The challenges faced by Korean Social Workers at the Community Welfare Centres for People with Disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Kyung Mee Kim*, Se Kwang Hwang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study was intended to explore the experiences of social workers in Community Welfare Centres for People with Disabilities (CWCPDs) to understand their practices and challenges during COVID-19. It considered the essential role that CWCPD social workers play in responding to ‘new normal’ settings. Zoom interviews were conducted with 20 supervisory and manager-level social workers of CWCPDs nationwide. This study showed the unexpected cross-regional nature of risks and burdens. The high level of uncertainty and complexity allowed for the centres to operate safely under the COVID-19 legislation and for them to change and deliver alternative service provisions. Social workers had to develop new ways to deal with unprecedented risks, challenges, and dilemmas within ‘the new normal’. COVID-19 means that centres must recalibrate their relationships with service users, communities, and the government. CWCPDs need to change their service provision model from a large group–centred to a person-centred model to meet individual demands. Changes are needed in terms of clarity of communication, the application of step-by-step guidelines to service provisions, and a shift away from an exclusive focus on quantitative performance needs in how centres are evaluated. In all these processes, both close cooperation and support from local authorities are needed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British Journal of Social Work
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 Jan 2022

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