Life Without Barriers Essay Example

Introduction

Life without Barriers is a not for profit organization whose focus is to provide support to people to enable them overcome or remove barriers in their lives. It provides social services and has a reputation for supporting clients with complex needs. The organization helps people to address their needs and achieve their goals. The organization works with more than 300 communities in Australia providing support to children, families, old people, people with disabilities and those with mental illness (Life without Barriers 2015a, 5).

Key Aspects of the Contexts that shape the work of the Organization

The work done by Life without Barriers is based on two key aspects namely the provision of child care and the provision of support services. These two aspects are coined from the historical, social, cultural, economic and political contexts of which shape the work of the organization. Australia has 43,000 children living away from their homes because they are unable to live with their parents for safety reasons. Part of this group of children and young people have been neglected by their parents and, without the help of social services, would be stranded on the streets. Social issues such as family violence and economic factors such as poverty have increased the number of children needing care (Life without Barriers 2015a, 5).

Due to the rise in the number of children needing care services, organizations such as Life without Barriers are established to deal with the issue. According to the National Disability Insurance Agency, approximately 18% of people live with a disability. There is also the likelihood that 20% of all people will experience some form of mental illness at one point in their lives. The increase in the aging population in Australia means that support services are necessary to ensure quality access to healthcare. The number of people with disabilities, the rising cases of people with mental disabilities and the increase in the number of the aging population all contribute to the need for social services (Life without Barriers 2015a, 6).

Impact of the Contexts on Workers and Clients

The social, historical, cultural, economic and political contexts have an influence on the work of the organization, its clients and workers. The historical context of Life without Barriers is an important pillar of its work. History holds an important position in Australian social work and policy. The understanding of the history of social work in Australia enables the social workers and other stakeholders in Life without Barriers to be innovative in their approach to the practice. Once the workers and stakeholders expand their ways of practice to ensure efficiency, the beneficiaries are the clients (McMahon 2011, 1).

The understanding of the social context of Life without Barriers is important because it provides the background of the needs that are addressed by social workers. This is also the case for the economic context due to issues of poverty and unemployment. Social and economic injustices in the society are the reason for most of the problems that are addressed by Life without Barriers and other organizations. These contexts enable the organization to reach out to people with certain needs for care and support such as children, families and persons with disabilities (Life without Barriers 2015b, 11). The political context of the organization relates to the relationship with the government. This is important due to the funding of its activities which benefits the clients. Without the funds, most clients miss out on the opportunities. The cultural context focuses on the provision of specialized support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

Social Justice and Human Rights

Social justice and human rights are important pillars of social work. Social work addresses social injustices such as poverty, lack of equal opportunities, discrimination and subjugation. Social workers are also considered to be human rights workers because they help people to realize their rights and also help communities to claim their collective rights (Australian Human Rights Commission 2008, 1).

The two main aspects addressed by Life without Barriers is the provision of child care and support services to various groups of people. The organization provides support to people with disabilities and the aging population in such a way that they have access to quality healthcare, shelter, food and other basic needs. The organization also ensures that the children who have been neglected by their parents or cannot be left under the custody of their parents for safety reasons are placed in foster care (Colby et al. 2012, 6). These measures ensure that these groups of people live to get an adequate standard of living, have education especially the children and have access to healthcare. This is in line with the fundamental human rights provided under international treaties.

Life without Barriers also addresses social injustices affecting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities regarding their land. The organization acknowledges that these Indigenous communities are the Traditional owners and custodians of all Australian land, water and community. The organization is involved in promoting the respect of the cultures and customs of these communities. It addresses any injustices committed against these Indigenous communities either by the government or any other group of people.

Challenges to Social Work within the Organization

The historical, social, cultural, economic and political contexts have an influence on the activities of Life without Barriers. However, the social and economic contexts can present challenges to organizations offering social work services such as Life without Barriers. The social context addresses the factors that exist in the society that either promote efficiency in social work services or impede the activities of social workers. The provision of child care by Life without Barriers is as a result of factors such as child neglect and family violence. This means that an increase in such issues in the society would overstretch the activities of Life without Barriers. The increase of social problems increases the number of children and families that need support (Catholic Social Services Australia 2008, 18). There is also the increasing number of the aging population which also requires the support of the organization. Such increase in clients makes it difficult to help all the people due to limitations of resources for the organization.

The economic context can also bring challenges to the activities of Life without Barriers. The rise in economic injustices in the society leads to increase in vulnerable people. The rise in poverty levels and the high rate of unemployment all contribute to an increase in the population of families and young people that require support. Factors such as the financial crisis in 2008 also stretch the work of Life without Barriers. Such a factor leads to unemployment and slows income growth hence, increasing the demand for social services (Catholic Social Services Australia 2008, 19).

Personal Reflection

The five contexts that have an influence on social work must be understood by all social workers and stakeholders involved in the provision of social services. The discussion provided above shows that the historical, social, cultural, economic and political context have both positive and negative impacts on social work. The ability to integrate these contexts in the reasoning and practice of a social work ensures that there is efficiency in the provision of social services. Based on the site visit to the Life without Barriers it is clear that these contexts are an important part of the provision of social services.

The social context of social work is important because it determines the work and activities of an organization that provides social services. As a social worker, I would ensure that my practice focuses on the factors that contribute to the need for social services. Drug abuse has risen over the years and has led to poverty due to loss of jobs. In situations where the drug user has a family, the children suffer since, in critical cases, the drug user wastes all the money on drugs and neglects the children and other dependents. I would ensure that my approach becomes a preventative strategy for factors such as family violence and drug abuse to prevent cases of child neglect. Such an approach ensures that issues such as child neglect are reduced hence, promoting the observance of the rights of children in the society. I would also engage the cultural context I a way that helps me understand some of the historical, cultural injustices. This will help me to prevent future cultural injustices for example relating to land and other issues (Australian Association of Social Workers 2013, 7).

The historical context of social work is important because it provides an understanding of social work in the society. I would engage the historical context to ensure that I can expand the scope of practice beyond what was done by the social workers early in history. There is a need for social workers to be innovative to address emerging issues such as the increase in drug abuse and child delinquency. It is also important to understand the reason for the formation of the organization to ensure that the objectives are met (Friedman 2010, 9).

A social worker who understands how the economy affects the provision of social services is in a position to help the community avoid negative effects of poor economic growth. the involvement in education and awareness to teach communities to be self-independent would be one of my goals. There is a need for people to stop relying on employment and focus on self-employment to promote independence. Such a move will eradicate economic inequality. As a social worker, I would also be involved in political activities such in the making of law and policies that relate to social work. Such an effort is important to ensure that more laws are enacted to promote the work of organizations such as Life without Barriers. This includes funding and a proper legal framework.

References

Australian Association of Social Workers 2013, Practice standards, Available at: http://sydney.edu.au/education_social_work/social_work_field_ed/resources/AASW-practice-standards.pdf [Accessed 25 March 2016]

Australian Human Rights Commission 2008, The role of social workers as human rights workers with indigenous people and communities, Available at: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/role-social-workers-human-rights-workers-indigenous-people-and-communities [Accessed 25 March 2016]

Catholic Social Services Australia 2008, The impact of the global financial crisis on social services in Australia, Available at: http://www.cssa.org.au/storage/2008-11-impact-of-gfc-on-social-services.pdf [Accessed 25 March 2016]

Colby I, Jacobs C & Shank B 2012, Advanced social work practice in clinical social work, Council on Social Work Education.

Friedman M 2010, Social work and social justice: The challenge of political pluralism, Columbia University School of Social Work.

Life Without Barriers 2015a, Annual Report 2015, Available at:

http://www.lwb.org.au/ [Accessed 25 March 2016]

Life Without Barriers 2015b, Becoming a life without barriers carer, Available at: http://www.lwb.org.au/assets/10365-LWB-Becoming-a-LWB-Carer-WEB.pdf [Accessed 25 March 2016]

McMahon A 2011, Redefining the beginnings of social work in Australia, Available at:
http://researchonline.jcu.edu.au/1684/1/1684_McMahon_2003.pdf [Accessed 25 March 2016]