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

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

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.