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Ethnicity and Social Care A Model for Change. Overview n Recent trends in immigration n Policy issues n Current responses to immigrant’s needs n Resulting.

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Presentation on theme: "Ethnicity and Social Care A Model for Change. Overview n Recent trends in immigration n Policy issues n Current responses to immigrant’s needs n Resulting."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ethnicity and Social Care A Model for Change

2 Overview n Recent trends in immigration n Policy issues n Current responses to immigrant’s needs n Resulting challenge for the social care profession n Key concepts informing positive change n Ethnicity n Racism n Institutional oppression n Proposed model for strategic change

3 Background n Rapid increase of immigration to Ireland n Definition and experience of ‘Irish Society’ is being challenged…and changed n Unprecedented and increasing perception of ‘difference’ n Recognition of ‘difference’ raises ethical questions and practical implications for the social care profession

4 Emerging trends n Upsurge of individuals and minority groups entering Ireland as refugees or asylum seekers n applications n 2004 (January to June) - 2,118 applications Statistics compiled by the Irish Refugee Council (2004)

5 Policy Issues n Statistical increase has been accompanied by economic and social challenges to provide services to a culturally and ethnically diverse population n Agencies are appropriating existing services n As in the ‘Irish’ community, ethnic minority groups have members who are disabled, elderly, homeless, and socially challenged n The social care profession must inform its practice with theoretical and skill-based experience in cultural diversity

6 Challenges Facing the Social Care Profession 1. To provide adequate and appropriate care for national and non-national service users 2. Over-stretched and under-resourced care services are congested with vulnerable and dependent service users… some of whom have little English and unfamiliar cultural practices 3. ‘Difference does not give a license to dilute our legal responsibility or social obligations 4. Confront misperceptions and discriminating allegations

7 Relevant Concepts A response to these policy issues and challenges merits an exploration of three key concepts A response to these policy issues and challenges merits an exploration of three key concepts n Ethnicity n Racism n Oppression

8 Ethnicity n Ethnicity is linked with identity and difference n Ireland has been classified as a mono- cultural society with social institutions re- enforcing ‘sameness’ n Ethnic and other minority communities have been socially stratified (i.e. ranked) and organised in a subordinate fashion...being allowed at the very most to become Irish sub- cultures

9 Racism n Evidence in Ireland of beliefs (or an action based on beliefs) that one racial category is considered superior or inferior to another racial category n Individuals or groups considered different experience deliberate or unintentional social disadvantage

10 Oppression n A structure of hierarchical controls and inequality in society n One group systematically dominates another by means of interrelated social practices and systems n Oppression is not a random affair…it is predictable n We can confidently predict the kind of experience an individual or group will encounter…regardless of which member is involved n Oppression is often camouflaged and without intent n It operates within socially approved and authorised structures n It is sometimes difficult to ‘see’ or ‘feel’ n It may be recognised but viewed as unalterable

11 Relationship of Key Concepts to Social Care Although individual care workers may not consciously participate in discriminative or oppressive behaviour, existing frameworks, programmes, and regimes support its functioning and continuation Although individual care workers may not consciously participate in discriminative or oppressive behaviour, existing frameworks, programmes, and regimes support its functioning and continuation

12 Irish Social Care at the Crossroads n Will we ‘do care unto them’ in a patronising, discriminating or oppressive manner...or…implement policies that are representative and inclusive of difference? n Will we value and embrace diversity in our social care services? n Will we call for and welcome change at all levels of social care services?

13 A Model for Change n The following is a four-step process that may facilitate change from institutional oppression to social support, integration, equality, and care n The Identifier n The Identified n The Movement n The Beneficiary

14 The Identifier n Who or what determines and defines a given problem or social issue? n On what basis is it drawn into the public arena? n Who sets the standards of what is worthy of disclosure, discussion, treatment, funding, change?

15 The Identifier (Applied) n EU membership calls Irish social services to account for the management and treatment of ethnic minority groups n Government departments are reinforced by the media and other State agencies n ‘Identifiers’ are sanctioned to inform and direct the organisational structures of social care services

16 The Identified n What role do the identified have in naming a given problem or situation? n What power relationships are in existence between the identifier and the identified? n Are there social structures in place that serve to advantage, disadvantage, or equalise all participants? n Are all parties able to participate equally in the process of altering a social dilemma?

17 The Identified (Applied) n Ethnic minorities have been ‘identified’ by some as different, unworthy and not belonging in Ireland n Apart from token contributors, most ethnic members are precluded from naming their care needs or solutions n Little value is given to ethnic members’ own analysis of their circumstances (particularly at an institutional level) n There is limited published work by or about refugees and asylum seekers regarding their physical and social needs n They remain unequal subordinates in a hierarchical and stratified social system

18 The Movement n Who or what changes? n Does change occur as a result of pressure from existing social structures and institutions? n Does change come as a result of public awareness, dissatisfaction, sense of justice, economic reality? n How is change directed? n What path does change take during the process of movement? n When is change implemented and by whom or by what?

19 The Movement (Applied) n Will Irish social care develop out of moral commitment and deliberate policy… or as a reaction to service needs for increasing numbers of minority groups n Will movement continue to provide limited social and economic resources resulting in minimal care for service users n To date, low priority for language, dietary, religious and cultural distinctions exists across the sector n Care providers are largely from the dominant Irish culture and with little training in ethnic or cultural diversity

20 The Beneficiary n Who or what benefits from change…or lack of change? n If change occurs, who or what is advantaged or disadvantaged? n Is there an economic, social or cultural cost to change or lack of change? n If change does not occur, who benefits from the status quo?

21 The Beneficiary (Applied) n Without change, there may be some short- term savings for the exchequer…but there are few social beneficiaries n ‘Benefit’ comes from a radical shift in our perception of service-user worth as well as what constitutes acceptable standards of service provision n Change must focus on empowerment and extended agency to ethnic minorities as users and providers of care services

22 Conclusion A care service based on best practice must have at the core of its policy strategy A care service based on best practice must have at the core of its policy strategy n Specialised services that embrace a multi- cultural Irish society n A framework that incorporates the inclusion of ‘difference’ into its development n Integration of all participants without the need to relinquish one’s cultural identity n Strategic procedures that strengthen material, social and emotional support, access, and full participation for service users


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