Relational Social Work


vol. 2, n. 1, April 2018

(pp. 3-4)


Fabio Folgheraiter

Catholic University of Milan, Italy

In the third number of the online international Relational Social Work Journal we can read theoretical papers, articles from qualitative and quantitative researches and reflections based on some practice experiences.

The features of social work research are discussed in the first article that I have written. To implement adequately social work research it is necessary to understand that Social work is a discipline at all and consequently that there is also a type of social research that is strictly attuned to the sense and to the work of social workers. The participatory research is particularly suited to the heuristic needs of Social work because it permits to structure the observation of extreme human suffering by enlarging the external mind of the researcher and connecting it with minds directly involved in the problem.

The second article is an important contribute reflecting on social work education. Jonathan Parker and Sara Ashencaen Crabtree discuss around the ways in which educational policy and practice is developing globally, taking the development of social work education in the UK as an example. Based on their researches, the authors suggest that to develop a reflexive and critical approach to social work it is important for students to develop a sensitive and critical approach to international field placements and the deployment of ethnographic practices.

Following the results of a quantitative research on fostering placements ordered by a Juvenile Court in Italy are presented. Landi has done a documentary analysis on the Court's files of foster care to collect data about fostering placements considering the factors for a good foster care placement identified through a literature review. This is an unique study in the field of Italian foster care studies and offers an overview of social work practices with children in care. The results of the study encourage reflections on aspects of child protection deemed important by social workers and other people involved in this crucial care experience.

From the field, this number presents two interesting reflection, the first one is related to the experience of a really particular self-help mutual group. Corradini describes a group work with parents of removed children, one of the few in Italy. The author describes how the group helped participants overcome the barrier between helpers and helpees and increased mutual trust between parents and social workers.

The second voice from the field is on the experience of the «Associazione Casa della Memoria», founded after a terrorist attack that took place on 1974 in Italy. With its very activity, the Association becomes a direct witness of how, after such a tragic event, it is still possible to seek reconstruction, reparation, and justice. The author Tagliabue presents the activities of the Association as important interventions of social work, in a community work way too.

We also decided to publish a brief interview to Tom Shakespeare, a famous academic from the University of East Anglia, engaged primarily in doing research on disability. His book «Disability rights and wrongs», has been published recently in its Italian edition. With his important work, Shakespeare allow people to see disability in a relational way, he suggest that it is important to have «a critical realist approach», a perspective based on the awareness that «people are disabled by society and by their bodies and minds».

We are grateful to all the authors because with their studies and papers they contribute to continue the reflection on Relational Social Work theoretically and learning by the fieldwork.

Milan, April 2018