie si practica. [Probation. Theories, Legislation and Practice]. Iași: Polirom.
European Commission (2010) Europe 2020. A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Brussels. COM (2010) 2020 final.
Melville, R., Harrison, G. (2010) Rethinking Social Work in a Global World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Neamţu, G. (ed.) (2011) Tratat de asistenţă socială [Social Work Treatise]. Iaşi: Polirom.
Preda, M. (ed.) (2009) Riscuri şi inechităţi sociale în România. [Risks and Social Inequalities in Romania]. Iaşi: Polirom.