CFAB’s International Child Protection Lecture: The Decolonisation of Social Work

We are delighted to announce CFAB's annual International Child Protection (ICP) lecture is being held on 15th of November 2022 on 'The Decolonisation of Social Work'.

We are delighted to announce that our annual International Child Protection (ICP) lecture is now confirmed for Tuesday the 15th of November 2022 at 9:30am and will be held online. You can book your tickets here.

CFAB will be joined by our guest speaker, Mthoko Ngobese-Sampson from the University of West London. The 90 minute session will focus on cultural humility, unconscious bias and the decolonisation of social work. We will be covering:

  • How social work has been shaped and influenced
  • Knowledge and power
  • The impact of unconscious bias and dominance Western ideals
  • Exploring other cultures and family structures.
  • Decolonising social work in practice
  • Child rearing practices and child family conferencing

Decolonisation, Deinstitutionalisation, Anti-oppressive practice, Disruption of power, and Cultural Competency are all themes with which social workers in the UK must be familiar.  But while knowledge and practice in this area grows, the evidence reveals a lack of understanding of how to work respectfully and cooperatively with social service systems in other countries.  Less than 1% of Looked After Children in England and Wales have family overseas assessed as potential carers – yet just over a third of children in England and Wales have at least one non-British parent. While many children services teams (rightly) ensure cultural humility and competency in the workforce, few are prepared to cooperate with foreign social service practitioners.  Government guidance is available for working with European countries but not Commonwealth countries.  Why?

As the UK representative of the International Social Service (ISS) network and an accredited Commonwealth organisation, we are well-positioned to share some of the errors we have witnessed and to facilitate discussion about how practice can improve. We look forward to coming together to discuss and reflect on how social work has been shaped and influenced, how unconscious bias, dominant Western ideals and discourses have been presented as the correct practise, limiting the exploration of other cultures and family structures, particularly beyond international borders. We will create a genuinely open dialogue to ensure equality and diversity in teaching , CFAB’s  sharing relevant experiences in international social work practice, and considering how this translates to best practice of all social work professionals.

With the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2022 fast approaching, we are excited to hear more diverse voices and ideas which can lead to the transformation of systems and to build on the Commonwealth’s friendship and co-operation to better protect children across the world.  

We recently announced the formation of a Commonwealth Children’s Interest Group, which will be working to bring forward children’s rights and protections on the international Commonwealth stage. Through this group, we are determined to represent diverse groups from across the Commonwealth, to act as a forum for partnership between Commonwealth organisations and to research and advocate for policies to improve the welfare and safety of children.  

About our speakers

Mthoko Ngobese - Sampson

Mthoko Sampson is currently a senior lecturer at the University of West London. She qualified as a Social Worker in South Africa in 1997, first working with the political party, the ANC, as the Political Development Officer, then as a National Gender Coordinator for the South African Municipal Workers' Union (SAMWU) and with various non-governmental organisations including the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA). She has held different social work positions in South Africa including working with the elderly, working with young offenders and generic frontline social work. Since 2004 Mthoko has held different positions in Family Group Conferencing (FGC) as a senior FGC Coordinator, FGC Tutor and setting up and managing a FGC service. She began working as a social work practice educator, tutor and supervisor for different universities on a freelance basis since2009. From October 2013 to March 2017 Mthoko has held different social work positions including Crisis Intervention & Homeless 16 – 17 Team, Child Protection and Homeless 16 – 17 and Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Team. Mthoko continues to be involved in FGC research, dissertation supervision, personal tutoring and lecturing in social work.

David Jones

David is a qualified social worker with local, national and international senior management and service inspection experience in social services. He was Deputy Director (Children) at Ofsted, leaving in 2010. He was Chair of Leicester LSCB (2010-16) and Chair of the Association of LSCB Chairs (2014-16). He has substantial experience working with Parliament, Ministers, government officials and NGOs. David is a former Honorary President of the International Federation of Social Workers(2006-2010), was a member of the Board of the British Association of Social Workers (2017-2021) and Chair of the BASW International Committee (2017-2021). He is a Board Member of the Commonwealth Organisation for Social Work, a Governor of Northamptonshire Healthcare Foundation Trust and recently founded a new Commonwealth Children’s Interest Group.

Michael Nwoye

Michael is an Intercountry-Social Worker at Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB). He obtained a Diploma in Law from the University of Jos, Nigeria in 2005 and a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Social Administration from the same University in 2012. Michael has a Master’s Degree in Public Health from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria. He practised as a licensed social worker in Nigeria where he worked on inter-country child protection cases, which included completing assessments for CFAB on behalf of UK local authorities and UK courts from 2015 - 2019. He subsequently moved to the UK and joined CFAB in September 2019. Michael is also a registered social worker in the UK and provides expert advice on CFAB’s inter-country social work cases, manages a number of referred cases and is responsible for Membership and Training at CFAB.