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Exchange ideas, get inspired!

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By Monica Persson, FSS Chair and Social Services Director, Karlstad Municipality, Sweden.

This June Malmö welcomes the ESN annual conference with over 500 delegates from all over Europe and beyond who are active in social work, social policy and social care. There is no better opportunity to exchange ideas on current issues, test hypotheses and to get inspired!

We come from different backgrounds with different care systems, different levels of available resources and different legislative frameworks. What better starting point to exchange and explore our practice ideas.

In our little corner of the European globe one of the issues that is dear to our hearts is the concept of first line social services. The need to be where we are most needed. To be easily accessible, to display our professionalism with a high degree of sensitivity and responsiveness.

First-line social services is re-energising and getting off the ground.

The Association of Directors of Social Welfare Services (FSS), has been working for years to establish the idea of first line social services. Lately we’ve been joined by others who are embracing the term. I hear it often and from different directions: politicians, civil servants and other authorities, It even pops up in the media.

The fact that there is talk about it is good to hear. But what is even better is learning that several municipalities have already launched the availability of first line social services in their areas.

I am also aware of a number of municipalities that are in the starting blocks and who are planning how these services could be formed.

The missing puzzle piece is the restructuring of Sweden’s current primary legislation, the Social Services Act, which could give social services the opportunity to offer interventions without the demanding assessment processes before making a formal decision. In this way, we would be able to offer qualified and evidence-based social services interventions in an open welcoming atmosphere to children and parents at an early stage.

Since FSS has followed the investigation into the future of social services closely, we have also been able to provide input on what we have deemed most urgent.

In order for us to carry out such a reform on the scale that is needed we need a long-term, sustainable injection of resources aimed at all the country’s municipalities. Both large and small.

We want to provide services to those in need as quickly and as effectively as possible.

We’re charged up and we’re ready in Sweden! How about you? This is something we can talk about in Malmö at the conference.

Come to our booth. Let us exchange ideas and let’s get inspired!