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EMBRACING YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AS THE CORE FUNCTION: PERSPECTIVES OF SOUTH AFRICA’S SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS. 2012 Social Work Conference: Action and Impact Stockholm , Sweden By Ms Bernice Hlagala & Prof Rina Delport 10/07/2012. 1. INTRODUCTION.

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EMBRACING YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AS THE CORE FUNCTION: PERSPECTIVES OF SOUTH AFRICA’S SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS

2012 Social Work Conference: Action and Impact

Stockholm, Sweden

By Ms Bernice Hlagala & Prof Rina Delport

10/07/2012

1 introduction
1. INTRODUCTION
  • This paper is based on a research project titled “Emergence and future status of Youth work: perspectives of social service professionals in South Africa”.
  • The goal is to explore and describe the perspectives of social service professionals in South Africa regarding the emergence of Youth work practice and its future status.
  • The objectives are to:
    • explore the current scope and nature of Youth work services in South Africa;
    • determine whether Youth work should remain as an occupation, or recognized as an area of specialisation or an autonomous professional field of practice; and
    • analyse the benefits of having Youth work as an area of specialisation or an autonomous profession.
  • Significant to the title of this paper, the authors present qualitative and quantitative findings which revealed overwhelming support (75%) for Youth work as an area of specialization – an indication by social service professionals on their interest to embrace Youth work as one of their core functions.
2 background
2. BACKGROUND
  • Between 1996 and 2008, the South African population has grown from 40.6 to 48.7 million.
  • Itis projected to increase to 51.5 million by 2014 (Department of Social Development, 2010: 10).
  • Like in other developing countries, young people in South Africa form the largest segment of the population compared to children and adult populations.
figure 1 breakdown of the south african population groups by age
Figure 1: Breakdown of the South African population groups by age.

Figure 1: 2010 Mid-year population estimates (Statistics South Africa, 2010)

3 implications of increasing youth population
3. IMPLICATIONS OF INCREASING YOUTH POPULATION
  • The situation of an increasing youth population, termed a “youth bulge”, can be an opportunity or threat.
  • It is on this basis, that advocacy and service delivery efforts of various professionals including Social workers and Child and youth care workers have to target young people as their priority target group.
4 definition of key terms
4. DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
  • In the context of this paper, the following are key terms:
    • Social service professionals.
    • Youthandyoung person.
    • Youth development.
    • Youth work.
5 research approach and design
5. RESEARCH APPROACH AND DESIGN
  • In conducting the research, a two-phased sequential mixed methods research approach was used.
  • An exploratory mixed methods sequential research design was adopted.
fig2 representation of the notation for this study
FIG2: REPRESENTATION OF THE NOTATION FOR THIS STUDY

Phase 1

Qualitative

Data collection through focus group discussions,

data analysis and Interpretation, qualitative findings

PHASE 2

QUANTITATIVE

DATA COLLECTION THROUGH COMPLETION OF MEASURING INSTRUMENT, DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION, QUANTITATIVE FINDINGS

Design of measurement instrument informed by literature review and qualitative findings

6 population sample and sampling methods
6. POPULATION, SAMPLE AND SAMPLING METHODS
  • Qualitative Population = Recognised and Unrecognisedsocial service professionals.
  • For the Qualitative part = Sample of 35 participants, selected from a population of Social workers, Child and youth care workers, Youth workers, and Community development workers
  • Sampling methods = Purposive and Convenience sampling techniques.
  • Four research sites (four provinces), were purposively selected from nine of South Africa’s provinces.
  • Quantitative Population = 16 886 Recognised social service professionals.
  • For the Quantitative part = Sample of 2154 respondents selected.
  • Sampling methods = Purposive, Proportional stratified, Convenience and Random sampling techniques.
7 population sample and sampling methods cont
7. POPULATION, SAMPLE AND SAMPLING METHODS cont:
  • The population was divided into three strata, namely:
    • Educators: No sampling used in this stratum.

All one hundred and fifty four (154) Educators were targeted.

    • Social workers and Child and youth care workers: Although sampled separately. The same procedure was followed in selecting a proportional sample from each of the two target populations. The researcher used stratified random sampling to divide each stratum into nine sub strata aligned to the nine SA’s provinces.
8 population sample and sampling methods cont
8. POPULATION, SAMPLE AND SAMPLING METHODS cont:
  • In total, the quantitative sample consisted of 2 154 respondents selected randomly from a total population of 16 886 recognized social service professionals (i.e. 154 Educators, 9 071 Social workers and 7 661 Child and youth care workers).
9 data collection
9. DATA COLLECTION
  • Focus groups used to collect qualitative data.
  • 1 focus group conducted in each of the four selected provinces.
  • Qualitative data provided greater insight and understanding of the dynamics of the research situation, from the participants’ point of view.
10 qualitative data analysis and design of measuring instrument
10. QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS AND DESIGN OF MEASURING INSTRUMENT
  • Data obtained from the focus group interviews was analysed, validated, interpreted, and its trustworthiness was determined.
  • Qualitative information was presented and then used mainly to design a quantitative measuring instrument and to elaborate or explain the quantitative results.
  • A self designed quantitative data collection tool – a measuring instrument, was constructed based on the qualitative findings and literature review
11 quantitative data collection and analysis
11. QUANTITATIVE DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
  • Quantitative data was collected using the self-designed measuring instrument.
  • A total of five hundred and ninety three (593) respondents completed the measuring Instrument.
  • Quantitative data gathered was captured, verified, analysed and interpreted in order to keep it intact, complete, organized and accessible.
12 empirical findings
12. EMPIRICAL FINDINGS:
  • The empirical findings consisted of qualitative information and quantitative data.
  • Qualitative information was used to elaborate or explain the quantitative results.
13 demographic profile
13. DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE

Fig 3: Focus group

participants by gender

Fig 4: Respondents by

gender

14 involvement of social service professionals in youth work
14. INVOLVEMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICE PROFESSIONALS IN YOUTH WORK
  • In the qualitative phase, the focus group participants indicated that they target the youth as part of their clientele groups and saw the role of Youth worker being that of a coordinator.
  • For the quantitative phase, the responses on the extent of social service professionals’ involvement in Youth work are illustrated in Table 1 below.
15 future status of youth work
15. FUTURE STATUS OF YOUTH WORK
  • Qualitative information indicated an equal split of support for Youth work as an area of specialization or as an autonomous profession. There was no support to remain as an occupation.
  • Those in support of Youth work as an area of specialisation cited commitment to serve young people as well as to have Youth work as a career path opportunity. One participant said:

“rather than sticking to traditional professions in the field of humanities, people should be offered a choice in terms of whatever specialisation they want to do.”

16 future status of youth work cont
16. FUTURE STATUS OF YOUTH WORK cont:
  • There was equally strong support for professionalization of Youth work. This perception was voiced by a participant as follows:

“I feel that if they (referring to Youth workers) do have that four year degree qualification ... I think they have every right to request to be recognized (as a profession).”

  • Another strong view was:

“if you are saying at this point, should it be a standalone profession? What does the person with a four year degree do at the moment if we are now asking should it be a standalone profession? I am a little bit puzzled by that question!

17 statutory body
17. STATUTORY BODY
  • The respondents’ responses on the statutory bodies deemed appropriate to recognise Youth work if it becomes an area of specialisation or a profession indicated an overwhelming majority (88%) who supported that the South African Council for Social Service Professions should be the statutory body which should recognise Youth work.
18 high and low benefits of youth work as an area of specialisation or a profession
18. HIGH AND LOW BENEFITS OF YOUTH WORK AS AN AREA OF SPECIALISATION OR A PROFESSION
  • Both quantitative and qualitative data revealed the benefits of having Youth work as an area of specialization or a profession to be out weighing the non-benefits.
  • Table 2 illustrates their responses.
19 discussion on involvement in youth work
19. DISCUSSION ON INVOLVEMENT IN YOUTH WORK
  • This study showed that even though social service professionals are somewhat involved in youth development, their involvement is to a medium rather than higher extent.
  • Of concern is the fact that an essential service such as policy development, does not appear to be receiving attention from social service professionals, despite the review of literature indicating that there is a need to play an important role in both direct and indirect service provision including developing and influencing policies that affect young people.
20 discussion on classification of the future status of youth work
20. DISCUSSION ON CLASSIFICATION OF THE FUTURE STATUS OF YOUTH WORK
  • The implications for support of Youth work as an area of specialisation for Social work and/or Child and youth care work are as follows:
    • Firstly, social service professionals positively embrace Youth work as their core function.
    • Secondly, social service professionals acknowledge that they need specialisededucation and training in Youth work.
    • Thirdly, it highlights an opportunity for growth and development for Youth work as a new career path opportunity.
21 recommendations
21. RECOMMENDATIONS
  • Collaborative efforts by social service professionals in liaising with other professionals when rendering services to the youth should be applauded and strengthened.
  • Support for Youth work as an area of specialisation for Social work and/or Child and youth care work should be seen as an opportunity to strengthen mainstreaming of youth development in the social service sector, career path for the professionals involved and a mechanism to strengthen the capacity to deliver services to the youth effectively.
  • The support for specialisation should be seen as an opportunity for the social service sector to develop a business case motivating for additional human resources capacity, skills development and training, and for allocation of adequate financial resources for youth services.
  • Measuring the impact of Youth work practice as a youth development intervention, should be an area for research in the long term. Such research should incorporate participation of young people and Youth workers as part of the subjects for the research.
22 concluding remarks
22. CONCLUDING REMARKS
  • This study has provided invaluable amount of information regarding the future of Youth work.
  • It attempted to underscore the centrality of Youth work in empowering and developing young people by generating new knowledge.
  • The results supporting Youth work as an area of specialization, yielded important information and also shed some light on what social service professionals aspire.
  • The vision and commitment to address the needs of an increasing youth population, particularly in developing countries, emanates from the conviction that, in addressing national and global challenges, young people as a key population segment would be empowered, prioritised, and anchored to become strong and accountable leaders. as well as an asset for development in the global arena.
  • Therefore social service professionals are on course by embracing Youth work as an area of specialisation for Social work and/or Child and youth care work, because the surest approach to developing the human race is to target the youth.
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Re a leboga!!

        • Baiedankie !!!
                • Siyabonga !!!!
  • Thank you !!!!!
  • Bernice@po.gov.za