The advent of democracy in 1994 heralded a new developmental approach to the provision of social services to People with Disabilities especially in the townships and rural areas
The majority of People with Disabilities living in the rural areas have been excluded from the mainstream of society and been prevented from accessing fundamental social, political and economic rights.
WHAT IS A DISABILITY SOCIAL WORKER?
A disability social worker is a type of healthcare social worker who helps people with physical and mental disabilities cope with the challenges in their daily lives.
WHAT ARE SOCIAL SERVICES?
The Department of Social Services has a statutory obligation to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and adults living with disabilities and provide a wide range of services to them, usually within their own home environment and co-ordinated by a registered social worker.
HOW SHOULD SOCIAL WORKERS HELP YOU?
The problems you face as an individual depend on the type of impairment and the severity of your disability. A social worker should help you not only in comprehending your diagnosis, but support you in making lifestyle adjustments to accommodate your disability as well.
As a person living with a disability, you often need help with transportation or with gaining access to buildings. A social worker can assist you in making such things available for you. In some cases, social workers can assist you to find a skill development institution or even a suitable job.
A study titled, ‘Investigating the Impact and Attitudes of Social Workers in Assisting People with Disabilities in Alice in the Eastern Cape of South Africa’ found that a number of serious constraints in providing services for people living with disabilities, which include: inadequate knowledge and skills of how to take good care of people living with disabilities as well as inadequate funds to support them.
WHAT DOES THE CONSTITUTION SAY?
Section 9(a) of the constitution prohibits unfair discrimination on the ground of disability in the form of ‘denying or removing from any person who has a disability, any supporting or enabling facility necessary for their functioning in society’. The gross negligence and consequent tragedy that occurred in the Life Esidimeni matter, severely violated this provision in respect of persons with mental health-related disabilities is such an example.
A parent or other adult family member of a person living with a disability may request family support services from social services at times of stress or for help regarding a particular child or family problem. A professional who knows the family such as a teacher, family centre worker or GP can make this request on their behalf.
UNREGISTERED SOCIAL WORKERS
It is an offence to pretend to be a social worker, student social worker, social auxiliary worker, or a person practising another profession for which a professional board has been established, if you are not registered under the Act.
If you suspect that your social worker is not registered, report him or her to the Department of Social Services.
The Head Office of the Council is at 37 Annie Botha, Avenue, Riviera, Pretoria.
Phone: 012 356 8300