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Social Workers in Disability (SWID) Special Interest Group

The Social Workers in Disability SIG consists of members from a variety of voluntary and statutory settings who work with people affected by disability from across the lifespan including families and carers. We are an active group who welcome the participation and input of new members.

Committee Members

The Social Workers in Disability Committee members during 2020 are:

  • Claire O’Reilly (Chair)
  • Sarah Kavanag (Interim Chair) 
  • Anne O’Loughlin (Secretary)
  • John Ryan
  • Wendy Goulding
  • Brenda Walsh
  • Caitriona Whitty
  • Lorraine Byrne
  • Elaine Hickey
  • Colman Parker
  • Anna Maria Cunningham
  • Eilis Mannion
  • Maura Walsh
  • Karen Savage
  • Mairead Higgins
  • Thelma Greene
  • Cornelia Munteanu

Meetings

SWID has be meeting virtually since the lockdown. SWID members have utilised the IASW’s Zoom platform. We have increased our contact and meetings to enable SWID members to feel supported, share ideas, experiences and discuss the impact of COVID -19 on our role. Members of SWID have advised that this type of platform has enabled them to engage with the SIG again and evident from the meeting, it has increased the number of members attending the meeting. We thank IASW for providing the Zoom platform resource.

The Group met on the following date(s) 2020:

  • 17th January 2020
  • 6th March 2020
  • 24th April 2020 (online)
  • 8th May 2020 (online)
  • 12th June 2020 (online)
  • 17th July 2020 (online)
  • 18th Sept 2020 (online)

Membership

The Social Work in Disability SIG membership numbers for 2018-2019 are:

We have approximately 100 members who are on our mailing list. Of these there are approximately 30 members considered as active members, who attend meetings regularly or on a more ad hoc basis.

Activities / Events for 2020

We are planning our conference for 16th of October called I’m a Child First ... Collaboratively Working to Support Children with Disabilities. This virtual conference will be an occasion for professionals to reflect on the work that we do and how collaboratively we can make positive changes and create better outcomes for children.

The webinar has been designed to capture as many professionals from a variety of disciplines to learn from one another and to draw on the experiences of our speakers. It is hoped that the event can be informal and informative, with time for questions and answers and an online poll during the morning. The aim of the Webinar is to explore and develop our understanding of collaborate work to help children reach their full potential.

This webinar is open to any professionals involved in working with children with disabilities. We are hoping to get all stakeholders i.e. HSE staff, Gardai, Youth Workers, Childcare worker, teachers, SNA’s etc. involved. We would greatly appreciate it if you could spread the word to other professionals (outside of SW) as this will enable us to include as many people as we can on the day

The webinar will take place on Friday, 16th October from 9.30 - 12.30. Booking is available via the IASW website.

Other highlights from the year 2019-2020

  • SWID submitted letters advocating for a national coordinated response to the delivery of education to children with additional needs. These were supported and co-signed by the IASW Chairperson.
  • SWID set up monthly meetings to provide support and a forum for Social Workers in various disability services. Time was allocated in our meetings to discuss and share ideas, plans and strategies throughout Covid-19 period.
  • SWID has had ongoing concerns about the poor career structures and lack of opportunities for Social Workers at all level within the field of disability. Similarly, we are aware of issues occurring with the roll out of Progressing Disability Services, namely the lack of governance and supervision for Social Workers. SWID will continue to monitor and advocate for Social Workers where appropriate.
  • SWID is concerned about the lack of residential placements for children and adults with disability across the country and is actively working on how to move this forward.
  • As 2020 progresses the increasing lack of HSE funding for home care supports is becoming a serious issue for the adults and children with disability that we represent. SWID has been liaising with other IASW SIG’s and service user groups in order to address this in a coherent manner. Work on this issue is ongoing.

New members are always welcome to our meetings.

If you would like further information please contact the SWID secretary:

Anne O’Loughlin - anne.o’loughlin@nrh.ie / 01 2355372 or via the IASW office

Principal Social Worker, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Ave, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin