The year 2010 marks for Romanian social work 20 years since university level social work education started again. At European level, 2010 is The European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion (European Commission, 2010), two core topics for social work profession. Also, starting 2009, at UN initiative, february 20 is World Social Justice Day (UN, 2007).
In the field of social work, in 2009, it has undergone a large process of consultation for the international definition of social work carried out with support from IFSW and IASSW. Having in mind the tradition and history of social work profession, we could be tempted to consider that a issue of the Review dedicated to social work profession is a sign of its immaturity in a country in transition. However, the interest to define social work’ professional identity are not specific for Romania, being present also in the international debate (Fargion, 2008; Hackett, Domminelli, 2010; Hutchings, Taylor, 2007; Lyons, 2009). The economic crisis questioned the neoliberal ideology which was dominant until recently and called for reconsidering States’ priorities with increased awareness to respond emergent social risks.
Recent developments and challenges for social work at the begin of the new Millenium are presented by Doru Buzducea. The author is underlining the way social work adapted to countinuous changes in the context of globalization as well as the increasing involvement of international organizations, either professional but not only, in the practice of international social work.
Christian Stark’s article is aiming at discussing the challenges raised by neoliberal ideology from the perspective of social work practice and ethics, considering that there is a struggle between neoliberal values and social work values. The author is arguing for creating networks of social workers which could put pressure on decision-makers. One of the challenges for social work is to increase the role of services provided by other actors than the State: privatization of social services is presented by Livius Manea, the article being in line with recent concerns of National College of Social Workers from Romania to turn social work into a liberal/free-practice profession. These concerns are also mentioned in his article by Florian Sălăjeanu, who is trying to present to the community of social workers the activities recently carried out by the College to regulate social work profession.
Preoccupations for constructing a profession in Central and Eastern Europe are presented by Rebecca Davis. Based on her experience in international cooperation projects in the region (including Romania), she is focusing on the role of supervision in this process. Also an international cooperation project is the starting point for the article written by eight authors (A. Barlow, M. Klassen, K. Schwartz, L. Kreitzer S. Lichtmannegger, M. Lacroix, L. McDonald, T. Orjasniemi), which is presenting the lessons learned after a student’ exchange program involving several European countries and Canada. Since the opening for social work education is done, we continue by exploring the challenges of online education with Keith Haley. Ana Rădulescu is revealing new learning opportunities which can contribute to gaining new competences by social workers, while Cosmin Goian is pointing out that the language inconsequentialities of social work in Romania is influencing the profession.
Before turning to specific areas of social work Baghdadi, Lindenau and von Fischer are inviting us to reflect on the role of social work in the process of political decision-making and are asking themselves/us to what extent can social work have an influence on the political factor.
European Commission, Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities-European Year (2010) About the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, disponibil online în ianuarie 2010: http://www.2010againstpoverty.eu/
Fargion, S. (2008) Reflections on social work's identity: International themes in Italian practitioners' representation of social work. International Social Work, 51, 2 206-219.
Hacket, S. & Dominelli, L. (2010) Editorial. International Social Work, 53, 1 5-7.
Hutchings, A.; Taylor, I. (2007) Defining the profession? Exploring an international definition of social work in the China context. Int J Soc Welfare, 16, 382–390.
Lyons, K. (2009) Editorial. International Social Work, 52, 6, 707-712.
United Nations General Assembly (2007) World Day of Social Justice. GA Resolution A/RES/62/10, 19 November 2007. Disponibil online în ianuarie 2010: http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/LTD/N07/604/42/PDF/N0760442.pdf?OpenElement