In times of quarantine caused by the coronavirus, many people have remained at home, and most professionals have needed to reinvent themselves to continue working. The same is true of the social worker.
We know that the pandemic will be responsible, for example, for a deep economic recession that will cause an increase in social vulnerabilities.
We will also see an increase in educational inequalities, as students who have access to the Internet will have the possibility to continue studying, while others will remain isolated from school due to the lack of technological resources at home.
Likewise, it is up to the workers of the Unified Social Assistance System (SUAS) to raise awareness and guide people in situations of vulnerability about the importance of preventing themselves and working safely, as many of them work in places that provide essential services such as , supermarkets, food industries, gas stations and pharmacies.
Recalling that, due to the pandemic, there is also an increase in the demand for social workers in the health area .
In addition to all the aggravating factors mentioned above, many of the demands of the social worker will be accumulated if the Social Assistance services are completely stopped. For this reason, these professionals cannot stop, even in a state of social isolation.
However, how to continue social services without leaving home? Much of the activities, such as attendance, home visits and workshops, are done in person.
There are several challenges to maintaining the work of Social Assistance in the quarantine period. For this reason, we have brought, in this text, what the Federal Council for Social Work (CFESS) has been advising about the professional practice of social workers, in addition to initiatives by some municipalities to inspire them.
What does CFESS advise on quarantine?
In an official note , CFESS released guidelines for Social Assistance professionals and for Regional Social Service Councils (CRESS) on how to handle their work in the quarantine period.
Briefly, the instructions are as follows:
- Strictly follow the instructions of the health and public health agencies and authorities of the states and municipalities. It must be taken into account that each region may have different orientations due to the stage of the virus in each location;
- Decide, autonomously and collectively, how services to users will be carried out. Bearing in mind that if a video conference is chosen, it should take place on an exceptional basis, since CFESS does not regulate the modality due to considerations about the quality of the service;
- There may be flexibility to guarantee the protection of the professional and the user in cases of reserved services, also known as “closed door” services;
- Guide and inform the population about the necessary prevention for the current moment.
How to continue the work of the social worker in times of coronavirus?
In some municipalities, Social Assistance professionals are working on-call and relaying the staff, but still in the face-to-face format. This can, in the same way, compromise the safety of workers and users.
In other cities, the answer has been video conferencing, both with the population and with the technical team.
However, many users do not have access to the internet, smartphones or computers. In these cases, it is up to the social worker to assess the reality of each individual and, if necessary, make appropriate adaptations.
However, it is essential that the work of the social worker does not stop, seeking, as far as possible, to serve the largest number of users.
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After the quarantine period, digital solutions can even become new forms of communication between Social Assistance professionals.
To help your municipality find solutions for the quarantine period, we brought examples of how some cities are dealing with the situation without pausing the distribution of eventual benefits, assistance and follow-up. See below.
Initiatives to be inspired
Schroeder / SC
Although there are no confirmed cases of contagion by the coronavirus in the municipality of Schroeder, in SC, the city is fulfilling the social isolation determined by the state.
According to the Director of Social Assistance, Daiane Wolf, the equipment workers were dismissed and the CRAS and CREAS phones were redirected to their cell phone.
The idea is that the calls are intended for general guidelines and WhatsApp for users. In emergency situations, on the other hand, a professional will be called in to perform on-call assistance.
To grant eventual benefits such as basic baskets, the user will be asked to forward the photos of their documents via WhatsApp. After that, the social worker evaluates what was sent and takes care of it by videoconference. In this case, only the search for the benefit will be done in person, at the reception of the equipment.
If the quarantine continues for longer than expected, as far as possible, complex monitoring will also be carried out online.
Rio do Campo / SC
According to Adevilson Carlos Pires, Secretary of Social Assistance in Rio do Campo / SC, everything possible is being done not to expose the team and users. Therefore, the municipality is working in the following format:
- Orientation to the population through WhatsApp and e-mail;
- Visits to evaluate and grant eventual benefits with due care – giving priority to food aid;
- 24-hour service to deal with possible situations of violation of rights;
- Assistance to welcoming families – preferably in remote format;
- Assistance to the actions of the Health Department through a sanitary barrier and guidance to the population;
- Technical support to the Guardian Council .
State of SP
We know that many children and teenagers spend the day only with food provided at school, right? With the suspension of classes in many states and municipalities in Brazil, the vulnerability of these families worsens.
With that in mind, the state of SP launched the Merenda em Casa program, which grants R $ 55 per month to each of the 700,000 students in the state network during the quarantine period.
Due to the suspension of classes, the emergency initiative will benefit students whose families are part of the Bolsa Família program, in addition to those who are in extreme poverty , according to the Single Registry of the Federal Government.