Empowering social services in child day care centers: social workers’ perspective
Unemployment, poverty, and addictions create a vicious circle of risk where parents are not able to look after themselves and to ensure their children’s basic needs and socialization. Children face various problems: they are characterized by destructive behavior, emotional disorders, low self-esteem, and the lack of social and communication skills. The aim of this research was to reveal the family empowering social services provided in the child day care centers. The object of this research was the empowering social services in the child day care centers. The objectives: 1) to reveal how social workers construct the concept of empowerment in practice; 2) to describe the value of social services provided in child
day care centers for parents’ empowering process; 3) to describe the children’s empowering process in child day care centers based on the social workers’ good practice examples. Qualitative research was carried out in order to reveal the family empowering services. The data was collected by using the method of semi-structured interview. Five social workers
from child day care centers participated in the research. The analysis of the data was based on qualitative data analysis steps distinguished by Krysik and Finn (2010). The relevant categories and subcategories were assigned to the research data, and, in accordance with this data, placed into tables. Then each category was justified by excerpts from
interviews. Later on, all the collected data was interpreted and compared with the results of other researches. The sampling of the research was formed by combining the mixed target and snowball samplings. The data was gathered in March 2017. The data analysis revealed that social workers describe empowerment as love for a child, help for a family
and motivation. The parents’ involvement in a variety of activities and the problem solving process enables them to recognize the children’s problems and their own needs. Gradually, parents learn how to take care of their children; a sense of unity is developed between the parents and their offspring. When children are allowed to be responsible and make
decisions, their independence and creativity is developed. In addition, their self-esteem increases and the learning results improve. The aforementioned aspects help prevent bullying and decrease stigmatization in the society. The empowerment practices showed that children who attend the day care center are able to escape from the circle of social risk.
In accordance with the research data, recommendations are provided for social workers, high schools and researchers who can develop researches in this field of social work.
Keywords: empowerment, families at risk, child day care center.