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Home > Arhiva > 2021 > Numar: 3 > Editorial


  • Anca Mihai (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, 9 Schitu Măgureanu Street, district 5, Bucharest, Romania, E-mail:
  • Georgiana-Cristina Rentea (Anton) (University of Bucharest, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Bd. Schitu Măgureanu, No. 9, Romania E-mail:

In general, social workers need to adjust to the current social reality and support individuals, families, communities and other forms of groups to make the best decisions for an uncertain future. In social work risk literature, risk as generative of change and opportunities is mostly absent (Stanford, 2010).

Risk is present in both personal and professional life. As social workers, we are managing risk and professional dilemmas in our professional practice, i.e., conducting assessments and making difficult decisions. Moreover, we have to comply with professional values, organisational systems and to meet professional standards while supporting service users who manifest various behaviours, emotions and vulnerabilities.

In social work, practitioners are very focused on not harming service users' lives through their decisions, although at times they need to make good decisions without having all the information they need (Munro, 2019). They are taking risks in order to be an effective advocate for their clients (Stanford, 2010). Risk also has implications on social workers' own safety. Social workers use their bodies and senses to assess risks during home visits which sometimes imply visiting neighbourhoods regarded as dangerous or unsanitary buildings or dealing with unexpected violence from service users or their family etc. (Ferguson, 2010). Field visits are nevertheless inherent to the profession, heightening understanding and improving decision making (Ferguson, 2010).

Webb (2006) argues that social work shifted its role from focusing on needs, met at a post-war welfare state, to responding to risk, specific to neoliberalism. Thus, at an organisational level we meet what is called “defence practice” that social workers adopt in order to manage the uncertainty in practice. For instance, in the UK, the Munro Report (2010, 6) states that in child protection the practitioners prefer “following rules and being compliant” because it “can appear less risky than carrying the personal responsibility for exercising judgment”.
For this edition of the Social Work Review we have invited social work academics, practitioners and students to communicate their understanding of the risk in social work practice focusing on how it is managed within the profession.
In his article Remus Runcan attempts to propose a definition both of social exclusion and risk of social exclusion after he analysed the definition of these concepts in the existing literature arguing that there is no consensus over a generally-accepted definition of social exclusion.
In the area of social work health services, Claudia Bacter brings to the fore the results of a qualitative study highlighting the risks that practitioners are facing while working with adults with mental and psychological disabilities; the author is also trying to reveal the way in which social workers and their organizations implemented risk management systems.

Oana-Elena Rădăcină conducted a study in a rural community from Sibiu County aimed to identify the needs, social problems and risks faced from the perspective of vulnerable dwellers and local practitioners. She proposes a series of social services in order to prevent the risks and to respond to the social needs at community level.
Patricia Runcan describes the approach to risks in the revised Law no. 292 of 2011 on social work; her article provides an overview of the mentions of risks in the law of social work, defining the main concepts identified. The author emphasises the need to use public institutions in order to reduce risks.

Carmen Marici, Daniela Muntele and Marius Marici explore the mediation role of parental involvement in children’s friendships development between parental emotional intelligence and children friendships. The authors show that while parental emotional intelligence has no significant effect on the number of children friendships, parental involvement has a positive significant effect on the number of friendships children create.

Cosmin Ghețău and Maria Roth present in their article various qualitative research techniques through which children can be engaged in research with technology. The authors argue that using toys, devices, pictures and videos may enhance participation and transform children into partners who can support data collection. Ethical concerns could be raised, although involving children in research is important as long as they use the digital products which are being researched (Spitzer, 2020, 83) argues in favour of involving children in research concerning technology in order to make evidence based decisions).

The following article, authored by Cosmina Barac and Rebeca Popescu, presents the findings of a qualitative study on the perception of young people from the child protection system concerning their perception of their own life before and during the pandemic. Among other issues revealed by the conducted study, the article underlined those factors that pandemic hindered the life of those youngsters and possible responses to those in terms of social services availability.
Nikki Khanna, Stephen J. Cutler and Roxana-Andreea Marin present the difference in access to decent housing of Roma and Romanians in Romania. Using a sample (containing 10% of the census) of the Romanian 2011 Census, the authors used three types of variables to differentiate between the majority and the Roma minority. The types of variables are ethnicity, place of residence (rural-urban) and housing conditions (access to public infrastructure like electricity, piped water, sewage, indoor plumbing, heating, fuel used for cooking and a kitchen).
Andreea-Marinela Cretu's article takes us to the area of illicit drug use among young people presenting a study on perception of youngsters on a hypothetical drug policy liberalisation and the influence on their consumption willingness.
Daniela Gaba reflects on the emergent neuroentrepreneurship approach and the neurofeedback methods for training brain activity with a special look at their possible applications to individual risk management. She highlighted in her article that both neuroentrepreneurship and neurofeedback could offer us promising outlooks on the current possibilities of enhancing individual responses to risk, with possible applications in a range of human activity fields.

The articles presented in this number of the Social Work Review address risks from various angles, highlighting how risk is present in social work. Increasing awareness and knowledge on risks doesn’t necessarily mean that risk will be eliminated. However, understanding, measuring and evaluating risk can support social workers in reducing vulnerabilities and increasing resilience so that when risks materialise, individuals, families, groups and communities can successfully overcome the negative consequences.

Ferguson, H. (2010). ‘Walks, Home Visits and Atmospheres: Risk and the Everyday Practices and Mobilities of Social Work and Child Protection’, The British Journal of Social Work, 40, 4, 1100-1117. doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcq015.
Munro, E. (2010). The Munro Review of Child Protection: Part One: A Systems Analysis, London, The Stationery Office.
Munro, E. (2019). ‘Decision-making under uncertainty in child protection: Creating a just and learning culture’, Child & Family Social Work. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 24, 1, 123-130. doi:
Stanford, S. (2010). ‘“Speaking back” to fear: Responding to the moral dilemmas of risk in social work practice’, British Journal of Social Work, 40, 4, 1065-1080.
Spitzer, M. (2020). Demența digitală. [Digital dementia] București: Humanitas.
Webb, S. A. (2006). Social Work in a Risk Society, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.