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Consultations on Social Work legislation expected to start this month

Last Updated on Sunday, 4 April 2021, 8:36 by Denis Chabrol

PPP parliamentarian, Dr. Vindhya Persaud.

Guyana is preparing to enact legislation governing Social Work, and talks with several stakeholders are expected to begin this month, according to Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr. Vindhya Persaud.

She said those discussions would be held with Social Workers, University of Guyana and the Ministry of Health as part of efforts to craft the legislation.

Dr. Persaud says Social Work legislation will, among other things, help to hold Social Workers accountable. “I think it will ensure that there is continuing education, it holds persons accountable and it provides a framework within which the social workers can operate,” she told News-Talk Radio Guyana 1031.1 FM/ Demerara Waves Online News.

Doctoral candidate in Social Policy, Mrs. Dionne Frank

The Human Services Minister noted that nurses, doctors and pharmacists are all governed by legislation and so social workers would mark the “next tier” of professionals who would have to be subject to specific laws. “We will, at the point, have to meet with the Social Workers and look at crafting the legislation because it’s important,” she said.

The call for legislation to govern the profession of Social Work was issued last month by two University of Guyana lecturers  to mark World Social Work Day. “There is no legislation under which the Social Work profession is recognised, except for an outdated policy introduced in the 1970s when the Social Work programme was introduced at the University of Guyana where in the Public Service we recognise Social Workers as those who have had at least two years of training at the university level and there is recognition in the Domestic Violence  Act,” Doctoral candidate in Social Policy, Mrs. Dionne Frank  has said.

Mrs. Frank has noted that the latest effort to regulate the profession dates back to 2019 when standards were adopted by the Ministry of Social Protection, now the Ministry of Human Services, but she said there was no framework or machinery to monitor and implement them.