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Our members showcased their practices and discussed effective strategies at our working group meeting.

The second meeting of our working group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) took place in Paris on 9-10 May. We brought together 24 participants from across Europe, the US, and Canada. This meeting focused on SDG 3 and the role of social services in ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone at any age.

During our working group meeting, we focused on how social services work with vulnerable groups such as children in care, older people, homeless people and people with addictions in order to ensure their health and well-being.

Better outcomes for vulnerable children

Following the presentation of Gabriella Rask from SOS Children Villages International on the leaving care project, participants discussed the role of social services in protecting vulnerable children. During the group discussions, several members of the group raised the importance of involving children in care in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of social services affecting them. Participants also mentioned that continued support for young people leaving care as they reach adulthood is key to guarantee their wellbeing.

Our members, CELCIS and ONPE, also emphasised that co-ordination between health, education and social services at local level is at the heart of effective support for looked-after children with health problems.

Better quality of life for older people in need of care

Ensuring the health and well-being of older people is a challenge for social services in the context of an ageing population. Participants raised the importance of improving the intrinsic capacities of older people through appropriate support from both health and social care sectors as a method for making long-term care systems more effective.

This concept was brought into the discussions by Islene Araujo de Carvalho,  who shared the ICOPE guidelines developed by the World Health Organisation. Moreover, members of the working group emphasised the importance of developing supportive technologies in order to allow people to live longer in their communities.

The shift towards the promotion of home-base care is improving the quality of life of older people but puts further pressure on the workforce as more people need to be employed to take care of dependent people in their own houses. 

Crosscutting issue: reinforcing the social services workforce

Our members raised the need to provide better recognition to social services professionals, by offering better wages and working conditions. This will ultimately also help combat burnout. Additionally, there is a need for new recruitment strategies to ensure a higher number of well-trained people join the social services workforce.

Our report ‘Investing in the social services workforce’ published in 2017 analysed how local public social services are planning, managing and training the social services workforce of the future.