Traditional and new approaches to childcare and social work with at-risk families in Poland
The implementation of new legislation in the welfare system, and childcare system in Poland, which has been included in social services since 2000, determined a new paradigm connected with replacing the responsibility for a child to family and to professional residential, non-residential, as well as a local social support system. Due to new legal regulations related to organization, task and functions of childcare institutions, e.g., residential intervention centres, children’s homes, foster families – should undertake cooperation between all components of socio-educational environment, which are involved in child development and the process of her/his inclusion. It means that a care institution, more than in the past, should become an integral element of the environment, where the child is growing up and where it is located approaching full socialization of the child taken under its care. New solutions in the childcare system are also amenable to family reintegration including even dysfunctional families in process of care, and underline the role of social childcare institutions in creating better conditions for respecting individual cultural, ethnic and religious needs for maintaining his/her own traditions and habits of child, family and environment. These new paradigms based on humanistic approaches in social work with children and families have found their application not only in the reform of social care system, but also in the concept of education of social workers. The paper will try to analyze some issues related to the childcare system and social work with families at risk in Poland, giving some examples of changes in the field of social work practice with children and families in the prospect of the new concepts and standards in the Polish Welfare System.
Keywords: childcare system, family support, new forms and models of social work with family.