Health Sciences

New Framework for Social Work Courses

An article published in Lismore's Koori Mail discusses new social work requirements set out by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). It is now stipulated that social workers need to be informed by Indigenous knowledge in all areas of practice in order to be accredited by the association.

To satisfy these new requirements, universities in early February 2014 adopted a fresh teaching curricula, one that teaches the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing. The Australian Catholic University (ACU) has been described as leading the way in developing this important framework.

ACU project leader, Associate Professor Joanna Zubrzycki, working with Associate Professor Dawn Bessarab, Associate Professor Sue Green, Victoria Jones, Dr Katrina Stratton and Dr Susan Young, has produced the first Australian evidence-informed framework. Other universities and organisations were also involved in developing the framework; Curtin University, the University of NSW, the University of Western Australia and NSW Health.

Extensive consultation, research and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other social work academics and practitioners took place in order for the new curriculum to be developed.

There is hope that once universities throughout Australia begin to take on this new framework, a rise in the number of Indigenous people graduating with social work degrees and teaching in universities will also begin to trend.