KUALA LUMPUR: Social work will soon become a recognised profession following plans to table laws to upgrade the status of social workers, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic).
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister said the move is aimed at improving efficiency in case management of targeted groups while ensuring adequate qualified social workers for the country.
"The ministry is taking several steps to ensure that the Welfare Department will change its focus on social worker's job scope so that they will conduct case management for the targeted groups.
"Among the changes is the introduction of the Social Workers Profession Act, which is expected to be tabled in the Dewan Rakyat in December this year," she said in reply to a question raised by Maria Chin Abdullah (PH-Petaling Jaya) in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (Oct 9).
With such laws in place, she said social workers will be better trained and equipped to focus on case management.
"In cases involving child abuse, the work involves rescuing, protection and providing counselling. The social work will become similar to professions such as lawyers and doctors," she said.
She noted the move to upgrade the status of social workers was necessary in light of the low number of qualified social workers in the country.
Dr Wan Azizah noted that a recent study by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit revealed a ratio of one social worker for every 8,756 Malaysians.
She said this was far behind the ratio of developed countries such as the US (1:490), Australia (1:1,040), United Kingdom (1:3,025) and Singapore (1:3,448).
Dr Wan Azizah said the Cabinet had also agreed to reactivate the Malaysia Social Protection Council (MySPC) which was set up in 2016.
She said that MySPC will act as the main coordinating body for social welfare programmes, adding that MYSPC will meet on Dec 3 to draft a National Social Protection Master Plan including proposal to set up a National Social Protection Data Bank.
At present, Dr Wan Azizah told lawmakers that there were 110 welfare programmes conducted by 20 ministries and agencies, of which only 11 were under her ministry.