DefinitionThe Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) is fundamentally a national body that serves more than 500,000 community work practitioners across Australia (Australian Community Workers Association, 2018). The core role of the association is to support the community workers in all aspects of their work. Even less, ACWA exists to provide a remarkable platform for advancing the general profession of community work as well as promoting and strengthening ethical, professionals and educational standards that are important for the establishment of exemplary community work practice. The association remains determined in encouraging the young people and their older counterparts to consider change in their career undertakings. Of course, that is regardless of how little their job titles are. Assuming that all community workers deserve support in their professional undertakings is part of the association’s goals.
Advocacy can be described as the measures that are put in place to support specific individuals for them to be heard. People who are placed at the center of advocacy are helped to understand and consequently understand their rights besides taking part in decisions and conversations that impacts their lives to their maximum ability. The advocacy undertakings that are spearheaded by ACWA are offered directly to the community workers and are confidential and client-oriented. In other words, the services are highly directed by the community workers who are helped to understand their rights, increase their professionalisms, communicate their preferences and review their negotiation approaches amongst other things.
Summary of Important Historical Events that are Relevant to Current Values and Principles
ACWA was established approximately 45 years ago in a meeting that was held on 16th April, 1969 Australian Community Workers Association, 2018). Amongst the members who were present were community workers who had demonstrated interest of coming up with an association like that one of London. After different discussions, the meeting attendees agreed that it was reasonable to form an association that can represent all groups of community workers regardless of their specific fields of practice (Thomson & Thorpe, 2004). The association has since then existed to provide support as well as enhance the aspect of professionalism for people who are involved in community work. Subsequently, the organization has been working hard to ensure that they provide their members with necessary support besides promoting exemplary practices in the field, making sure that members are able to receive quality education and working for the best interest of the rest of the society and more so from practitioners.
For years now, ACWA’s staff members, members and volunteers have coordinated different projects aimed at fulfilling its primary goals Australian Community Workers Association, 2018). Just like any other organization, the association has also gone through different challenges trying to create a sense of balance in its undertakings. For instance, pushing for the inclusion of the mandatory minimum standards in the Community Services Training Package was one of the main challenges that ACWA has faced. Then, minimum fieldwork requirement was not there. The requirement was especially important since it was meant to make sure that all graduates are in a position to put theory into practice besides being supervised accordingly during their first years in work (Mendes, 2003). This was very instrumental in promoting high level of training standards and more importantly creating competent community workers. Another important undertaking was recorded in 2000 when ACWA succeeded in lobbying the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs leading to the accreditation of 60 points in what was considered as the Points for Skills Immigration Scheme. The aftermath was the turning of the welfare into an equivalent of social work and psychology.
As we speak now, ACWA continues to provide the community workers with the support that they need to enhance their professional undertakings. The recent focus that was aimed at addressing issues like demand for community services has outweighed the capacity of the association as well as the current employee workforce. Subsequently, increasing demand for more staff members in fields like aged care as well as increase in the level of public scrutiny on some quality services has made the organization even busier (Mendes & Moslehuddin, 2004). The association has also gone a step further to take part in extensive projects aimed at investigating the ideal approaches of making sure that the profession has been regulated. The aftermath of this is the establishment of community workers who have necessary skills for interacting with other professionals such as occupational therapists. Today, more than 400,000 people are working in the field of the community and related human services Australian Community Workers Association, 2018). The association has also been able to grow from strength to strength in the implementation of its practices aimed at responding to the demands of the community workers by necessitating the nurturing of ethical and qualified practitioners. Despite the evolution of the association, its core objective of making sure that thousands of workers across Australia have been served has been accomplished because it is only by doing so that the overall well-being of the Australian people could be attained.
Current Ethical and/or Legislation Requirements
It is a requirement that all ACWA’s members are able to adhere to the ethical and professional practice guidelines. This is especially important because community work is one of the most marginalized works in Australia (The Australian Community Workers Association, 2017). The organization uses public, employer and industry expectations as the basis for setting its ethical and practice guidelines. One of the association’s underlying codes of ethics is that all human beings regardless of their gender, sexual, religion and race diversity or any other personal difference have rights of maximizing their potential providing as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others. There is also the aspect of social inclusion where every person has an active role of taking part in community undertakings with full expectation of economic, educational and social participation. That means that in inclusive society is the one that is based on the fundamental values of human rights and freedoms, social justice, equality, equity and the principle of embracing diversity and tolerance. Additionally, every society is mandated to provide for and subsequently deal equitably with all its members and more importantly making extra provision for the disadvantaged of excluded (The Australian Community Workers Association, 2017). ACWA recognizes Australia’s first people alongside their right for self-determination. Even less, all individuals are protected against discrimination basing on disability, race, sex and any other discriminatory basis.
- Australian Community Workers Association (2018).History. Retrieved from http://www.acwa.org.au/
- Mendes, P. (2003). Social workers and social action: A case study of the Australian Association of Social Workers’ Victorian branch. Australian Social Work, 56(1), 16-27.
- Mendes, P., & Moslehuddin, B. (2004). Graduating from the child welfare system: A comparison of the UK and Australian leaving care debates. International Journal of Social Welfare, 13(4), 332-339.
- The Australian Community Workers Association. (2017). Australian Community Workers Ethics and Good Practice Guide. Retrieved from http://www.acwa.org.au
- Thomson, J., & Thorpe, R. (2004). Powerful partnerships in social work: Group work with parents of children in care. Australian Social Work, 57(1), 46-56.