The transition from primary school to secondary school is challenging for children. Stressful circumstances such as parental separation, bullying or learning difficulties hamper transition. Those affected want concrete support services.
Support services protect from illness
Interviews conducted by the research group The Open Door (D.O.T.) with pupils, parents and other caregivers identified challenging life situations that hamper school transition and collected concrete wishes for support services. Getting help with problems prevents mental and physical illness. Actions should ideally reach all children. Long waiting times and services that are not tailored to the needs of children have an inhibiting effect on the use of support services..
Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on social support services
Anna-Lena Mädge and Glora Mittmann, both from the Karl Landsteiner Private University and part of the research group D.O.T., looked - together with colleagues from the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences and the University for Continuing Education Krems - at the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic and the accompanying rules on restricting contact on social work. Previously established face-to-face meetings and support services without registration were no longer possible. Messenger services, digital platforms and video telephony were used to maintain contact with pupils. Therapists closed regional gaps in care due to the independence of space, saved time and costs, and ensured close contact with clients despite the lack of structures and experience.
Future prospects for digital social work
A part of children prefers digital services to face-to-face meetings. Different types of support services enable social work to reach as many children as possible in their living environment. Well-founded trainings and professional structures for digital offers are necessary in order to expand the spectrum of social work for the future.
MÄDGE, A.-L., DU PLESSIS-SCHNEIDER, S., MITTMANN, G. & JESSER, A. 2022. Digitale Angebote für Jugendliche als innovativer Ansatz zum Aufbau einer inklusiven Versorgungsstruktur in der Sozialen Arbeit. soziales_kapital.