The passing of the Social Works Act of 2022 under the current government is one of the administration’s accomplishments that has largely gone undetected but for which the National Assembly deserves some credit. Most Nigerians might not see the immediate benefit in this success because it does nothing to alleviate hunger, ends the persistent shortage of fuel, and end the shortage of either old or new naira bills. However, some societal problems would not have advanced to the national stage if the government in the previous administration had recognized the need to promote the practice of Social Work earlier.
In order to more effectively control the social work profession in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the National Council for Social Work Establishment Bill 2022 in December of last year. The purpose of the legislation is to formalize the field of social work in the nation and keep it in line with international standards. To ensure that social workers in the country are governed, legalized, monitored, and controlled as they are in other countries, the legislature passed Act No. 25 of 2022, known as the Social Works Act.
ISOWN urged the involved parties to aid the Act implementation.
Recently, the Institute of Social Work of Nigeria (ISOWN) encouraged the country’s 36 state governors as well as state houses of assembly to hasten the implementation of the Act creating the Chartered Institute of Social Work Practitioners of Nigeria. However, this might be insufficient to solve the societal issues at hand. The state government is also responsible for most of these activities. Without a well-established system of Social Work in the states, the law is stagnant. In Lagos and a few other states, there might be social works departments in the public sector system. However, many other states won’t have such.
According to Act No. 25 of 2022, the characterize social work is an applied or behavioral profession which basically supports human rights, social equity, harmony and conflict settlements, engendering social reform, problem-solving, and sustainable growth in human interactions. In addition to this, it places emphasis on the independence and freedom of people, as well as the improvement of the well-being of persons, families, organizations, and communities, while also making use of various ideas pertaining to human behavior and the social system.
Many societal issues will be curbed with the Social Work Act.
One of the primary responsibilities of social workers in society is, but is not limited to, locating individuals and communities that are in need of assistance; evaluating the requirements of the customers in addition to their circumstances, as well as strengthening and support networks in order to establish their objectives; assisting clients in adjusting to changes and difficulties that have occurred in their lives, such as the onset of an illness, a divorce, or the loss of a job; investigate, refer, and advocate for community programs, such as food stamps, childcare, and health care, in order to aid and improve the well-being of a client.
As a result of progressive changes brought about by modernization in family structures, many African societies eventually became in need of the practice of social work. These changes ranged from a reduction in the size of the big compound extended families to an increase in the number of nuclear families. Under this system, several of the more useful features of a large family’s organizational structure would become apparent really quickly and usually the hard way. Social workers are also tasked with providing psychotherapy services, developing and evaluating programs and services to ensure basic customer needs are met, maintaining case files and records, and responding to crises like child abuse as well as mental health emergencies.
The Act needs more expertise to make it effective.
Since Social Work is a growing field in Nigeria, the biggest challenge would be that there isn’t enough expertise to run the operation. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that several universities have, over the years, developed professionals in the social work sector at varying levels of education and experience. Some institutions are already offering social work as a subject for the First Degree, the Second Degree, and even higher. As a result, the state houses of assembly should become acquainted with the bill and adopt it in their respective states. The study and application of social work would finally stop the wave of many social issues facing society.